Some games reach a level of excellence that changing them in any way, as usually happens with a sequel, can result in a lesser game. The same can be said when converting a game for another platform, especially if the new platform does not have the capabilities of the old. So many times I have picked up a game for a handheld that I already have on a home console, only to be disappointed.
However, sometimes something strange happens and the reworked game offers an experience that was perhaps expected of the original. Mirror’s Edge for the iPad has taken this route, offering a gaming experience that far outweighs the original console version.
This is in part because of the flaws that could be found in the console version. I personally quite enjoyed the game, but it never seemed fluid enough for it’s subject matter, and the combat just totally threw any momentum that had been built up.
Here perhaps is the keyword – Momentum. Mirror’s Edge on the iPad is, at its most basic, a side-scrolling platformer. This has basically simplified everything, allowing the player to build and maintain a blisteringly fast momentum as they run,leap and slide from left to right. Had EA gone down the obvious route and included an on-screen joystick and action button, we could be talking about another platform jumping failure. But instead, the controls are simplicity itself. Run left by swiping left, right by swiping right, jump by swiping up and, you guessed it, swipe down to duck/slide. That is pretty much all that you need to know.
The levels, of which there are 14, are strewn with objects/scenery which is highlighted, telling the player that these items can be interacted with or avoided. This is all done generally whilst running at full pelt towards said items. Stopping to think is not an option in this game, as the momentum (there’s that word again) may well be needed to succeed in any given maneuver. This gives the player a real sense of awe as some truly amazing feats are pulled off, almost as if by instinct.
Combat has also made its way into this version of the game, although in a much simpler package. No weapons this time, it is just a simple hit and run. Pull off a move and take down the guard, and then keep going on your way. Almost no momentum lost at all. That being said, with teh slow motion that kicks in, it does spoil the flow a little and I would be quite happy to just drop the combat altogether.
Anyway, the story revolves around a free running courier named Faith and her quest to bring down the evil government, or some such. The story really does not add much to an already great game. The main story will only take a matter of a few hours to complete, but the fun does not stop there. Throughout each of the levels are packages that can be found. The player can go back to each level and try to collect all of the packages for completions sake. Then there are the speed runs.
Each of the levels has a time limit with up to a three star rating. The player simply flies through the level as fast as possible in an attempt to obtain a three star time, which is incredibly difficult. These speeds are then uploaded to a global leaderboard for comparison with buddies and complete strangers. Healthy competition is always welcome.
But the competition is not limited to an online leaderbaord. The devs have only gone and managed to fit in a couple of multiplayer modes aswell. Using the same iPad in a split screen fashion, players are able to participate in a simple race from A to B. The other mode offers players a chance to run around and gather items until the time runs out. winner is the player with the most items. Both of these modes encourage the use of attacks, either to slow up the opposition or steal their collected items. Devious.
Were I to say that Mirror’s Edge for iPad looks and sounds incredible, would you be shocked. Well, it does. Playing on the large screened handheld, it is easy to appreciate the capabilities of the iPad and how much EA have put into making this game look so good. Bright, crisp graphics and game music that does not annoy combine to make this game one of the best so far.
And I say so far simply because the iPad is still in it’s infancy. If games can look, sound and play this well now, what will be possible in a couple of years time? Such is the evolution on any games platform. As the devs learn how to push the platform to it’s limits, the games get better. Mirror’s Edge for iPad is a launch title, so the future is certainly bright.
I could continue to gush about this game, but my point is that Mirror’s Edge for iPad is the first, in what I hope to be many, essential iPad games. It is not perfect, the combat could have been left out as it does spoil the flow a touch, the story is irrelevant and frankly it needs more levels. In many games these problems would have been a major issue. But everything else about the game is so good that these slight hiccups can easily be overlooked.
If you own an iPad, you need this game. If you don’t own an iPad, buy one simply to play this game. It really is rather good, in case you hadn’t worked that out.
Mirror’s Edge for iPad can be found on the App Store here for just Â£5.99