Rage HD review: iPhone 4 and iPad edition

As countless developers, competitors and The Steve himself keep telling us, iOS is a serious gaming platform. With thousands of titles available and large sums of money trading hands, it’s up to developers to step up and harness the power held in literally millions of pockets. Enter idSoftware with Rage HD – a rail shooter for the iPhone, with graphics that inspire hyperbole.


A brainchild of John Carmack, who you might know from Wolfenstein 3D, Doom or Quake (although I know him from Commander Keen, because I am old), Rage HD is like an extended advert for Rage FPS on the PC. An extended advert that you pay to view. And yet it still manages to be excellent. Played on an iPhone 4 (or iPad) the graphics are ridiculously good, and it’s pretty easy to forget you are on a smartphone. Although saying that I did keep stopping every 5 minutes to exclaim, “Good Lord I’m playing on a smartphone.”

Rage HD is a rails-based shooter, so you don’t actively run around shooting so much as get carted to the next location to shoot at monsters and such – much like the old arcade version of Time Crisis… remember those… anyone … (old man mumble).

The rails system simplifies gameplay and overcomes one of the obvious weaknesses of gaming on phones – a lack of buttons, leaving you to focus on aiming and shooting via the accelerometer and gyroscope. I’m not sure if the game engine is a little too fast, or my monster shooting skills are a little wack, but I found it hard to grab all the bonus items or targets in between shooting areas. Gameplay is a little on the shortside, but for a pick up and play game with jaw-dropping graphics it’s hard to fault the £1.19 or so it costs. The SD version costs a little less but you’d be doing yourself a disservice.

What I’d love to see is an update that enables iPad control via the iPhone – ala Big Bucket Software’s the Incident.