Let’s get this out of the way, Rage HD is a beautiful game, the type of game you take home to mother. If that doesn’t do it justice then quite simply, Rage HD is easily the best-looking game yet seen on a mobile device, and it provides an excellent demonstration of just how far Apple’s hardware can go when placed in the able hands of a seasoned studio such as id Software. But, of course, we all know that graphics alone won’t cut the mustard — but let’s just say the mustard has been thoroughly diced.
Rage HD is an on-rails shooter, meaning you don’t actually control the movement of your character, you take aim with the iPhone’s accelerometer or gyroscope. And while the game won’t necessarily satisfy your hunger for its bigger brother (Rage for the PC and next-gen consoles is due out on October 4), think of it as a teaser for id’s upcoming sure-to-be first-person hit.
The story behind Rage HD isn’t anything profound or deep; strapped with ammo and battling hungry mutants for the pleasure of blood-thirsty viewers at home, you must survive this carnage-filled carnival ride. Think of it as a post-apocalyptic haunted house where you are a gun-slinging, cash-grabbing, bust-a-cap-in-a mutant’s face game show contestant. You get the gist of it.
Rage HD only consists of three levels, and while you could probably beat the game in less than 30 minutes, it offers hours of mindless fun and entertainment. Compare that with the PC version of the game, where you can race cars, take on side quests, and explore an altogether rich world, and you can see that it was a wise decision on id’s part not to try and replicate such an experience on a mobile device.
While experienced gamers may balk at the on-rail controls, they do handle superbly thanks to the iPhone’s hardware. You have multiple ways of controlling the on-screen mayhem, dodging mutant attacks and evading projectiles. One glaring issue with the controls stems from the camera movement. The camera will get stuck out of position and allow mutants to chomp at you. Often. It requires you to twist and torque yourself around to get a shot off, but this was a minor nuisance and doesn’t detract too much from the experience.
The button controls are laid out on the screen so effectively and intelligently. For instance, the icons are easy to understand and kept simplistic, but add depth with little touches like increased damage on active reloads, and the ability to dodge and run with a tap of an icon.
Even though the post-apocalyptic TV show story may seem tired and shallow, what Rage HD lacks in story it makes up for in un-adulterated fun, with a visceral experience unlike many others on the iPhone or iPad.
At $1.99, Rage HD doesn’t have to do much to sell itself. It’s cheap, has gorgeous graphics, and comes from the makers of Doom — and hey, it controls pretty well too. While Rage HD ends up being more an appetizer than a main course, like the mutants that inhabit its post apocalyptic world, it certainly gives gamers more than enough to chomp at until the full game is released on October 4.
(This game was reviewed on the Apple iPhone on a copy provided by id Software)