The problem with being the ultimate warrior or species is that there's always some small weakness. If every other attribute is so awesome, that weakness, however singular, becomes the point on which your enemies focus.
For Achilles it was his heel. For the predator, it was his honour. For the Death Star, it was that dammed exhaust port leading right into the reactor core.
In this context, the perfect cell of Mobigame's universal title isn't really perfect at all. It's got plenty of cool attributes, such as the ability to split into multiple parts and move at a fast speed, but it can eventually be killed by lasers and bullets.
You control the cell - a purple tentacled blob - which is generally more powerful than its surroundings, but there are enough dangers and puzzles that you can't just manoeuvre around the place without caution.Who's the daddy?
This dilemma is stamped on the entire game, even to the extent of making Perfect Cell hard to define.
At its most basic level, it's a speed run in which you have to get through each of the 35 levels as quickly as possible. Your total play time is recorded and going back to improve each level's countdown provides plenty of replay value.
Yet there's the difficult question of the humans who have trapped your floaty alien form in an undersea research laboratory. Starting off in the company of white-coated scientists, they are quickly replaced with various forms of armoured soldier.
At the end of each level, you're told how many you've killed and the manner - for example, how many you've taken out in a single dash - is backed up by Game Center achievements. You never have to kill anyone, though: the game also keep note of how many levels you've done without shedding blood.Charnal house
Of course, this being a game, the inherent influence is always to destroy. The death animations and the animations that depict body chunks flying through the air, remaining where they fall in the scenery, make violence by far the most exciting option.
In many ways, while Perfect Cell is an impressive game - perhaps Mobigame's best to-date - its ambiguity is somewhat unsettling.
As with the gameplay, which has you killing and/or avoiding enemies, moving through tunnels and pipes, activating lifts and machinery, and timing your movements around the dynamic lasers that can block and kill, finishing a level and moving onto the next never quite feels satisfying.From flick to draw
This unsettling ambiguity is also evident the direct control you have over your cell. For the first two sets of levels, you flick it around rather imprecisely. You're able to generate enough velocity to slice up troops and break certain concrete and glass blocks.
On the third set, however, you gain the ability to draw a direct line through part of the level. The cell follows this path at great speed - fantastic for avoiding lasers and dicing soldiers in balletic spirals of movement. Only the most heavily armoured soldiers remain invulnerable.
But with such great power comes great responsibility. Suddenly levels become easy to complete and, even though the difficulty steadily ramps up again, it's as if Perfect Cell is one-and-a-half-games-in-one. Combined with its hybrid goals, it's slightly unsure what it really wants to be - speed run, puzzler, or bloody action game.
Like most hybrids, it's not brilliant at any single thing - the levels are too long and complex for speed, the puzzles too generic, and the action a tad one-dimensional.
Still, maybe that's psycho-analysing the game too deeply. It's certainly one of the most interesting and well-presented experiences on iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. I just have a sneaking suspicion with a bit of additional thought and editing, it had the potential to be one of the best ever.
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