Perfect Cell is the latest game from developer Mobigame, who are responsible for the outstanding Edge and Truckers Delight. Edge, in particular was an excellent release so Perfect Cell has a lot of work to do to keep Mobigames reputation as one of the best developers for Apple’s platforms.
In the game you play the titular Perfect Cell, out to escape from an underground submarine base. The most advanced life form yet discovered on Earth, you must first break out from where the scientists are performing experiments on you and make your way through the maze like underground base.
The action is presented from a side on perspective with the cell controlled by pointing in the direction you want it to go on the touch screen. The further away you touch, the faster the cell will move, and it is also possible to perform a dash move with a quick swipe of your finger to get around quickly or kill your enemies. The controls feel really smooth, with the cell floating around the levels in an ethereal and pleasing way, and the way the cell is animated really makes you feel like you are a silent killer on the prowl.
Killer you are, as you can dispatch scientists with ease, a quick dash will send them tumbling to their doom. Unfortunately, scientists are not the only company you have in the base, as there are many soldiers out to stop you, al armed with machine guns that will make short work of you if they get you in their sights. The basic goons can be killed as easily as the scientist, but more advanced foes, such as those with greater armour, must be either attacked from behind or avoided altogether. Some enemies cant be killed at all and therefore must be avoided at all costs.
There are also a multitude of traps to worry about, such as lasers, fans and gun turrets, all of which form the core of the games puzzles, many of which are very clever and multi layered, with you having to use skill and timing to beat them. Switches, lifts and doors are all intertwined with the traps and enemies to produce some very satisfying puzzles that will definitely have you scratching your head. Luckily, to help you get through all this, your cell has a few very cool tricks up it’s sleeve. When you have upgraded its power, the cell can eventually split into three parts, which is achieved by simply using your fingers to split the cell in two or three. This is great for helping with the puzzles. Holding your finger for a few seconds on the cell will allow you to draw a line that it will follow at super speed, allowing you to get past some traps and kill certain enemies. On the later levels you will be using all of these tricks to survive.
The best thing about the game is that there is quite often an element of choice in a lot of things that you do. For example a lot of the enemies can be avoided altogether by sneaking around and hiding, and even many of the puzzles have several different ways that they can be completed. The fact that there are bonuses for not killing anyone on a level helps to encourage players to try to find different ways to solve old problems. There are too few games where such an effort has gone into providing this amount of freedom, and it brings to mind the Hitman games, which also had a lot of choice involved in the levels.
The presentation is top notch, with great animation on the cell and excellent rag doll physics on the dead bodies, and everything runs really well with no hint of slowdown that i could find. There are plenty of levels to work through and they all have secrets to find in the shape of Prisms, and with Game Center achievements and leader boards there is plenty here to keep you coming back. A really nice touch is the stats screen that shows some nice details such as play time, kill count and bonuses awarded.
The thing that will truly keep you coming back long after you have finished the main story is the idea of completing the levels in a different way, trying to get them all done without killing anyone, which is something the well crafted levels are made for. It’s one of the best action games on iOS, and definitely one of the deepest, and another sign that Mobigame is maturing into a fine studio.
Well paced, classy and a fine example of game design.