There's an adage that states the prettiest girl always stays home on the night of the senior prom.
You'd think because she's the most beautiful girl in school that everyone would be tripping over themselves to ask her out. Instead, her beauty intimidates and nobody is willing to ask that tough question.
So, while it's easy to be dazed by the undeniably mind-blowing graphics - unequivocally the best to date on iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad - there are also important questions to ask of RAGE.
Questions regarding gameplay, involving controls, and most certainly questions pertaining to leaderboards and other options.
The answers won't discourage you from buying this sharp-looking title, but they should serve to lower your expectations for what at launch is, despite its glossy exterior, a basic game.
You're a contestant on a post-apocalyptic reality show, cast for three episodes of on-rails shooting action. The game automatically moves you from scene to bloody scene, while you move crosshairs to shoot at mutants that attack. A small arsenal of three weapons - pistol, shotgun, and machine gun - is at your disposal.
Kills earn you Bash Bux, in-game cash that can't be used to buy anything, but serves as an analogue for points. Hitting circular targets nets you additional Bash Bux, as does grabbing bags of cash scattered about each level. There are helpful health packs and ammunition boxes for resupplying your shotgun and machine gun too.
Smile for the camera
Simplicity is among the game's strengths, but also its undoing.
RAGE succeeds in its goal of being a quick-fire light gun arcade game, yet it fails to incorporate features expected of current iPhone and iPad releases. These missing elements combined with minor control issues take the shine of the package.
Although you're confined to a set path in each of the game's gorgeously rendered levels, you're granted the ability to pan the camera in addition to moving the weapon crosshairs. While this succeeds in heightening immersion, it also results in jerky movement. RAGE exhibits more disruptive camera snaps than a fixed-perspective shooter.
More annoying is the lack of a melee attack. There is a dodge option, but it's common to be harassed by several mutants up close and have to reload your weapons without any means of defending yourself. A pistol whip move would have sufficed.
Still, it's easy to overlook the control quirks given the strength of the action. RAGE doesn't do anything that hasn't been done before in the world of on-rails shooters, of course, yet it delivers fun, fast-paced action. This is a high quality game designed to fill a quick minute and it does so brilliantly.
Yet the absence of basic features in such a carefully conceived experience is truly curious.
Considering its high score replayability, RAGE comes without leaderboards, or Game Center. Standard control options are missing; you're unable to adjust the position of virtual buttons, although switching between tilt and touch configurations changes their placement.
None of these omissions individually or together makes the game unplayable, though they do illustrate that graphics don't equal gameplay. RAGE is a stunning visual experience to be enjoyed with tempered expectations, and the hope that more functionality will come in future updates.
Want more? Check out our growing collection of RAGE (a.k.a. Mutant Bash TV) articles!