Need For Speed Hot Pursuit iPad Review

We had a blast playing Need For Speed Hot Pursuit on consoles, and surprisingly, the Apple iOS version holds its own, with sharp graphics, high speed thrills and lots of in-game achievements. On the downside, you can only play as the police, but this is still a fun and very affordable App that we highly recommend.

Like the other version, the portable Hot Pursuit tasks you with tracking down and busting criminals across miles of highway. There's the obvious Need For Speed influence, as you step behind the wheel of a several muscle machines and charge down the open road, but there's also a shade of Burnout in the gameplay that forces you to perform takedowns by any means necessary.

To get the job done, you'll need to catch up to the criminal and deplete the vehicle's life bar, either by ramming it, laying spike strips, calling in road blocks or zapping its electrical system with an EMP. Meanwhile, the game tests your reflexes with oncoming traffic and constantly changing scenery, where wide turns and forks appear from nowhere.

Controls, thankfully, couldn't be simpler. To steer, you tilt the chosen device left and right and then tap the bottom left corner to break. You can also activate nitrous by swiping up the right side of the screen. As for laying down spike strips and calling roadblocks, EA maps them to easily reachable icons beneath the car.

For the most part, Hot Pursuit is intense and well worth the dough. Taking down bad guys is key to success, but you'll also race against fellow officers and enjoy a time attack mode where you must pass through checkpoints to add precious seconds to a constantly ticking clock. Succeed, and you'll move up in rank and unlock new events and vehicles.

That said, not being able to play as the criminal (like in the console Hot Pursuit) is a downer. We also think the A.I. is bit too good; some of these police vs. police races feel unfair. Finally, since this is iOS and not Xbox 360, there's no damage modeling.

At the same time, five bucks goes a long way, as the game has plenty of achievements to unlock, head to head multiplayer (we haven't been able to test this yet) and fast-paced action that runs super smooth for the most part. It's essentially Need For Speed Hot Pursuit in your pocket. It won't replace the one on consoles, but EA deserves a ton of credit for designing a "lite" version with plenty of horsepower underneath the hood.

[Editor's Note: A previous update lets you play as a criminal.]

Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later.

Requirements: Compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 3.2 or later.

What's Hot: High speed pursuits, using spike strips, excellent visuals, user friendly controls, in-game achievements, plenty of cars to unlock.

What's Not: Little vehicular damage.