Need for Speed: Shift

Price: $9.99

Publisher: EA Mobile

Buy now on Need for Speed Shift

It wasn’t long ago I heard that NFS: Shift would be coming to the iPhone.  Ever since, I have looked forward to seeing the type of adaptation it would get from EA Mobile.  The console game is universally adored and I went into this review hoping for the same, almost expecting to be disappointed.  Especially since EA Mobile’s track record has been mediocre at best.  So what did I find?

The game has quite a bit of content.  20 cars, 18 tracks set in 4 different locations.  All of the locations look different and all of the cars look great.  A definite plus.  I started out using a Mazda and stepped up to a Porsche and could definitely tell a difference in engine sound, handling, etc.  It’s nice to see that kind of attention to detail on the iPhone.

The sound is nice because not only do the cars sound great but you can also use your own iPhone playlist while playing the game.  It certainly was nice when I realized I didn’t have to listen to the crappy default rap/ alternative music EA included in the game.  Props to ea mobile for including this ability that sorely needed across the iPhone gaming landscape.

The controls are pretty decent, although in one game mode in particular they can become a problem.  In drift mode you are trying to rack up as many points as possible, not from racing competitors but from sliding around the track as much as possible.  It makes for fun gaming on a console but on the iPhone, it’s extremely difficult to get the tilt based controls at the right angle to drift for any length of time.  Fortunately after failing the first 10 times, I realize there was an option to increase the tilt effectiveness.  Once increased a few notches, drifting was much easier.  Nevertheless, it was frustrating as I wasn’t able to advance to the next level and I could see some people giving up and missing the rest of the game.

need for speed shift iphone

The actual design of the game makes racing a lot of fun.  Even when you lose a race, you can still earn stars and points for doing other tasks.  For example, you can still earn a star by beating the single lap record (stars help you advance to the next track).  The ai competition is so much better than Asphalt 5’s (read the review here).  Instead of ai that immediately catches up when they are down (in corny fashion), NFS: Shift’s opponents take advantage of you taking bad angles around the track or running off the edge of the pavement.  In my book, any game that can still give you a competitive race without using hokey ai practices deserves a second look.

Even with all of the good, there is some bad.  Other than the drift mode issue, I also have to question why in the world the game doesn’t have an in-game pause button.  Unless I am missing it (please let me know), I can’t find a way to pause the game during a race.  It’s a pretty big oversight in my opinion because there are so many times while using an iPhone game you need to pause for a moment or two.  Ironically, the game has a pause menu during the game that comes up when your battery is low.  Someone, please tell me I am just an idiot and where I can find it during the race!  (This issue should be edited out but I will keep it in for people that may also have trouble finding how to pause the game.  In the comments below someone mentioned that you can use two fingers on the screen during the race to pause it.  Very helpful!)

Need for Speed Shift screenshot

All in all, you are going to definitely get your money’s worth with NFS: Shift.  In fact, I would say it is one of the best iPhone games out there.  Despite a couple nagging problems, the amount of time and fun you can have with this game makes it seem incomprehensible there are so many 50 dollar console games that give you 10 hours or less of play.  BTW, I didn’t mention multiplayer which is also included as with both Bluetooth and local Wi Fi modes.  Both worked well when I tried them but even if multiplayer wasn’t included at all, this game would be a must buy.

Overall Value for it’s normal $9.99 price point

Overall Value: Rating: ★★★★★
Graphics: Rating: ★★★★½
Sound: Rating: ★★★★½
Controls: Rating: ★★★½☆

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Played it? Rate it.
Rating: 4.4/5 (5 votes cast)
Need for Speed: Shift, 4.4 out of 5 based on 5 ratings
Cody likes sports, games and sports games. He has also been known to read about sports, games and sports games.


  1. Tracy Morales

    November 9, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    Theres a little tiny pause button on the top in the middle of the screen. It blends in very well with thee background

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  2. Pingback: iPhone and iPod Touch – Games of the Year (2009) « iPhone Gamer Blog

  3. luci

    January 20, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    yeah, makes sense, still pretty good fun… but for this removal and no replays or online scoreboards i give the game 4/5… thank you, Cody, for your fast response and replacing the screenshots 🙂

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  4. Cody

    January 18, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    Luci, Good questions. Your right about the 1st and 3rd screenshots. Looks like they need to be replaced. As far as the YouTube videos, I think EA gave those sites an early build and things were removed because they wanted to be able to support all iPod Touch and iPhones, not just the newest versions (3GS, 3rd generation iPod Touch) and some of the higher quality graphics had to be cut. kind of a shame but the game is still pretty sweet.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  5. luci

    January 18, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    why is the first and last screenshot not from the game version for iPhone/iPod Touch ?

    also, do you have any idea, why in some YouTube videos (first hands-on videos versus the final version video reviews) are the cool effects of crashing into someone the screen becomes blurry red/black&white and my purchase doesn’t have this effect ? did they (EA) remove it before final release for some reason ? it’s a bit disappointing that it is missing from the game :-/


    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  6. shameersyd

    January 15, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    I have been a great fan of NFS right from my childhood.Every new game released in this genre makes a point.I got a chance to play this game and itz just awesome.Great work EA guys.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  7. Cody

    January 14, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    Just tap the camera icon next to the speedometer in the top right corner. Tap multiple times for all of the different views.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  8. Ryan

    January 14, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    How do i chage the camera view for racing, I’s stuck in the 1st person view and would like to try the others?

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  9. Cody

    January 2, 2010 at 12:25 am


    That’s great to hear. Please come back and let us know what you think.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  10. Daniel

    December 30, 2009 at 1:23 am

    Awesome! I was trying to find the best iPhone racing game, and after reading a few reviews, I believe I’ve found it in NFS: Shift! Thanks.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  11. Pingback: Top 5 iPhone and iPod Touch game of 2009 | iPhone Gamer Blog

  12. Cody

    December 27, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    Awesome info! Thanks for that. It was driving me crazy 🙂

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  13. SimplyKok

    December 27, 2009 at 2:45 am

    2 fingers down the screen will pause it.. got the info from one of the tips in loading screen. 2 fingers on the screen in the menu will allow you to rotate and view the car from different angles. =)

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply