Yesterday, EA Mobile, err sorry, I mean EA Interactive held their annual winter preview event for the various titles they have slated for release through the end of this year and into early next year. At this event last December, the star of the show was the excellent Dead Space [$6.99/HD] for iOS. This year there wasn’t really any jaw dropping titles of that caliber, but EA and Chillingo do have a solid stable of new games coming out that are worth getting excited about.

Battlefield 3: Aftershock - Following the success of last December’s Battlefield: Bad Company 2 [$2.99/HD] on iOS, EA is currently in the midst of bringing a mobile version of its Battlefield 3 title to the App Store. Officially called Battlefield 3: Aftershock, the version I was able to try out at EA’s event was in an incredibly early pre-alpha state, thus making it hard to judge at this point. But, it already feels good control-wise and shows plenty of promise for improvement over the previous installment. Pricing and release are currently TBA but for now feast your eyes on these lovely new screens until more solid information is available.

Trenches 2 - We already took a look at Trenches 2 a couple of weeks back, but I was finally able to get my hands on the game to try it myself at EA’s event yesterday. And, not surprisingly, my impressions are positive. The original Trenches was an incredibly solid strategy/defense game, and the sequel follows really closely in the footsteps of its predecessor. There are plenty of new goodies built onto this foundation though, and you’ll get to see for yourself pretty soon as Trenches 2 is set on its new launch date of December 15th.

Need for Speed: The Run - Complementing the recent release of Need For Speed: The Run on consoles comes a mobile version of the game for iPhone and iPad. Being that this is the fifty billionth Need for Speed game to hit the App Store (that’s an approximate guess) then you probably already have a pretty good idea of what to expect from The Run. Race from San Francisco to New York using 30 different vehicles across more than 60 races.

Tetris - Basically everybody on the planet knows the falling blocks puzzle game Tetris, and we’ve had an iOS version of the game almost since the very beginning of the App Store. While that is a fun and totally decent version of the game, the touch screen controls left a bit to be desired. That’s where the new One-Touch mode comes in. Here, when blocks appear at the top of the screen you’re given an assortment of spots to automatically place the block at the bottom of the screen, represented by outlines of the block’s shape.

This seemed like a weird idea to me at first, but after actually playing this mode I was a believer. It’s such a simple change but it dramatically changes how you would typically play Tetris, almost transforming it into a different game and bypassing any imprecise control issues from the touch screen. There’s regular Marathon mode as well as a progressive level-based Rush mode in addition to One-Touch, so this version of Tetris should appeal to purists as well as those looking for a fresh take on the classic gameplay.

The Sims Freeplay - The popular simulation series is making another appearance on iOS with The Sims Freeplay, and as the name implies this time around EA is employing a freemium business model to the game. Much of the progression of your sims and the items you can unlock will be tied to timers, which can of course be conveniently sped up using a premium currency available as IAP. Don’t fret though, once your various timers are ready your experience will just sit there and wait for you, rather than expiring which is usually the big thing that deters me from freemium games.

Other than the freemium model, everything else about this new Sims game looks absolutely top notch. It was built from the ground up for iOS and it shows. The visuals look great, panning and moving around the environment is extremely fluid, and the entire user interface is really well designed. I haven’t been very excited about a Sims game for some time, but I’m really looking forward to The Sims Freeplay, and keeping my fingers crossed that the choice of business model won’t hamper the experience.

  • Sean Yuan

    Looking forward to BF3 and Trenches 2. Expecting good things from both. Maybe NFS: The Run as well if it's actually a good racing game unlike the other NFS games on the iOS.


  • Josh Hofer

    Still no NHL iOS game from EA? sigh.

  • BulkSlash

    I love that Tetris one-touch mode, sounds really interesting. That said, I really liked the old iOS Tetris with its swipe controls, I found it a surprisingly intuitive way to play (at least until they released the retina update which made the swipe gestures very laggy, they did release a fix but it's still not quite right).

    • Adams Immersive

      Me too—I really like control feel on Tetris already. But I’ll give the new mode a shot! (I assume this is an update and not a new app.)

      • Jared Nelson

        New app actually! I'm pretty sure it's launching for free though, because there's a whole IAP currency thingy that I didn't get into. More about all that when the game launches.

        And yeah the one touch mode is awesome, I was really surprised. 

  • Madison Gerritsen

    Will they EVER incorporate TOUCH based steering in NFS?! God please. I am SO not tilting my iPad for gameplay. And developers dont seem to understand that some people think an iPad is too big to tilt left and right for hours on end with a screen that big.
    Asphalt did it, and did it right. Those controls NAILED racing on the iPad. I PRAY EA does touch controls in this NFS AND that they do them RIGHT. But I'm guessing it's tilt only, again.

    • Anonymous

      No... that's the cool part! The iPad is steering wheel-sized!

      • James Bond

        Yes, but usually, you don't tilt your head the direction you turn unless you're an owl. A good majority of the iOS audience isn't an owl. 

        I apologize to any owls out there in advance in case I offended them.

    • Anonymous

      I hate to admit that I actually like Asphalt.  All of Gameloft's other games are just barely below average, it's insane...they keep making games, none of them are awful, none of them are remarkable in any way, the graphics are (by today's standards) always average, the story is always insultingly bland.  I guess the controls are usually okay, and the way a racing game handles usually makes it or breaks it.

  • anthony simmons

    that EA tetris needs to borrow some ideas from the hudson/nintendo tetris because it is severly lacking.

  • isaaclanager

    Wow battlefield and trenches look cool, ya i still need tetris...

  • Anonymous

    Strange that SSX isn't on this list. By this point I realize everyone's probably forgotten that it was ever announced, but there are SSX banners on the sidelines in FIFA 12, and a friend of mine knows someone at EA who's working on it, so it's definitely coming. Looks like it might not be out in time for Christmas though.

  • Anonymous

    I wonder if NFS: The Run iOS will be any good. The last NFS title they released was horrible (Shift 2). As far as I know, it has yet to be updated (I deleted it because of how bad it was, so I wouldn't know).

  • Anonymous

    Two important questions nobody has asked:

    1) How did BF3: Aftershock compare to the Gameloft title?  
    2) Does this new version of Tetris have infinite rotation, i.e. the piece doesn't stay in place if you don't stop pressing rotate, so even when it lands, you can keep pressing rotate until you decide where to put it?

  • Anonymous

    anybody know when Bf3 might come out?

  • Anonymous

    anybody might know when BF3 might come out?

  • Albert Yu

    I hope EA actually listens to this because I think the freemium trend is EXTREMELY annoying. I'm tired of IOS games doing this and I don't think I'm the one out there. I would rather pay for this game because it looks great and I'm sure other people would agree.

  • Albert Yu

    I personall

  • Chad Gibson

    Really looking forward to battlefield aftershock and trenches 2, not so sure about need for speed:the run. I doubt it will have an actual action packed storyline like the console version, graphics look good but the physics look below average.

  • manuel de la llata

    Hey Jared, nice post. But I was wondering if you could help me out with some info. I'm trying to figure out EA Interactive's place in the company's hierarchy and what studios do they actually currently own? I know EA divided their studios into four different categories; Games, Sports, Bioware and Maxis (I think), but the info is very vague on the interactive part..I figured since you sound knowledgeable on the matter I'd give you shot. Thanks for any words on this matter.