For more than 20 years, you've come to know Homer J. Simpson as the head of one of TV's most enduring families, the Simpsons. Homer himself is many things, including lazy, stupid, and dangerously overweight. But he's also one of the show's most popular characters, and now, he's the star of his very own iPhone arcade-style brawler, which offers a colorful cartoon presentation, solid gameplay, and plenty of in-jokes that fans of the show will enjoy.
The Simpsons Arcade is a new and original game that shouldn't be confused with the classic coin-op that was developed by Konami back in the early 1990s. Unlike that game, this one doesn't feature drop-in/drop-out four-player co-op action. Instead, this is a side-scrolling solo adventure starring Homer Simpson. Don't be concerned that this is a solitary experience, though. There are other iconic characters in Springfield, and you'll run into several of them along the way.
Managing the action is a piece of cake (mmm, cake). Since the game has an easy-to-use transparent joystick and buttons placed at the bottom left and right sides of the screen, 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.
Unfortunately, like in many side-scrolling brawlers, the enemy variety is unimpressive. Homer spends most of his time fighting same-looking guys wearing sunglasses and business suits. Sometimes the baddies show up carrying weapons, and you can knock these baseball bats and tasers out of their hands and wield them in battle, which offers a welcome break from Homer's standard 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 Simpson family gets involved with the "family frenzy" power-ups. Cracking open crates sometimes reveals icons that have a headshot of Bart, Lisa, or Marge. These items usually appear in areas that are densely populated with enemies, and each power-up launches a "clear the whole screen of enemies" attack.
The best part of The Simpsons Arcade is the boss battles. There are only six of them, but each encounter is beautifully executed. You'll be surprised by who the bosses are, so we'll try not to spoil too many of them for you. Go in blind and enjoy the hilarity.
The game's fantastic presentation is really what ties all these elements together. All the locations, characters, and signature personalities of the town of Springfield are intact. Animations are spot-on, and it's great to see so many of Homer's idiosyncrasies captured--there's so much attention to detail that fans of the show will definitely be pleased.
From top to bottom, The Simpsons Arcade is a great game. Anyone who enjoys the show or a good beat-'em-up will want it on their iDevice.
This review was provided by GameSpot mobile content partner SlideToPlay.com.