Run, run, as fast as you can. You can’t catch me, I’m a futuristic courier.
Mirror’s Edge, from EA, for the iPhone has the player running from left to right through the sterile rooftops of a futuristic city. The main objective is to complete each level as fast as possible and this will involve avoiding obstacles in order to maintain a decent pace. At it’s most basic, that is what the game is about.
Of course there is a story, but that somehow feels unimportant compared with the need to run. Controls are simplicity itself – put your finger on teh screen and sweep left to start running left, sweep right to start running right. Along the way, the hero will encounter obstacles that, unless negotiated properly, will cause the hero to loose speed or stop. These obstacles, and other scenery that can be interacted with, will be coloured red and show up easily in the clean, colourless setting. To jump over obstacles, swipe up, and to slide under them, swipe down. These are pretty much all the controls needed and can be combined or used in context to perform other required actions.
The first couple of levels will be a simple ballet across the rooftops, but then things get more complicated with the inclusion of enemy combatants who will try to shoot you and slow you down. Dealing with these guys is again a simple use of teh swiping controls, enabling flying kicks or knocking their legs out from beneath them. These actions trigger a slow motion sequence which, unlike the iPad version, don’t seem to interrupt the flow of the game quite so much. I am not sure why this is the case, maybe it’s the smaller screen.
Whilst we are making comparisons, it stands to reason that the iPad version is much better looking. But the reality is that on the iPhone this game still looks stunning. Whats more, playing the game on the smaller screen doesn’t seem to harm the gameplay at all, which was my major concern. So far as the content goes, the multiplayer modes that were available on the iPad version have been dropped, but that is a small sacrifice.
With all of it’s simple controls, stunning graphics and sounds, and well thought out levels with a smooth difficulty curve, Mirror’s Edge on the iPhone is off to a running start. But then it hits the wall and comes to a grinding halt. Why? because you finish the game. Don’t get me wrong, the challenge is there so the game is no walk in the park. It is quite simply that the game is very short, too short in fact. The speed runs are still available for the player to try and increase their times for the leaderboards. But the player is left wanting more of the main game.
Mind you, even though the game is incredibly short, the experience itself is one that will stay with you for a long time. The level of polish in this game will leave you enthusiastic for the future of iPhone gaming, whilst making you look at other current iPhone games with a disapproving glare. It may only be a small game, but they say that good things come in small packages, don’t they?
Mirror’s Edge on iPhone, from EA, is available on the App Store for just Â£2.99