The best Electronic Arts games on the iPhone

Sep 3, 2010
Games

Electronic Arts has become one of console gaming’s premier developers, so no one should be surprised the company has become a major player on the iPhone as well. Likewise, while there has been the occasional miss, no one should be surprised at the number of quality EA apps that have come to the app store […]

Electronic Arts has become one of console gaming’s premier developers, so no one should be surprised the company has become a major player on the iPhone as well. Likewise, while there has been the occasional miss, no one should be surprised at the number of quality EA apps that have come to the app store in the past few years. So the trick with compiling a best of EA list is less about deciding what to include, but more about deciding what not to include. Here’s hoping I didn’t leave your EA favorite out.

Scrabble

The classic board game might not be the sexiest EA release, but you certainly can argue Scrabble ($2.99) has the coolest feature. If you have the iPad game, the Party Play mode allows you to use your iPhone to view tiles, hiding your tiles from opponents and eliminating the need for the pass and play game mode. Aside from that, there are plenty of multi-player options, as you can play with your Facebook friends or via fellow users on a wireless network. There is also an in-game chat feature to talk smack to your foes, if you’re that kind of Scrabble player. Among the other goodies are a built-in dictionary and the self-explanatory Best Word option, making this a pretty complete game. The only downside is you can get many of these features in the free Words With Friends, but one could argue $2.99 is an entirely reasonable price for this game.

Need For Speed Shift

While I never really fell in love with the Need For Speed series on the console, I’ve been on record as saying the app versions of the game are the best iPhone racing games you’ll find. The latest NFS release was last year’s Shift ($6.99), a game that does just about everything well. Graphically, there is detail put into both the cars and the environments, while the racing itself is a pleasant mix of simulation racing and arcade fun. It includes 18 tracks and 20 cars, most of which you unlock in the addictive career mode, as well as an eight-person multi-player mode. There are plenty of other features, from customizable car options to multiple race views. But don’t take my word that this is one of the best mobile racing experiences available, you can download a free lite version of Need For Speed Shift and see for yourself if it tickles your fancy.

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SimCity Deluxe

I toyed with giving this spot to the Sims 3, but I’ve always been more of a SimCity kind of guy. Unfortunately, the company garnered plenty of ill will by releasing a less-than-ideal version of the game that was later pulled from the app store, only for SimCity Deluxe ($4.99) to show up earlier this year. It’s a much more polished version of the earlier SimCity app, and very similar to the PC version of SimCity 4 in both graphics and interface. Viewing a fully developed city on the iPhone’s screen is less than desirable, but I can’t think of an alternative, and it’s easy enough to zoom in or out and focus on a specific area. It includes seven starter cities and challenging scenarios, which require you to do things such as building up an undeveloped part of the city. In short, any follower of the series will instantly fall in love with Deluxe, regardless of any past injustices.

Tetris

Tetris ($2.99) has been around long enough and made its way to enough gaming systems that it’s safe to say it’s a fool-proof game: Release a quality version of Tetris, and it will sell. With that said, I wouldn’t have mentioned the app version of this game if not for its unique-to-the-device magic mode. You can play the classic, marathon mode or dive into the 15-level magic mode, in which you experience things like Magic Crayon – a feature that lets you draw your desired Tetris piece to replace the existing one. While the controls take a while to become familiar with, this is something I expected going in, having played the game on so many other systems, but never without buttons. The best news is that the game is a steal at its current price, and one that probably will remain near the top of the paid apps list for the foreseeable future.

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Rock Band

With heavyweights Guitar Hero and Tap Tap Revenge well-established on the iPhone, the relatively new music gaming genre has become quite competitive. The thing that has always set Rock Band ($6.99) apart from those games is the ability to play any instrument, and indeed that’s also true in the app version of the game. You can play guitar, bass, drums or vocals on 30 songs (additional songs cost 99 cents), with artists ranging from Motorhead to Foo Fighters to Blondie. The bummer is that, unlike the console game, different instruments don’t really, well, differ. Whether you’re controlling the vocals or drums, you’re simply tapping the right button at the right time. Still, the multi-player aspect does give Rock Band a leg up on the competition, and begins to justify the added price.

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