Need for Speed Undercover
While not the most feature packed iPhone racer, Need for Speed Undercover is without question the prettiest.
Need for Speed Undercover is one of the iPhone's most impressive looking racers. EA Mobile shoved a PSP quality experience onto Apple's device, and while the game has plenty of quirks and drawbacks, the speedy action and gorgeous visuals make this not only a showpiece for a hardware, but a must play for gamers looking to see what the iPhone's capable of.
Similar to the console versions, you play an undercover cop hoping to bust a smuggling ring while taking part in the underground racing circuit. The story's told through live action cut scenes with over the top acting and lame scenarios. In other words, you don't need to pay attention to the narrative to enjoy the game. Just hop on and play.
Cars accelerate automatically, so all you need to do is steer by physically tilting the iPhone, pressing the screen to brake and swiping upwards to activate nitrous; you can also swipe down to slow the action. Surprisingly, the game feels tight and we rarely had a problem careening around curves and rocketing past the competition. The decision to prevent gamers from adjusting tilt sensitivity puzzled us, but overall, Need for Speed Undercover handles like a dream.
It's also a lot of fun. Throughout the course of your journey, you'll compete in standard races, outrun the cops, bump cars off the road and perform vehicle deliveries. Over time, you'll earn cash that comes in handy for purchasing new rides and adding upgrades to existing cars that dramatically improves performance. If anything, there's plenty to do.
Keeping your eyes on the road, however, may be a challenge because of the game's beautiful graphics. EA Mobile outdid itself with accurately modeled sports cars, long stretches of road, tall buildings, forests and a sun streaked sky. Even better, the game runs at a fast and furious pace (pun intended).
That said, Need for Speed's bells and whistles come at the expense of some key omissions, the most notable being multiplayer, or lack thereof. You cannot hook up with other racers via AdHoc or online, nor can you post your best times to a global leaderboard. You can forget about damaging the cars (they remain intact no matter what happens), and at times, the computer opponents are borderline impossible to beat, something that'll anger stressed out players looking to adjust difficulty.
At the end of the day, however, Need for Speed Undercover is one heck of a game. Its $9.99 price feels a bit steep considering the various omissions, but like most iPhone apps, EA can add free updates to boost an already enjoyable experience. If you need a reason to justify the iPhone as a gaming device, slip into the driver's side, download this game and burn rubber.
What's Hot: Super fast racing, excellent tilt controls, plenty of race events, car customization, PSP quality graphics, a plethora of rides to cruise around in.
What's Not: No online play or global leaderboard, you cannot calibrate the controls, cheesy voice acting, punishing artificial intelligence, no vehicular damage.