Early impressions of Rage: Mutant Bash TV and the future of iPhone raging

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Yesterday saw the release of id Software’s mini version of its post-apocalyptic shooter, Rage: Mutant Bash TV, on the App Store. I say mini because the experience you’ll receive maybe incredibly grand in the visual department but is and was always meant to be a taster of next year’s FPS. And boy did it taste good. I managed to pull myself away from the likes of Fable III to give Rage a chunk of my leisure time which, inevitably, spilled over into my working time and is now staring at me while I write this, tempting me back in.

The start of Rage has you choosing from one of three levels, or seasons as they’re called, because the game is set around some twisted TV show where contestants work their way through arenas laying waste to tooled-up mutants. Much like modern day rail shooters, the movement is all done for you but there is control over the camera allowing for precision aiming. And it works. Surprisingly well in fact but only after a couple of goes I might add and after I turned off the frustrating tilt-aiming option. Something about rotating my iPhone as if it were one of those ball-bearing toys found in crackers that just doesn’t mean fun to me. But sliding my finger to move the cross-hair and tapping a button to shoot began to feel effortless and clearly to method to use.

I’m really enjoying Rage on the iPhone with its stunning graphics and shooting gallery gameplay though I hear it may be only around 30 minutes long. Clearing levels unlocks newer ones but I found that replaying older levels had the enemies spawn in the same locations so going through them all again, unless you up the difficulty, could get tiring. There are bullseye targets dotted about so hunting them all down is another option for longevity. I must admit, shooting them was almost as satisfying as doing so to a violent mutant . So far Rage is so very good and dirt cheap too.

What next then? What does the iconic John Carmack do from here with iDevices? He’s already proved the previously untapped power they posses and wants to continue just that. Speaking with Joystiq he revealed plans for a game using the driving aspect of big brother Rage: “I think we have a really good idea of what we can do in this format, and I’m really excited about getting onto the next game, getting onto what we can do with another slice of Rage. Taking some of the wasteland material and having riding along in the dune buggies, jumping over ravines, that kind of stuff. There’s more graphics stuff that we can bring in and add yet another level of improvement and polish to the visuals.” Greater visual improvements? This man wants it all doesn’t he?! Hopefully, this next game will arrive early next year before the console and PC version of Rage is out.

But that’s not all, Carmack continued with more id franchises that could receive an iDevice port: “I would like to do a Quake Live derivative for iOS, maybe focusing on the lightning gun, and call it ‘Lightning Arena’ or something, that would be a full roam-around FPS game. I may yet push for that, because I’ve got things I want to try there, both from a networking technology standpoint and what we could pull out of that, but I just don’t know when the hell I’m going to find time for all of this.” Fingers crosses that he does find the time because all of the above sounds awesome!

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