This is a verified system seller. At least for me. When EA announced that the next Mirror's Edge would be released on iPhone I had to face the fact that I had to buy one of these Apple gadgets in a near future. A 2.5 dimensional platformer with Faith as the main character sounded like the perfect portable game. Unfortunately it was first released exclusively on iPad so it's not until now that iPhone and iPod Touch owners have gotten the please of getting acquainted with Digital Illusions' lovely rooftop runner.
It starts of well, with the same elegant and cleanly designed menus and Lisa Miskovsky's theme song "Still Alive". I quickly jump into the adventure and fittingly land on a roof. Seeing Faith from a third person perspective is obviously a major difference, but the basics are still the same: run as fast as you can, and don't stop for a second if you can avoid it.
The most crucial part of an iPhone game are the controls. It's just not good enough to place a virtual d-pad in one corner and buttons in the other one. The solution in Mirror's Edge is to only make use of swipes anywhere on the screen. Swipe your finger to the right and Faith runs in that direction, upwards and she jumps, downwards and she slides on the ground, right during a jump and she kicks, and so on. After a brief learning process it works excellently and becomes intuitive and comparable to the controls of the console game.
The journey takes us through rather similar looking environments. White roofs decorated with one or two signs or cranes, indoor environments mostly made up of tunnels and elevator shafts, and the odd underground pumping facilities. While its locations I recognise from the console game, the grand scenarios are absent. In total there are twelve levels, and paired with the speed run challenges they last a while. The fact that the levels are so similar makes it harder to memorise them in detail in order to shave seconds of your best runs, but then again we are talking about a game that's rather cheap.
There are no cutscenes at all, and some may say that's not a bad thing. Instead we are given news bulletins with text in between levels, much like the screens in the elevators of the console title. You can make out that the game takes place prior to the first game, as several of the background characters are still alive, but this isn't something you really have to pay attention to.
I like Mirror's Edge on iPhone. The game is just perfectly adapted to the format as the levels are short and easy to play, even if it's not as forgiving at times when steam limits Faith's options. Even if it's not always clear which way to go, you can usually solve problems in several ways, and perhaps pick up an extra bag along the way. I also appreciate the fact that you defeat enemies with sliding tackles or kicks. The times when Faith picked up an assualt rifle or a sniper rifle in the console game felt a bit out of character.
What I possibly would like to have seen was a bit more varied environments and situations, but given the budget and price it's a little too much to ask for. It's a nice platforming game for all iPhone owners and a must for Mirror's Edge fans. If we're not getting a proper sequel I wouldn't mind a slightly more elaborate version of this on PSP or Nintendo 3DS.