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Mirror’s Edge for iPhone Review
Review Score:

Mirror’s Edge, EA’s highly-anticipated and extra long-awaited parkour-style platformer, is finally available from the app store for use on your iPhone/iPod. Featuring intuitive swipe controls, elaborate level design, and non-stop action, Mirror’s Edge was well worth the wait.

Mirror’s Edge Pros:

  • Stunning urban settings
  • Great soundtrack
  • Intuitive swipe gesture controls
  • Non-stop action with acrobatic maneuvers
  • Speed Run mode with global leaderboards

Mirror’s Edge Cons:

  • Weak storyline that doesn’t impact the game
  • Campaign length is fairly short

For those unfamiliar with the game, you play as Faith Connors, a “runner” who attempts to circumvent the watchful eye of Big Brother’s perfect regime that puts the kibosh on individualism and the pursuit of truth. With all communications channels controlled by the powers that be, runners like Faith must move information on foot while avoiding the government agents bent on squashing the resistance movement. Fourteen levels of adrenaline-pumping gameplay await, with the first couple acting as interactive tutorials to familiarize the player with the various control gestures. Most of the action takes place upon rooftops high above the city, as Faith must make it to her destination without succumbing to the countermeasures of the government.

Swiping left or right will make Faith run in either direction, while an opposite-direction swipe will cause her to reverse direction and a screen tap will stop here dead in her tracks. Swiping up allows Faith to jump over objects, and multiple up swipes result in wall jumps, wall runs, and the like. A down swipe causes Faith to slide under objects, drop down through passages, roll upon landing a lengthy jump, and more. When faced with attackers, left and right swipes can disarm assailants, while flying attacks and leg-sweeping takedowns are possible by coupling these maneuvers with up or down swipes. You’ll need to negotiate ramps, platforms, zip lines, poles, and other structure-based objects if you are to make safe passage across the city. Objects that you can interact with (jump over, slide under, swing from, run upon, etc.) will glow red, which also serves to indicate that you are heading in the right direction to reach your goal. Occasionally, you’ll encounter areas where it is not clear how to proceed, but some exploration of your surroundings and a little perseverance should set you back on the right track. Checkpoints prevent you from having to start over from the beginning if, and when, you take too much damage from hard falls and gunfire. The accelerometer is used for balancing purposes when on the zip line, sliding down a ramp, or crossing a balance beam. Maintaining your momentum is often the key difference between living to run another day and hanging up your sneakers permanently.

The graphics are pretty stunning, and retina display optimization should make everything even more crisp and appealing. Switching from the console’s first-person viewpoint to the third-person perspective was a welcome change that feels like the right choice for the mobile platform. The backgrounds vary greatly, depending upon location and time of day, which is a great touch. The soundtrack is terrific, with a haunting melody that plays over the menus and a mix of atmospheric tunes and fast-paced rock tracks while you’re scaling walls and barrel-rolling through bad guys. You can also access your music library to listen to your own songs as you race through the city. Various sound effects that help to create the highly-immersive atmosphere include Faith’s breathless pants, her heavy footfalls, gunfire, birds flapping, and more. The presentation is wonderful and, despite its fairly linear progression, you will find areas where you can shave some time off of your trek. There are also messenger bags spread throughout each level for Faith to collect if she can seek them out.

The game won’t take a tremendous amount of time to play, but going back to find shortcuts, discover all of the messenger bags, or just enjoy all of the exciting acrobatic maneuvers gives Mirror’s Edge a good deal of replay value. A bonus Speed Run mode allows you to race through each level in an attempt to best the listed target times, which are accompanied by star ratings. There are global leaderboards to compare your level time against others, as well as achievements (or badges) to enhance the experience. For $4.99, the iPhone/iPod version can be had for half of the iPad version. It’s a great deal for a well-known franchise’s 4.5-Dimple offering.

Mirror's Edge for iPhone Review, reviewed by Kevin on 2010-09-04T02:50:20+00:00 rating 4.5 out of 5

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