Need for Speed Undercover for iPhone is the Ultimate Racing App (Full Review)

By on May 6, 2009 at 7:16 am

Need for SpeedI will say this upfront and very clearly, Need for Speed Undercover is the best racing game to date for the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch. PERIOD. Electronic Arts just took the iPhone from a 3.0 level to a 4.0 with the release of this ultimate new game. Check out the full review below.

Electronic Arts (commonly known as “EA”) are the juggernaut of game development. They own a plethora of extremely succesfull game titles ranging from MADDEN NFL with EA Sports, their Medal of Honor series, and their very popular Need for Speed series. Need for Speed Undercover for the iPhone makes me feel like I’m playing the full 1080i version on my Xbox 360. EA made sure that every single feature from their Need for Speed series showed up on their mobile platform.

The game had 8 different race modes in three different city zones which include Circuit Races, Cop Take Out, Sprint, Outrun, Highway Battle, Hot Car, Chasedown, and more. There are a total of 24 covert adventures that lead you through the mission of the game, going undercover. Just as with other Need for Speed titles, you can customize your car in various ways using money earned from races. Those options include Performance (top speed, acceleration, handling, nitro) and Visuals (body kit, paint job, spoiler, suspension height, vinyl, wheels). There are also 4 stages of upgrades available for each category at different price levels. Nitrous can be earned throughout each race either by being purchased in your garage or by near misses, drifting, and other hazardous events (just as in their full titles).

Need for Speed Undercover features 20 cars which include: (vehicle, price, unlocked)

Nissan 240SX (S13) $10,000 – Unlocked at start
Pontiac Firebird $19,000 – Unlocked at start
Mazda Mazaspeed3 $25,000 – Unlocked at start
Volkswagen Golf GTI $27,000 – Unlocked after completing Chop Shop in Sunset Hills
Pontiac Solstice GXP $29,000 – Unlocked after completing Chop Shop in Sunset Hills
Mazda RX-8 $31,000 – Unlocked after completing Decoy in Port Crescent
Ford Mustang GT $35,000 – Unlocked after completing Decoy in Port Crescent
Chrysler Hemi 300C SRT8 $37,000 – Unlocked after completing Decoy in Port Crescent
Mitsubishi Lancer EVOLUTION $45,000 – Unlocked after completing versus in Port Crescent
Nissan 370Z (Z34) $50,000 – Unlocked after 50,000 stylepoints earned
BMW M3 E92 $66,000 – Unlocked after completing Hornet’s Nest in Palm Harbor
Nissan GT-R (R35) $80,000 – Unlocked after completing Hornet’s Nest in Palm Harbor
Dodge Viper SRT10 $94,000 – Unlocked after completing versus in Port Crescent
Ford Mustang 1967 $110,000 – Unlocked after 120,000 stylepoints earned
Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG $190,000 – Unlocked after completing Hornet’s Nest in Palm Harbor
Ford GT $139,000 – Unlocked after 200,000 stylepoints earned
Lamborghini Gallardo $160,000 – Unlocked after completing It’s A Knockout in Palm Harbor
Porsche 911 GT2 $200,000 – Unlocked after completing It’s A Knockout in Palm Harbor
Porsche Carerra GT $300,000 – Unlocked after 300,000 stylepoints earned
Pagani Zonda F $400,000 – Unlocked after 400,000 stylepoints earned

Gameplay graphics are realistically three dimensional (3D) and use awesome camera angles to highlight performance. The in-game videos that move the story along are all in high definition, and are the same as found in full platform titles for the Xbox360, Sony PS3, and Nintendo Wii. The actors and scenes are wonderfully done and are extremely professional.

