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The Simpsons Arcade review

The Simpsons Arcade iPhone Review

Doh! The Simpsons come to iPhone.

The Simpsons is still an amazing show even after all these years, but if there is one thing that the show is guilty of, it's allowing it's brand identity to become a supposed catalyst for making video games. Apart from maybe the Konami arcade version of the early 90's I have tended to avoid Simpsons games! I love the show but the games are often very shallow and provide little interest to me.

Surprisingly, I was actually looking forward to The Simpsons Arcade on the iPhone. Button bashing beat 'em ups work just fine for drop in/out, on the move gaming! Plus it looked pretty nice so I was happy to play! I have fond memories of the Konami version of the game and although The Simpsons Arcade is a new game. The benchmark by which it will be judged (by retro gamers at least) will be the Konami release.

Does it live with the Konami classic? Nope, it doesn't. So all you retro folks may as well stop reading now! The main reason it fails is quite simply due to the lack of multiplayer. Beat 'em ups like this need multiplayer, what better format to implement it on than iPod touch and iPhone?

Visually, The Simpsons Arcade shine's like a freshly inked version of the actual show. The graphics are clear, crisp and all your favourite characters are superbly rendered in accurate Springfield side scrolling environments. Frame rates as you would expect are high and animation is super smooth.

The Simpsons Arcade review
The Simpsons Arcade review
The Simpsons Arcade review
The Simpsons Arcade review
The Simpsons Arcade review
The Simpsons Arcade review

The general story of the game is well laid out and amusing, basically Homer is on a quest to find a USB drive that has been hidden in a doughnut! As you hunt it down you get to battle and interact with a plethora of Simpsons characters including, Bumblebee Man, Ned Flanders, Smithers etc.. across a number of well known Springfield locations.

A whole host of in game power ups are available to you by smashing crates. These include inanimate power-ups such as tazers, hammers and baseball bats, but perhaps the most effective weaponry comes in the form of the actual Simpsons family members. Bart hops on your shoulders and fires his catapult, whilst Marge's power-up invokes the accelerometer, and after Maggie has whacked you on the head with a toy hammer. The crazy flailing of Homers arms begins and enemies are systematically mowed down by tilting your iPhone.

Enemies are quite easy to defeat and you will quickly work out the various button combos to ensure that the suited and booted FBI style grunts are quickly dispatched. As you progress the game does become more hectic and the density of enemies to bash increases, but the awesome virtual joystick and simple arcade buttons keep you in control and with a little forward planning, things never seem to get out too out of hand.

There are so many nice touches and the game is highly polished, I particularly like the way that you have to revive Homer with a slap, plus the in-between levels where you get to do such crazy things as blow Homers head up with a bike pump are also fun.



In a nutshell

The Simpsons Arcade is a fun beat 'em up, it scores well in all of the genres main criteria except for maybe the most important, multiplayer. Beat 'em ups are fun on your own for a while, but before too long you will be aching to play co-op with another player. I imagine that EA could easily include multiplayer via an update. If they did this, then it would be difficult to fault the Simpsons Arcade.

Well, except maybe that is for the music, which is very retro and does become slightly irritating after a while. However, the option to use your own music is offered so be wise and use it! Graphically the game sparkles and the authentic voiceovers are pretty cool, although not as plentiful as we had expected.

Overall, if you like games such as Double Dragon, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or Final Fight, chances are you are going to enjoy The Simpsons Arcade. But with some tweaking from EA this could be a really amazing game.