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Summaryawkward controls vs. hidden packages
The GoodGetting through the levels is only the beginning and takes less than four hours. The real gameplay lies in finding and acquiring the various hidden packages. Most of the time, you can find these just by exploring the different paths. Note that I said "find", not "get". Yes, you can see many packages easily but it will often take you a lot more time to figure out how to actually get them. And the real challenge is that you have to get to a save point to store your progress. If you successfully get a package, and die before you can get to a save point, you lose that package. This design decision forces you to employ good strategy.
Trying to get the packages is where most of the fun is at, and is what kept me playing and playing.
Also, also, there is good music. Not great, but decent enough to make you wanna play it just for the music. Forget about the song during the menu, you will hear the full song when you play through the last level. The different levels feature different genres of music (techno, ambient, etc.), all of which are appropriate and well-produced.
The BadThere is also a speedrun mode. You have to complete the level quickly to earn stars. This mode is quite unbalanced. In some levels you can make amateur mistakes and still get three stars, while in other levels it's very difficult to get three stars. (The same problem is present in another iPhone side-scrolling game, Mikey Shorts.) I don't like this at all.
Unfortunately that is the least of this game's flaws. Other flaws in Mirror's Edge makes it almost unplayable. First it's the controls. Very, very awkward controls. The character doesn't move like you expect her to. She just doesn't.
And there are the enemies. Enemies will attack you and here's the key: you can attack some of them, and eliminate them as threats, but 70% of these enemies are the "government", the "police" and the "men behind the curtain" -- you can't touch them, but they can touch you. They will kill you quite easily. It's certainly realistic, since you are, after all, bare-handed and they have guns. It's especially realistic since you are nobody and they're federal agents.