The Simpsons iPhone game puts the arcade in the palm of your hand

Dec 29, 2009
Games

The Simpsons Arcade ($4.99) from EA Mobile for the iPhone transforms the innovative television show, currently celebrating its 20th season, into an arcade-style beat ’em up game. Of course, this iPhone app version does not come with the traditional eight-way joystick or button-mashing of the original arcade game (developed by Konami), but the parade of character […]

The Simpsons Arcade ($4.99) from EA Mobile for the iPhone transforms the innovative television show, currently celebrating its 20th season, into an arcade-style beat ’em up game. Of course, this iPhone app version does not come with the traditional eight-way joystick or button-mashing of the original arcade game (developed by Konami), but the parade of character cameos and simple gameplay help ease the transition.

Having said that, there is still a considerable amount of button mashing. As Homer, you fight wave after wave of suit-wearing henchmen using a litany of weapons – gigantic mallet, plutonium rod, taser, baseball bat, to name a few – in an effort to retrieve a doughnut. This pastry contains a secret microchip, unbeknownst to Homer, so our hero is more interested in its pink frosting and bounty of sprinkles.

The game controls are straightforward. The player is given two buttons (one for attacking, the other for jumping) and a virtual joystick to move Homer around the environment.

There are two boss fights within each of the game’s six levels that are all modeled after popular places within The Simpsons realm. This is where you get to fight Mayor Quimby, Chief Wiggum, Side Show Mel, Krusty the Clown, and others. The final boss is exactly who you’d expect, the consistently evil Mr. Burns, but with a sizable twist.

One of the original’s mini-games made it into the iPhone app version: Inflato Head. You can win a continue by inflating your Homer-shaped balloon faster than the baddies by repeatedly tapping the buttons. Also, Homer dances after clearing a stage, another feature from the original.

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Even though this game brought back fond memories of video arcades and fumbled quarters, I have a slew of suggestions to make this game more enjoyable.

First off, the player should be able to select from the four bipedal family members, not just Homer. The other family members–Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie–are used sparingly. Whenever Homer comes in contact with a power-up featuring one of their famous faces, the two team-up to do more damage to impending hordes of henchmen. Marge’s special attack is the only one that uses the iPhone’s accelerometer. If EA Mobile employed this tactic more often, the overall gameplay would be more interesting.

This game lacks some basic logistical options. There is no pause button and no in-game save. These features made sense for the arcade game, but not a mobile version. Multiplayer capability might be difficult to integrate, however, it would be pretty cool if I could play this game with a friend over WiFi.

For an added bonus, have Homer sit in one place for a little bit and see some of the classic animations we expect from America’s favorite cartoon father. Why not incorporate drools, burps, and Homer scratching his keister? Overall, this is a decent arcade-style game that fans of the show and casual gamers will enjoy. If you’re into games with complexity or replayability, however, it’s best to take a pass.

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Stephen Danos

Stephen Danos is the Associate Editor for appoLearning.com, AndroidApps.com, and Appolicious. He has contributed to articles published on TechCrunchThe Chicago Sun TimesThe Chicago Tribune, and elsewhere.

He received his BA in English from the University of Iowa and MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia College Chicago. He is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Playhouse State (H_NGM_N Books, 2012) and Gravitational (The New Megaphone, forthcoming).

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