For over 20 years, we’ve come to know Homer J. Simpson and love him as the head of Fox’s most famous and enduring family, The Simpsons. Homer is many things, including lazy, stupid, and dangerously overweight. But despite his flaws, Homer has proven to be a man who is inherently goodhearted and usually does the right thing.
Whether it’s unwittingly saving Springfield from a nuclear meltdown or creatively finding ways to bring Christmas joy to his family despite the lack of a holiday bonus, he has revealed his true character in the most important moments of his life. So yeah, we love Homer! In one of EA’s latest iPhone projects, The Simpsons Arcade, you get an opportunity to take Homer on a whirlwind adventure that’s 100% pure fan service.
The Simpsons Arcade is a new and original game and it shouldn’t be confused with the classic coin-op that was developed by Konami back in the early nineties. Unlike Konami’s timesuck, this game doesn’t feature drop-in and drop-out 4 player co-op action. At its core, this is a side scrolling solo adventure starring Homer Simpson. Don’t be concerned about this being a solitary experience, though. Springfield is full of characters, and you’ll run into many of them along the way.
Managing the action is a piece of cake (Mmm, cake). With a transparent joystick and buttons occupying the bottom left and right areas respectively, Homer is as nimble as your thumbs. The two buttons control your attack and jump actions, and there are a handful of combo actions to do things like belly flops on enemies.
Like most beat-em ups, the enemy variety is unimpressive. Homer is usually taking down ‘Men In Black’ rejects that all look the same. Sometimes the baddies show up with weapons you can dislodge, allowing Homer to use baseball bats and tasers as a welcome break from the belly-to-hand combat. While each new environment skins these guys with a different look, they are basically the same dudes throughout.
The rest of the Simpsons family gets involved through the ‘Family Frenzy’ powerups. Cracking open crates sometimes reveals icons that have a headshot of Bart, Lisa, or Marge. Usually placed in areas that are densely populated with enemies, each powerup launches a ‘clear the whole screen immediately’ attack. You can’t play as Bart or Lisa, but these powerups are a decent concession.
Battle anonymous, suited toughs.
What makes The Simpsons Arcade truly shine are the boss battles. Granted, there are only 6 of them, but these encounters are beautifully executed. We were surprised by who the bosses were, and we don’t want to spoil your own discovery, so go in blind and enjoy the hilarity.
The glue that really binds it all together here is the fantastic presentation. All the locations, characters, and signature personalities are intact. Animations are spot-on, and it’s great to see so many of Homer’s idiosyncrasies captured. We’re not shocked, as EA is a world class developer, and their love for the brand comes through with all the subtle details they’ve included.
From top to bottom, this is a definite “Must Have” game. Give yourself a belated Christmas present by adding The Simpsons Arcade to your home screen.