Mirrors Edge Review (iPhone)

Game Review: Mirrors Edge
Release: August 25th, 2010
Genre: Action/Platform
Developer: EA
Available Platforms: iPhone
Players: 1
MSRP: 4.99
ESRB Rating: 9+

I was one of a few in a small crowd of people who ended up forming the cult following for Mirrors Edge when it was released for consoles back in 2008. I loved it. I thought it was very original, had a great style, and solid game-play. Years later now, we’ve seen it released into the handheld market, and this time for the iPhone 4 complete with Retina Display support. I should note that it is available for the other iDevices (iPad included) but I decided to take a look at the iPhone 4 version.

While the game manages to transfer everything from the style, music, visuals, as well as the characters and story from the original Xbox/PS3 version, it does take the game-play in a brand new direction. It took me a very long time to take the plunge to buy Mirrors Edge. I skipped it the first time it came out, then again for the iPad, and finally gave in for the iPhone 4 version. Why? Because from what I saw it left the game-play formula that I loved so much completely behind. The iPhone 4 version is a side-scrolling action-platformer where all you control is Faith’s movements. So basically, she runs for you. That automatically turned me off for such a long time, but after getting my hands on it, I regret waiting this long. Surprisingly, it works very well, and does not feel like you’re missing out on any of the fun despite not controlling the character. As an added bonus, the controls work perfectly, which is something I rarely get to say for App Store games.

A simple swipe of the finger starts the character running in either left or right directions. Once she gets going it’s up to you to swipe up to jump, down to slide, or a few other maneuvers to attack, swing, wall jump and more. Despite the limited movements you’ll be doing, EA does a great job at keeping the action fresh, new and exciting. I was very impressed at the feeling I was able to get while playing this game when doing a perfect run, then jump kicking an enemy (complete with slow motion effects), and slide down the side of a building as a helicopter shoots at me. I was also very impressed at how much of the original game was kept in tact for this iPhone 4 version. The same visual style, music, and everything else that made the original cool is found in this portable version.

I only have a few minor gripes about the game, two should come at no surprise for iPhone gamers. First, the price is a little high for what you get. Which leads into my second gripe: it’s short. I would have no problem with the 4.99 price tag if it was just a bit longer. I could see the formula getting a little stale perhaps, but by the time I was finished I was still wanting more. They do provide some speed runs and competitive leader boards, but I would have liked to see a bit more out of the story portion. Lastly, I remember the story being sort of tucked to the side (while interesting) in the original, this one is even more of an afterthought. The only story you will find is scrolling text during load screens which only take a few seconds before being able to bypass them, which I found myself doing even though I’m a huge fan of the world that EA and DICE have created; I just wanted to get back into the action.

Mirrors Edge for the iPhone 4 is a very solid experience overall. The visuals look crisp thanks to the Retina Display (except for the poor character models), the game controls extremely well making for an exciting game-play experience, and the soundtrack – like the original – is well crafted. The only thing hampering this tight package is the main story’s length, for the price that you pay for the App. Those looking for anything to prolong the experience however aside from the main campaign will be delighted to see achievements, and unlockables such as wallpapers for your phone which I thought was a cool idea. I’d say if you’re a fan or not of Mirrors Edge, and don’t mind the price tag, you will be in for a great experience – but a short one.

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