Perfect Cell, a stealth platformer/puzzler from Mobigame, is now available from the app store. Combining a clever backstory with elements from a bunch of different genres, Perfect Cell hits the right tone in creating a unique and wholly enjoyable offering.
Perfect Cell Pros:
- Great graphics, reminiscent of a comic or graphic novel
- Good use of sound effects
- Unique yet intuitive controls
- Addictive, stealth-based gameplay through puzzle-like atmosphere
- Clever AI offers good challenge
- GameCenter integration for leaderboards and achievements
Perfect Cell Cons:
- Generic storyline
- Some stickiness with controls
You take control of Cell Zero, a cell discovered inside of a meteorite found deep in the ocean. Noting your unique properties, including unbridled aggression and rapid evolution, you have been locked inside a secret submarine base well below the Earth’s surface. As you increase in size and become sentient, you decide to escape your captors by any means necessary. Using a combination of stealth and violent outbursts, you make your way through level after level, working your way through the labyrinth-like structures and destroying or sparing lives as you see fit. Each of the 35 levels contains open areas and small snake-like ducts through which you can pass. Barriers abound, which are activated and deactivated by hovering over a red light marker until it changes to green. Lasers and steam bursts act to injure you or push you in directions that you may not intend to travel.
Your health wanes as you are contacted by lasers or shot at by armed militants. If you can escape before your health meter depletes, you’ll automatically regenerate to full health. Otherwise, you will perish and need to retry the level. You have no weapons, though you do have special abilities to help you through your quest. If you hold still for more than a few seconds, you turn invisible and become undetectable to humans. You can split yourself into multiple organisms to activate dual markers or divide and conquer your enemies. You kill using a dash attack, inflicting blunt force trauma that can easily maim multiple enemies at once. Later, you’ll learn to program an attack, mapping out your path and unleashing your improbable fury on anything in your way.
Enemies become more difficult to subdue as you progress. You start out the game by attacking defenseless scientists who cower in corners when they spot you. Soon, you’ll encounter soldiers with machine guns and elite soldiers who can only be killed by attacking them from behind. Levels get more convoluted and complex and enemies are more plentiful. There are prisms to collect and achievements to earn. Your time through each level is recorded, as is the number of people you kill. You can choose to play the game with the goal of killing everyone, killing no one, or making the best time, giving you fun challenges to enjoy. Each level takes just a couple of minutes to complete, with the bite-sized fun making it that much easier to justify playing “just one more level.” It’s highly addictive and exciting to dispatch your enemies in various ways. We’ve seen some brutal attacks that result in decapitations and loss of limbs. Some soldiers have been bisected by barriers. We’ve even had funny kills where the person is left standing as if they were still alive, propped against a wall. It seems there is always something new just around the corner.
Graphically, we really enjoyed the look of the game. It has sort of a living comic book feel to it, with great background imagery, nice lighting and shading effects, and terrific animations, especially your movements. Your body looks like a purple octopus with only three arms that appear to be swimming through the air as you move. The soundtrack plays ethereal music over the menus, while stepping aside and serves to create tension, and does so well. The controls are gesture-based and work well for the most part. Tapping on a spot will “call” the cell to that spot. You can also drag your finger around the screen, which causes the cell to follow your movements. Your kill move requires a fast swipe, though this doesn’t always register properly. It is a minor complaint, but it can be frustrating when it doesn’t work as expected. This move is also useful for breaking through weak barriers like glass or blocked passageways. Pinching out will split you into two. Your special programmed move requires you to hold your finger on the cell until the screen pulls out, then draw a path for the cell to follow. Releasing your finger triggers the attack. We weren’t sure that we’d like them at first, but we adjusted quickly and feel that this method is very appropriate for the game style.
Replay value is pretty good, as you can always try to play any of the three ways we mentioned earlier. We anticipate playing through several times, as the game is just so much fun. GameCenter is used for global leaderboards and achievements. We have seen different aspects of Perfect Cell’s gameplay elements used in other iDevice games, but none combines them all the way Mobigame does, and with gobs of polish to boot. Perfect Cell is $5.99, which some might think is a bit on the high side, though we felt they were in the ball park, especially since it’s a universal app. For its unique controls, great use of stealth gaming, enjoyable kill scenarios, devious level design, and pick-up-and-play quality, Perfect Cell is worthy of our 5-Dimple seal of approval.
Perfect Cell Review,