The Simpsons Arcade for iPhone/iPod Touch [review]

Do you remember when side-scrolling beat-em-ups were the mainstream of video game arcades? I mean the type of game where you’d walk along a linear level, stop to deal with some bad guys, and when you’d kicked the spit out of them you could walk along a bit more and deal with the next group. Oh, and there were usually some big boss fights at the end of the level. Remember that?

The Simpsons Arcade on iPhone and iPod Touch revisits those days. This isn’t to be confused with the actual Simpsons arcade game – it plays the same but the storyline and levels are different.

OK, storyline: Mr Burns has gathered Springfield’s most powerful citizens to hatch an evil masterplan. The plan is held in a USB drive, stuffed into a donut. You, as Homer, want that donut. If you’re wondering what the evil plan is, I don’t know – the game doesn’t even know! It’s just a device to give you a reason to play!

Gameplay is simple (standard beat-em-up stuff) but I really liked how the sound has been made to feel quite retro. You could say that’s laziness on the part of EA, but I think it’s a wink and a nod back to the earlier days of gaming. It’s not quite as retro as this video, but I couldn’t resist showing you that anyway! Oh how I loved my C64 :)

The graphics, however, look crisp and clean, so don’t worry about buying this and discovering that you’ve got a game that would look more at home in the early ’90s.

There are a couple of annoyances with the game, though:

The Simpsons Arcade - Classic beat-em-up action

Classic beat-em-up action on the move

Save Points – The game only saves when you get to the end of an area. Now, areas are split up into three or more acts, but you must complete the entire area before quitting or you’ll start it all over again when you come back. Areas aren’t very long, so it’s not a major hassle, but it does mean you can’t pop the The Simpsons Arcade on for a quick game… you need enough time to get to the next save point.

In-Game Menu – As in, there isn’t one. Once you’re in the game the only way to quit is to hit the home key and come out of the app altogether. To be fair there isn’t much you would want with an in-game menu anyway, but there were a couple of times I wanted to go back to the start and had to restart the app to do it.

Despite those two niggles, this is a great little game. It’s cheap too – 59p here in the UK – and I think well worth the payment. If you’re looking for a bit of Simpsons themed fun (and a decent beat-em-up to boot) give The Simpsons Arcade a go.

iTunes links within this review are affiliate links. If you enjoyed this you may want to read more articles about the iPhone too.
Edit: I noticed last night that the price of this game has gone up to £2.99. Please double-check the price before purchasing so that you don’t get a surprise when you read your receipt!

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