Growing up on games like Doom and Quake, I have a soft spot for anything made by ID Software, so when I heard that a version of RAGE was coming out for the iOS, I had to boot up a copy of Quake on my PC in celebration. After realizing that I don’t belong anywhere near the online multiplayer I took my time enjoying the ghastly sights and sounds that often populate their single-player worlds. Playing the campaigns of Quake again after a few years really gets your blood pumping and is simply a thrill ride the whole way through. After a few rounds of RAGE, I felt the same excitement that I felt playing Quake. However, RAGE is not without its flaws.
RAGE for the iOS is a rail shooter within the post-apocalyptic world of the console & PC version of RAGE, on a TV show called “Mutant Bash TV”. Think of RAGE iOS as more of a side-story and teaser for the upcoming full game.
You play a participant who is sent into various locales to gun down mutants and get the highest score possible. This is accomplished by killing mutants as quickly as possible while hitting various targets strewn about the arenas. You are given three weapons; a pistol with infinite ammo, an AK-47 styled assault rifle, and a shotgun. Each of these guns feature the popular “Active Reload” mechanic, which was a very nice surprise. When reloading, you must tap the reload button a second time when the reload meter is near the white “sweet spot”. If you successfully do this, you will reload your weapon faster than normal, and also receive a double damage bonus to assist you in your goal of psychotic slaughter for cash.
The first thing that surprised me was how smooth the game runs. I was playing the game on an iPod Touch 2G and the game’s blazing frame rate didn’t seem to stutter at all, no matter how frantic the on-screen action became. That brings us to the graphics.
The video trailers that preceded the game’s launch looked like pre-rendered videos, but after seeing the game in action, I was floored. The graphics are simply astounding.
I think the biggest complaint the game will get is the fact that it is a rail shooter. People have been whining and complaining about how anything on rails is the first sign of the apocalypse. This time, however, it works. The combination of tilt controls to aim, and the paced rail-style of the gameplay really stand out as a surprisingly well-done control scheme rather than an annoying detraction. You can also choose touch controls instead, however they just didn’t feel as immersive to this reviewer as the tilt controls did. Again, the rail shooter style works since you can turn your head around in-game to see things well before they pass out of your view, so it feels ver freeing compared to past rail shooters. This, combined with the fact you just need to worry about shooting anything that moves rather than moving and shooting at the same time, makes the controls simply delightful.
RAGE is strikingly similar to The Club (Xbox 360) in gameplay where you annihilate enemies while running through levels to get the highest score possible. The Club had at least 10 stages, but RAGE currently only has 3. There has been no word on any additional stages being released, but if there are any, it will significantly increase the replayability that it currently is lacking to a point. There are no leaderboards or achievements so you will be competing against your own high score, which actually is a blast to do anyways.
RAGE only has 3 stages, which means the game can be completed easily in about 45 minutes or so, depending on the player. The game’s length (or lack thereof) is honestly one of the biggest issues keeping it from being the “best iOS shooter ever.” That said, the price of the game is perfect, at $0.99(USD) and hopefully they will launch an update or paid DLC to encourage people to come back and get the highest scores they can over and over again. I can see people uninstalling the game off their iDevices after a play through or two, especially since the non-HD game weighs in at 537 megabytes, and if they are anything like me, they don’t have a ton of room for games that big. (For comparison the HD version for the iPhone is 743 megabytes)
If you like playing shooters on your iOS or enjoy ID Software games in general and want a quick diversion, this is a definite must buy. You simply won’t find a more polished shooter on the app store, and hopefully it is a sign of what is to come from major developers in the future. I gave the game a “Great” 4-star rating due to its short duration. If it had another 4-6 levels or additional gameplay modes, I could see easily see this being a 5-star title.