Reading a paperback on the beach is so twentieth century. Mobile games and e-readers are the wave of the future. On Tuesday, EA Mobile unveiled its summer 2010 lineup. Now you know what games you’ll be playing while curled up on a towel and catching some rays.
The Sims 3 Ambitions
Your Sims have dreams, goals, and life aspirations. They want to be chefs or firefighters or evil geniuses—but ultimately, it’s up to you to choose what path they take. On Tuesday, EA Mobile previewed The Sims 3: Ambitions for your iPhone or iPod touch. Like the expansion pack released in June for the Mac version of The Sims 3, you’ll gain access to new mini-games and new career paths for your Sims. For example, during my hands-on with the game, I was able to guide my Sim to a better career as a chef by having him cook hamburgers.
Sim expansions are notorious for their lack of new gameplay elements and paltry cosmetic content additions. While Sims expansions are often derided as being nothing more than new clothing for your paper dolls, The Sims 3 for the iPhone was already a thin game, so any attempt by EA Mobile to flush out the experience should be welcomed.
Risk will allow you to mobilize your armies against AI opponents or up to six multiplayer opponents online. While the game keeps the core strategy elements and rules of the original board game, the colorful graphics, stirring soundtrack, and strong AI should make Risk a distinct experience on the mobile platform.
The AI in particular looks promising— EA Mobile’s press release boasts that there are different AI types that incorporate different strategies and even have “emotional responses.” Hopefully this doesn’t mean your AI opponents will act like your kid brother and simply flip the board over when you starting beating them.
R-Type, originally developed by Irem, is getting a full port to the iPhone. The game will feature the original old-school graphics, upgrades, power-ups, levels, bosses, and difficulty. For the dedicated fan of old school gaming, that’s great news indeed.
But EA Mobile is also ensuring the game is more approachable to modern audiences. R-Type for the iPhone will have different difficulty modes and three different control schemes. Now you can do something you never did in 1987: actually beat R-Type.
Madden NFL 11
Madden NFL 11 has a new defensive scheme called Total Defense Control, which will let you pause the action and move your defense how you’d like to maximize its impact. Not only will it be easier to defend, but NFL 11 promises to have a faster pace thanks to the incorporation of the GameFlow feature from the console version. Now you don’t have to go back into your playbook to select a play every down.
Due out for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, Madden NFL 11 will once again raise the bar in terms of authenticity. Improved graphics, full rosters, authentic stadiums, four different modes of play, and a robust multiplayer will make this a must-have app for virtually all mobile football fans.
Yahtzee for iPad
You can play in Rainbow Mode which adds an extra element of color to the game, or play a more strategic game with Duplicate Mode, or maybe just compete against your friends in Battle Mode. You can Play ‘n Play with up to four friends, go head-to-head in Duplicate Rainbow Mode and challenge friends via Facebook connect.
Wait, didn’t EA already do a SimCity game for the iPhone? Well, yes, but it didn’t exactly set the world ablaze. Wonky controls, indecipherable guidelines, and some nearly-impossible goals made the game a surprisingly frustrating experience.
During my hands-on with the game, the buttons did appear bigger and the game looked more on par with SimCity 4 than SimCity 2000. That said, the controls are still challenging due to the exactness required to lay road and power lines—so you’ll still require a great deal of patience when playing SimCity Deluxe.
NCAA Football features 55 collegiate teams, the ability to create your own school (complete with selecting your own fight song from your iTunes playlist), a season mode that lets you lead your team to a bowl game, head-to-head multiplayer, and real commentary from broadcasters Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit.
NCAA Football is currently available through the iTunes App Store for $7.
[Chris Holt is a Macworld associate editor.]