All the way back in the middle of December of last year we first got our hands on EA's Mirror's Edge [$4.99] for the iPhone, but it came without any solid release date. Mirror's Edge then disappeared until the iPad launch when Mirror's Edge for iPad [$9.99] popped up once again. Back then, we figured the iPhone release was immanent, but once again, it never came. Tonight is finally the night, and after spending quite a bit of time with the game today, it seems remarkably similar to the iPad version, downsized to the iPhone. In fact, it's so similar to our preview from last year that everything I said back then is still relevant.
The world of Mirror's Edge is set in the future, where a totalitarian regime is in power and an underground resistance powered by runners move information around on foot to avoid to watchful eye of the government which have implemented intense levels of surveillance across all communication mediums. You play as Faith, one of these runners.
The game is controlled using very simple swiping gestures that all feel very natural. Swiping right or left makes you run in that direction, swiping up makes you jump, and swiping down makes you slide. When you run across opposition, you can also use similar gestures to take them out with a variety of moves such as sweeping their legs out from under them or jump kicking them. There are many other interactions with different obstacles you come across, like jumping off spring boards, sliding down zip lines, and wall-running across billboards.
All of these things can be seen in the following gameplay video:
If you are like me and enjoyed the idea behind the console version of Mirror's Edge, but didn't really like the first person viewpoint and all the issues that caused in a platforming environment, you will love the iPhone version of the game. All of the visibility problems are gone thanks to the 3rd person view, and the game as a whole has been transformed in to a fun reaction game instead of an often frustrating and sometimes motion-sickness inducing first person experience.
New additions to Mirror's Edge since last year include new leaderboards that track your time through every level along with a whole heap of achievements to soak up and artwork to unlock. The whole game is optimized for the Retina Display of the iPhone 4, and looks really great in motion. This doesn't mean it won't run well on older devices, as forum members are reporting that Mirror's Edge even runs just fine on the first generation iPod touch.
Mirror's Edge is an effortless recommendation, and while I'm not sure waiting all this time has made the game any better, I'm glad it's finally here. Sure, there have been tons of running games in the past year but Mirror's Edge still is able to stand on its own, even after all this time. Playing through the game is a really cool experience, the controls work well, and just like the iPad game EA did a fantastic job of nailing the look and feel of the Mirror's Edge universe.