Preview | EA Interactive Has Eggs in Many a Basket
EA Interactive is looking at a busy turn into 2012 (a year you won’t need to stock up on firearms and canned goods for). Many iOS games of both core and casual ilk are set for release in the next two months, and Sebastian and I were there to enjoy them all. Plus, it turns out that those pumpkin cupcakes I’ve tipped my hat to in past scribblings were back in action! I guess it’s an EA thing, hopefully here to stay.
More… okay, just as importantly, here are some of the highlights from the show.
Fancy Pants Adventures (Pierre, da bonehousescribbler!)
Somehow I failed to notice this hugely stylish 2D platformer after its release on XBLA and PSN last April (and a browser-based version of early worlds was available years ago). It may have been due to that pantsless bender I spiraled into. Pantsless in both ideology and practice. Anyway, fans of both platformers and straightforward, well-conceived fun will want to pay this game a visit.
You’re Fancy Pants Man of course, a stick figure with billowing trousers and radical hairstyles (which you can switch up). Collect rings (or squiggles) a la Sonic to build up a damage buffer. Something that really jumps out of the game is the contextual animations undergone by our hero; soar through the air long enough and FPM will change his stance accordingly, enjoying the flightful moment.
Slightly awkward controls – inherent in the virtual thumbstick – don’t stand as a significant issue before the game’s fractional price (somewhere between $.99 and $2.99) come January 2012.
Plants vs. Zombies (Pierre)
PopCap’s eponymous plants and zombies are coming to the Kindle Fire, and they look as prim as ever. No novelty here, though the Kindle Fire’s size, sitting comfortably between that of the iPhone and iPad, feels ideal for lawn defense. Goldilocks would call it juuuust right. In the absence of a (only rumored) smaller iPad option, and since the cash between those price points can buy you the husk of an old beaten up car, this port feels justified. It’s available now for $2.99.
Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Tetris, a staple in puzzle gaming, is back with a vengeance. New to the iOS and Android platforms, Tetris has an assortment of new features, game modes and visuals. These new game modes offer old and new fans alike a new level of challenge and skill, including One-Touch mode, where players can place Tetriminos at the drop of a hat in a marathon-style to see how far players can go without messing up.
Rush Mode throws players into a strategy-like setting where they have to reach the bottom of the level using as few moves as possible for highest ratings. Another novelty to the series is the all-new Tetris Log, where players can complete challenges and see how many “cleared lines” they’ve accumulated in their lifetime, while the Tetris Club offers exclusive discounts on DLC and challenges. Look for Tetris in the Android Market and App Store later this month.
Spice Invaders (Sebastian)
No, this game is not Space Invaders with spice. Spice Invaders is a tower defense game in which bloodthirsty pirates invade Earth not for its vast knowledge in the sciences, but for basil and paprika. Spice Invaders will include an assortment of new towers such as Tesla Coils, Gravity Guns and Nukes, to name a few.
Three separate single-player modes with 50 hand-drawn levels await eager TD fans and newcomers alike, in addition to three multiplayer modes supporting up to 8 players. Keep an eye out for Spice Invaders this time next month.
Battlefield 3: Aftershock (Pierre)
As a headline, this might look like the highlight of the show. In reality, it left me wondering why it was showed so early. Sure, it may be ahead of current iOS shooters visually, but that crossing of platform and genre is still in its infancy, a fact that the developer himself agreed with.
Your iPad is cleaved in half: dragging a finger somewhere across the left hemisphere controls player movement. The right moves your crosshair. Features and game modes to be included in the final product were something to guess at – what we played was a sandbox survival game type, waves and all. Whether a more fully-fledged campaign is in the works and what kind of multiplayer support Battlefield’s iOS iteration will boast are still unknown.
There’s no street date on this one, so at least EA has time to refine a product with such a strong franchise to its name.
Need For Speed: The Run (Sebastian)
Don’t you ever wish you could travel the world racing exotic cars? There’s an app for that. New to the mobile racing scene is NFS: The Run. This action-adventure racing game will take you all over the world with 60 races: from drifting in the middle of nowhere to time trial speed races in gridlock.
Players can get their inner “pimp my ride on,” with acceleration, speed and handling upgrades, as well as custom paint jobs. But what’s a racing game without the cars? Players will have a garage of 30 nos powered cars to crash err… race with. Compete with your friends online with Origin’s Autolog, and show them who can go the longest without crashing. Need For Speed: The Run will be speeding into the app store sometime this season.