Need for Speed Shift Review: Half Sim Half Arcade Works Its Charm

Need for Speed Shift was yet another title that was majorly hyped.  But I wasn’t exactly excited for its release seeing EA’s previous track record of disappointing games such as NBA Live and Command and Conquer.  They were releasing mediocre title after mediocre title, following the releases of Must Have titles such as Tiger Woods PGA Tour and Need for Speed: Undercover.

But with the release of Need for Speed Shift, they’ve somewhat redeemed themselves, showing promise for what EA Mobile has in store for the iPhone platform.  I was mightily impressed with Need for Speed Shift, and while mightily similar to Undercover, it successfully strays away from the arcade racer genre while still dipping its toes ever so slightly into arcade.

I honestly didn’t think they could pull it off with Undercover being developed for over a year while Shift significantly less, but they did it once again.


Graphics: NoDPad author Jeff and I were arguing about which racing game had better graphics: Real Racing or Need for Speed Shift, and you know it looks good when you’re comparing it to Real Racing.  While I personally though Real Racing looked a little better, there’s no going back on the fact that Need for Speed Shift is quite impressive.

The first-person view could have been a little bit better as the gloves looked more like transparent outlines, but otherwise, I was satisfied with the way the game looked.  The cars were all sleek, and it looked even more sophisticated whenever you collided with an object.  The development team behind Need for Speed Shift did a good job of competing with the competition and churned out their best; displayed through a graphically intense game.

Content: I’m just going to say the game will last you a long time.  It has taken me a little close to forever to complete the first city, let along the other 5 or 6 cities.  By the end of the game, I don’t think anyone would complain about the game being too short or too lacking.

Controls: As with many racing games, controls don’t seem to be a problem with the accelerometer in place.  While I would have liked an implementation of touch controls, the accelerometer controls were accurate and worked well.  The brake was also another feature that I liked: touch anywhere to break.  You shouldn’t have any problems with the controls other than the fact that there aren’t any touch controls or different options for controls.

Customization: Now this is an area that Real Racing fails and Need for Speed Shift exceeds.  Just like its predecessor Undercover, Shift features tons of customization options including paint jobs, body kits, and increase of car stats.  Many people including me love customizing their cars, and this area was a big plus for the game.  It isn’t anything different from Undercover though, and all they really did was transfer the customization from one game to the other.


Cars: There aren’t many of them, and only 20 is quite pitiful when compared to Real Racing’s boastful catalogue of over 40 cars.  While they aren’t licensed, it’s still more than Need for Speed Shift.  It would have been nice to add some more in there instead of the same cars that are available in Undercover.  There are some new ones, but most of them are pretty much the same from the previous Need for Speed.

It’s the Same: I couldn’t help but feel how similar Need for Speed Shift was to Need for Speed Undercover.  Sure one was an arcade racer pitting you against cops while Shift was more about racing, but the controls, style, feel, design, and cars were too similar.  There was an added profile along with “leveling up”, but other than that, it felt like Undercover.  I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing; I’m just saying that I wished that it felt a little different.

Power Hog: Just a warning: this will eat your battery like mad.  And heat your device quite a bit as happened to my device.  It truly shows how much power this game requires, and my iPhone was pretty hot by the time I stopped playing the game.  I also went down from 100% battery life to 43% in a matter of one or two hours, definitely eating up much of my battery.  I’m sure this can be fixed, but for now, just a warning to those planning to play Need for Speed Shift for a lengthy amount of time.

I was surprised with this title, and EA Mobile did a great job of bringing yet another great racing title to the iPhone.  While I can imagine someone else (cough cough Real Racing 2) beating this out, it’s still a worthy racing title.  With an early sale of $6.99, it’s cheap enough to consider against Real Racing.  And while it isn’t a Real Racing killer by any means, it’s definitely very close.

Need for Speed Shift was developed by EA Mobile, and I played through version 1.0 on my iPhone 3GS.  The price is $6.99.

About Daniel

I have been an iPhone game addict ever since the NES emulator came out on the 1.1.4 iPhone 2G. After 2.0 and the App Store came out, my iPhone homescreen has never been the same. Other than writing reviews for App Store games, I play soccer/football, American football, volleyball, and golf. I love going to the beach and fishing on the pier. Some games not available on iPhone/iPod Touch that I truly love are the Call of Duty series, Guitar Hero III, Madden NFL 09, and PGR: Gotham Racing.

3 thoughts on “Need for Speed Shift Review: Half Sim Half Arcade Works Its Charm

  1. That’s a bad reveiw first off NBA live was good and tiger woods and NFSU are not titles that people look forward to coming out or must haves. A must have is Inotia 2: Wanderer of Luone.

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