Hands-on with EA Mobile’s Latest
The Game Developer’s Conference is home to a slew of niche lectures, but it’s also a chance for publishers to make some noise about upcoming projects. Last December we brought you a set of previews for EA’s mobile games, and here’s another helping of the giant’s pocket-sized offerings. They’re listed by release date (the first few titles are already out!).
Mass Effect: Infiltrator
Mass Effect: Infiltrator hit the app store on March 6th, the same fateful day that saw the release of Mass Effect 3. Unlike the latter, Infiltrator puts you in the shoes of Randall Ezno, a Cerberus operative who defects to the Alliance in the course of the game. I asked Jeff Anker, product marketing manager with EA, whether Shepard could kick this guy’s ass. The answer was “probably,” which I’ll take as a yes.
Infiltrator drops the role-playing elements for a purely third-person shooter experience, and it plays alright. You tap enemies (once they’re in range) to lock onto them. You can then open fire or use one of four biotic abilities—there are also four weapons and three abilities, all of which can be upgraded with an in-game currency which, you guessed it, can be purchased with real money.
The game offers nine chapters set in parallel to the events of Mass Effect 3. The experience can be dashed through in three hours, and costs $6.99. Oh, and success in this game can boost your Galactic Readiness in Mass Effect 3. For more on Mass Effect: Infiltrator, be sure to check out our video review.
iBomber Defense Pacific
Here’s a tower defense game worth giving a whirl. As top brass in World War II’s Pacific theater, you place cannons and machine gun nests in the aim of whittling down marching enemy ranks. As you’d expect. iBomber Defense Pacific adds to this a clean presentation (you can scroll through an entire map along just one axis, which does limit confusion), the ability to drop precious bombs from above, and the option of having turrets “dig in.” This makes a turret stronger and tougher, at the expense of mobility (its cone of automatic fire goes stationary).
iBomber Defense Pacific was released on the first of March for $2.99, and has since clawed its way to the top of strategy game sales on both iOS devices and Steam (known there simply as Bomber Defense Pacific).
TwinGo! effuses the same type of charm we’ve come to expect from fuzzy $.99 iOS games, and it shares names with an equally cute French car. The game has you rolling these twin buggers around to their final destination, to be done with minimal finger swipes if you want to earn all three stars. With 90 levels of varied theme and difficulty, it’s easy to see this app as worth the buck.
TwinGo! is out now on all iOS devices for $.99.
Flight Control Rocket
This was the best in show. Flight Control Rocket looks to be adding to its genre-defining (line-drawing) ancestor in all the right ways. 15 ship types table truly distinct challenges—some split into two, others come as a single-file group, etc.
There are two game modes. Infinity mode plays as the classic Flight Control experience, starting mellow before throwing more and more ships your way. Odyssey mode will unfold in levels, and these act as checkpoints that you can later jump straight into. Once you reach level 15, for instance, you can—from the menu—start a game in the thick of level 15 action.
Flight Control Rocket releases later this month at an yet to be determined price point.
The Act looks to belong to a genre of one. Peeking at the game over someone’s shoulder, you might mistake it for a 1970s cartoon—until the viewer starts swiping across the screen to change what happens therein. As Edgar the humble window-cleaner, you’ll have to keep up the act of life by providing the right amount of bravado for each social situation (how neat that a game has me writing a sentence like that one).
Swipe right and you’ll grow a little more assertive, left and you’ll inch back toward timidity. Finding the sweet spot isn’t easy, but it’s a joy to watch.
The Act releases this April for $4.99.
It’s tough to see whether this flight simulator will be much to write home about. I had to dig through many menus before finally taking off, flying through hoops and running errands for the storyline’s retired pilot who I’ll be usurping (I mean, succeeding). The controls work alright, and hopefully the game world will be as compelling as it is broad (Air Mail does have some serious scope to it).
Air Mail releases this summer, price to be announced.
This Could Hurt
This game felt something like a student project. Ouch, I know. Your character model runs along an invisible rail unless you direct him otherwise by laying your finger down anywhere on the screen (that’s right, the only player input leads to inaction here!). You’ll have to do so to avoid cookie-cutter traps like floor spikes and rolling boulders.
This Could Hurt! releases this summer, price to be announced.
I can think of my own game around this one. It involves my asking the developers where it is that Coco Loco doesn’t rip material straight from Angry Birds, and recording the ensuing silence for use in my yet-to-begin prog rock creations. That’s not to say Coco Loco won’t be fun. I mean, Angry Birds is fun, right?
Coco Loco releases this summer, price to be announced.
Smash-a-lot has the decency to take its source material (still Angry Birds) and applying it to the third dimension. You’ll be catapulting boulders at snide knights, buying upgrades to your medieval missiles and using them for not-messing-around destruction.
Smash-a-lot releases this summer, price to be announced.