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Electronic Arts' Need for Speed franchise has been available for webOS since Need for Speed Undercover accompanied the launch of the PDK beta in February 2011. While the game has gotten great reviews (including a Hot Apps win), it has suffered a bit from the form factor: neither the Pre or any other smartphone is big enough for easy two-handed steering. (We note, however, that like other PDK games, NFS Undercover will probably play expand to play full-screen, although a bit pixelated, on the TouchPad.)

With today's launch of the HP TouchPad comes a new EA game: Need for Speed Hot Pursuit for TouchPad ($9.99 in the App Catalog). It follows in its predecessors' tire tracks (and the iPad version of the game) by giving the player control of a fast car; in this case, either as a racer or as the police officer tasked with stopping racers.

Cars, tracks and other awards are unlocked as players earn achievements, and the vehicles (up to 20, including 15 police versions) include the Pagani Zonda Cinque and "high-speed police interceptors like the Lamborghini Reventon." In addition to ramming and roadblocks, the police cars may be outfitted with weapons including spike strips and an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) lock to disable the fleeing felon's engine.

As for controls, while few sports cars have rectangular steering wheels, the size (and, actually, heft) of the TouchPad makes steering reasonably easy (although we wonder if driving gloves might help with grip). Acceleration can be automatic or manual, and tapping or swiping on the screen triggers various options (brakes, nitro boost, 180-degree turns and so on). The TouchPad's processor and accelerometer are more than a match for the game's requirements; we only noticed a tiny bit of stuttering during one of the cut scenes, but game play seemed seamless. (For now, though, we did not see a multiplayer option, either via WiFi or the Internet, as exists in the iOS version of the game.)

If you're a driving game afficionado, NFS: Hot Pursuit seems like it will be a good addition to your new TouchPad. Happy speeding!

(More screenshots below the jump)


Need for Speed™ Hot Pursui