What is it? In a underwater facility in the near-future, scientists are studying what appears to be an alien life-form. The organism, known as the "Perfect Cell," grows at an unbelievably rapid rate, and is incredibly hostile towards everything surrounding it. You play as this cell, and your goal is to escape the facility in which you've been captured. By dragging or swiping anywhere on the screen, you guide the cell - a floating, jellyfish-type critter - through a lengthy adventure that's one part action-sidescroller, one part stealth game. Over the course of 35 meaty levels you'll zip through dangerous laser traps, bash in the skulls of armed guards, and learn a host of new powers.
Who made it? Perfect Cell was developed by Mobigame, the same people who brought you the often-in-legal-struggles puzzle game Edge.
Are there differences between the iPhone and iPad version? I greatly preferred the game on the iPad, largely because I no longer had to worry about obscuring half the on-screen action with my finger. The iPhone version is still entirely playable, but if you own both devices I'd recommend playing it on Apple's bigger iThingy.
What works? Perfect Cell has a cool visual style: all of the environments are full, polygonal 3D with a lot of depth, but the character models are highly-detailed 2D sprites. It looks great, and the events going on in the background actually tell a story about the underwater facility where you've been captured, which is a considerable bonus. Also neat: throughout the game you'll keep gaining new abilities, like splitting apart into multiple organisms, or a charged-up dash across the screen that wreaks destruction on any enemy you touch.
What doesn't work? I have only one complaint about Perfect Cell, but it's a significant one: controlling the game is at best clunky, and at worst downright frustrating. Some actions require you to put more than one finger on the screen at once to execute different sliding actions, which makes it difficult to see what's going on. You also have to move the floating organism over computer consoles to activate switches, and the lack of precision offered by the controls usually makes it hard to pull off.
What's the estimated shelf-life? Each of Perfect Cell's levels is substantial, so the fact that there are 35 of them makes this feel like a full-length retail game release. You're unlikely to go back to levels after you beat them the first time, but it's a roller coaster that's well worth riding at least once.
Is it worth the price of admission? Perfect Cell is priced at £2.99 at of the time of this writing, and that feels like the right price point. There's a lot of content here, with enough original ideas and mechanics thrown into the mix to make it well worth the money. You'll probably find yourself at odds with the controls, but we're hopeful this eminently fixable problem will be addressed in an update.
Next page: Our expert verdict