The Simpsons Arcade in Review: Homer – Is there anything he can’t do?

“Mmmmm… Frosted pink donut and the Simpsons iPhone game …”

That was my own Homer moment when I first found out that the much anticipated Simpsons iPhone game wa soon to be released. And when it was finally out, I realized I was out of credits and immediately tweeted “I WANT!!!” to the rest of the world. Desperate for a sign from heaven, I was eventually blessed with a complimentary code which allowed me to download one of the games I have been waiting for since the iPod Touch came out.

Unlike its predecessors, only Homer is the star of the show. The rest of the brood make their appearances in various stages as special power-ups called family frenzy.

Homer is blissfully unaware of the nefarious forces conspiring against the most precious thing to him: a donut. In his determination to get the it, you will guide him in plowing down generic thugs and other beloved cast members (Chief Wiggum, Mayor Quimby, to name a few) who stand in the way of his sugary goal.

Smoothly controlled by a joystick, Homer can charge into his enemies with belly flops, grab, throw, and smash crates and other objects he comes across. Various mini-games are sprinkled throughout more than 20 levels as an added dimension of gameplay.

Graphics, animation, music and sound effects are highly polished and definitely top notch. Springfield has never looked this good, in fact. For the most part, everything seems to be the way it should thanks to the crisp, colourful graphics and detailed 2D settings. The levels vary wildly, offering a variety of weapons, power-ups, obstacles and hilarious opportunities. Another nice touch is the ‘sneak preview’ at the start of each level as the enemies are quickly introduced.

Unfortunately, the port to the iDevice is so good, you end up expecting the characters to behave the way they should on television. In this regard, one would wonder why EA severely limited the soundbytes considering the wealth of material on hand. The game is too text heavy, ironically, for a game that was voiced by the actors themselves.

I’m also surprised that online scoreboard integration is not available on this game, considering that most games already offer it by default.

While the choice of Homer as the pivotal game character certainly simplified many aspects of the game, I look forward to another arcade game that will follow in the footsteps of the original arcade/PC game which creatively and humorously showcased the bizarre abilities and skills of Marge, Bart, Lisa and Homer. The limited participation of the rest of the Simpsons family is a bit of a disappointment to me, not as a gamer, but as a longtime fan. Still, from a game perspective, there are endless possibilities that the developers can explore in giving each member of the Simpsons family equal billing.

Any fan will love its humor, zany gameplay and the nostalgia it evokes, but You need not be a Simpsons fan to enjoy this game. It stands on its own merits as a legit beat ‘em up game, and offers great production values and an unlikely hero too funny and endearing to resist.

App Summary
Title: The Simpsons Arcade Developer: Electronic Arts
Reviewed Ver:  1.0.0 Min OS Req: 2.2.1
Price: $0.99 App Size:
  • Excellent graphics and animation, combined with fantastic music and effects
  • Solid, engaging gameplay
  • Not enough Bart, Lisa and Marge (if that counts!)
  • No online leaderboard integration


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