Vehicle controls use the iPhone and iPod Touch’s accelerometer feature and there is no need to hold down a gas pedal. EA designed the cars to automatically accelerate and instead, use the touch gesture to brake the car to slow it down. Steering is also complimentary to the car you are driving. For example, when you first begin the game you start off with a Porsche Carerra GT. Handling on this car is awesome, therefore the car does not sway as much and its on screen handling is much better than your first purchased car, a Nissan 240SX. This lack of handling is intensified on screen and adds to the realistic effect that you are driving a horrible handling car. Your vehicle also slows down naturally while turning and going around turns too fast without performance tires, suspension, etc begins to reflect from your vehicle. For example, you begin to lose traction on the outside wheel due to stock tires and poor handling.

The Need for Speed Undercover sound track is also amazing and features common rock bands found on various stations like SiriusXM Satellite radio’s “Octane”. Sound effects are extremely realistic and reflect impacts, crashes, and more. Sound volume can be controlled via the iPhone’s volume controls and silence all option.

Other features of Need for Speed Undercover are pinch gestures for zooming in and out, “Speedbreaker” where you swipe gesture upwards to initiate your nitrous, “Slipstream” opponents also known as drafting to gain extra speed, and the ability to play your own iTunes music library. To pause the game, simply use a two finger gesture downwards at any time.

Overall, Need for Speed Undercover is the best racing game to date for the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch. PERIOD. Electronic Arts brought high definition video, intense racing gameplay, incredible 3D graphics, fully customizable vehicles, and a full story line that makes you feel as if you are playing a full platform title version found on Xbox360, PS3, or Wii. Amazing.


1. Unlock races, more money. Unlock more races as you progress in order to earn more money. You’ll be able to upgrade and purchase additional cars.

2. Slipstream is effective. What EA calls “Slipstream”, is a fancy word for drafting someone. Simply get right behind your opponent to gain extra speed and whip out from behind them. You will pass them very fast in no time.

3. Speedbreaker saves your a$$. Use the “Speedbreaker” (1 finger gesture downwards) to slow down your car to avoid any huge traffic accidents.

4. Tight on cash? Trade in your car for a newer and more powerful model. Sometimes it’s worth the risk.

5. Cash rewards. You can cash in rewards for replaying events already won at one quarter their original value. This can get repetitive so it is advised you just keep progressing in the game with future races in order to earn the big bucks.

6. More speed, more damage. During the bounty levels make sure you have additional speed in order to do more costly damage to your opponent. You can also hit objects at a higher speed to increase damage effectiveness.

7. First place wins. Specifically in Lap KO events (last across the finish line each lap is eliminated), make sure you stay up front, specifically in first place to win the overall race.

8. Nitro boost only when needed. Your nitro boost comes in handy when trying to pass opponents on straightaways. Try to save it for those crucial moments.

9. Drifting 101. In order to drift around a corner, all you have to do is flick or shake the iPhone’s corner and you will initiate a drift. Keep the phone level to maintain the drift.


I recommend this game to all ages and to anyone who is a total Need for Speed freak, racing fan, or mobile gaming fanatic. Need for Speed Undercover sells for $9.99

*Note: I will add more vehicle screenshots as they are unlocked. If you’ve already unlocked your favorite car and do not see it here, send it to us and we’ll add it to our gallery!

Please post your comments, tips, and your own reviews below in the comments area!


Filed: FeaturedGamesiPhone
  • chris

    This is by far the most in-depth review of any iPhone game I have found on the intarweb. Great job, Jason. Keep up the good work. I can't wait to play this game!

  • The tips are a big help when not much exists from the manufacturer after buying a game. I'm new to gaming and am enjoying this game on my iPod Touch. It's one of my favorite speed games. Where's the best location to learn more about games for the iPod? I'd like to ask other players some questions about gameplay.

  • Greg

    NFS is NOT the best iPhone racing game. That title belongs to Firemint’s Real Racing, hands down.

  • Nellie Dannard

    My ipod device 1G is the main iPod, Personal digital assistant and a bit more, and even has happen to be from the moment I bought it. It also operate the latest iPod system software program, and any iphone app I would need it to run. I’m working with it to leave this remark right now. I’d personally point out it truly is a lot more as compared to basically an “excellent hobbyist system” — it is really an outstanding iPod