iPhone gaming has been much maligned in recent times and even as someone who is on their second iPhone and second year of iPhone gaming, I can see why.
Traditional games have been shoe horned into the app store with a little on screen joystick and a couple of buttons. Just what you need, even if you have the most feminine of hands, is to cover up half the screen. Some genres have been well suited to a straight port, just look at Phoenix Wright or Monkey Island, but sometimes the extra effort is needed to make a console game, a touchscreen phone game.
How not to do it. Sorry Sonic
Enter Mirror's Edge. Gone is the first person parkour and it's been replaced with a side-scrolling, er, parkour. As a huge fan of the original PS3/X360 version, what struck me is how well the atmosphere has transferred over, from the music all the way to the art style. It's a beautiful game, not as beautiful as the Epic Citadel demo or the Rage engine demo, but more than competent as a 2.5D side-scroller.
Gameplay-wise, it's fast, hectic and adrenaline filled, so a game with those type of credentials live and die on their controls and trust me, controlling Faith is a breeze and fun.
Running is simple. Swipe left or right and Faith will begin running in that direction, gaining speed automatically.
A quick swipe up makes Faith jump, which can be modified. If you've just climbed a box, swiping up immediately after makes for a large jump. Swiping up near a billboard starts a wall run and you can still swing off rails too. It sounds annoying, but due to the level design, it works excellently in practice.
A swipe in the direction you're running in mid-air also provides a nice, swift kick to the face. Handy for those douchebags who just want to bring you down.
A quick swipe down lets you slide under obstacles or into enemies. Swiping up again while sliding brings Faith to her feet to continue running.Swiping down in mid-air also allows you to roll when you land, stopping big falls from damaging yourself.
The only real use of the accelerometer comes from sliding down platforms or zipwires and in the balance beams. If you fail, it's no big deal as it will only slow you down slightly. It won't be death, it will just kill you speed run time.
It is a professional package, which is what you'd expect from EA, with Facebook challenge functionality and leaderboards as well as speed runs and hidden bags to pick up throughout the levels. It's a good few hour blast in the main game and has a different story to the console versions (Although calling it a "story" would be harsh to any game that has a story. All I know is, there's a gang leader.). If you don't find this game worth 3 English pounds then you are a communist, plain and simple.
The controls are the star of the show and that's not something I thought I would ever say about an iPhone game. But I'm really hoping that we're not "hanging on" for long for another well-controlled slick action game.
I'll kill myself now for that.
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