iPhone Review: Mirror’s Edge

Written by Joe Martin

September 19, 2010 | 08:33

Tags: #ipad #ipad-review #iphone #iphone-review #ipod-touch #mirrors-edge #platformer

Companies: #apple #electronic-arts

I played and previewed Mirror’s Edge on the iPhone ages ago, but for some reason it was an iPad exclusive for ages after that. It’s only just been released on the iPhone recently and, interestingly, while the iPhone version is exactly the same as the iPad one, it also manages to be a better game. I’ve played Mirror’s Edge on both platforms and it’s the smaller of the two which is best.

It’s mainly because of the type of game that Mirror’s Edge is. Like Super Quick Hook it’s a fast-paced racer with exploration elements as you search for secrets and new paths through the levels. The levels are short and slick, flying by in a matter of minutes. It’s a game for filling train journeys, not for keeping your hands busy while you watch TV.

It’s an important and often glossed-over distinction, I think. The iPad is great good for laying on your lap and playing slow games that don’t require constant attention. The iPhone is useful for when you need something to fill the uncomfortable silence in a moving lift full of strangers. The iPad is for Scrabble; the iPhone for Hook Champ and Mirror’s Edge.
iPhone Review: Mirror’s Edge
Click to enlarge

Mirror’s Edge on the iPhone is, in some ways, a really great game. It’s fun, fast and the graphics are really nice. Your actual interactions are fairly limited – swipe up to jump or do a flying kick, down to slide – but they work very will within the context of the adventure. Mirror’s Edge proper had streamlined controls too but that was still a great game thanks to the speed and style that EA created. The iPhone version is much the same in that regard.

Unfortunately, the iPhone game shares many of Big Sister’s faults too. The storyline, which is told through drifting text at load screens, is virtually nonexistent and the action can quickly become repetitive once you’ve mastered the basics. It can be hard to get the timing of your jumps right to start with, but once you’ve done it a few times then there’s very little challenge left.

There are recurring glitches too – an errant up-swipe can allow Faith to do flying kicks over entire buildings if you time it right. That said, that ‘bug’ can be handy when you inevitably reach a dead end and aren’t sure how to progress. It’s saved my pocket-sized bacon more than a few times.

iPhone Review: Mirror’s Edge
Click to enlarge

What salvages the overall experience in the end is the litter of side-content that exists to entice you back – speed runs and high score tables beckon once you’ve finished the very brief campaign. There are achievements and collectibles to go back for, wallpapers to unlock and new routes to discover. Mirror’s Edge is no Super Quick Hook, which still remains the iPhone benchmark for platform/exploration games, but it’s still a lot of fun.

Verdict: Very much suited to quick play sessions, Mirror’s Edge is a fun and good-looking title which, though it struggles in places, is still worth a look. Not an essential purchase, but worth a punt.

Mirror's Edge is available on the AppStore for £2.99 / $3.99
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