Like the beautiful Narcissus taken with his own image, EA Mobile has been caught up in the labour of love that is Mirror's Edge.
It's only a reproduction of the superb iPad version, however, and in longing for release on iPhone and iPod touch scant work has been done to advance the game's design.
Rather than seizing on lengthy delays to add content or introduce new features, Mirror's Edge has curiously been stripped down.
Sans multiplayer or unique features, Mirror's Edge on iPhone is just a reflection - albeit a captivating one - of its iPad predecessor.Old shoes, new streets
The story of runner Faith is the sole attraction here, and to be clear it's quite a draw. Part of an underground network of athletic couriers that race across rooftops and leap across alleyways, Faith finds herself caught up in political scandal and security crackdowns that can only be solved by doing what she does best.
Relaying vital information between key locations requires navigating the skyline with skill - in your case, well-timed swipes of the screen.
Slide a finger left or right across the screen and Faith starts running in the corresponding direction. A swipe up instructs her to jump, whereas down triggers a slide for quickly moving under obstacles.
Timing jumps and slides is important to prevent deadly falls, but it's also critical to reaching new areas and exploiting the local environment.
Billboards, for example, make excellent walls on which Faith can scurry with the right flick of a finger. Gun-toting security forces can be disarmed or knocked out with a kick to the face or fanciful punch.Short distance runner
Tight touch controls combined with interesting levels make Mirror's Edge a blast. The action is fast without being overwhelming, challenging without the difficulty ramping up too high, and stylish without trying too hard.
Its expertly polished gameplay lasts only so long, sadly. Mirror's Edge is over quickly than you know it, leaving you to tinker with leaderboards and Facebook Connect for ghost races and high scores.
The decision to omit the local multiplayer modes included with the iPad release is mind-boggling. While split-screen would obviously be unreasonable on the smaller iPhone and iPod touchscreen, reconfiguration for Bluetooth or local wireless connectivity could have compelling.
Given more than half a year of unexplained delays, it seems curious that the time wasn't used for retooling multiplayer or generating other new content.Downsize me
I'd prefer a superb short game to a mediocre long one, but that doesn't excuse the Mirror's Edge's limited value. Posting times online and racing against ghost data does entertain for a short while, but knowing that multiplayer is available in a different version takes the shine off. At least this gap is made up in the reduced price.
Mirror's Edge deserves all praise thrown its way - particularly for leveraging the high-resolution iPhone 4 screen for sharp visuals - and it's wholeheartedly recommended as a more sophisticated, satisfying evolution on the running phenomenon kick-started by Canabalt.
Had EA Mobile been more focused on embellishing this great game, perhaps this iPhone and iPod touch edition could have been more than just a simple reflection.