I've played the entire Assassin's Creed Mirage demo on iPhone 15 Pro Max — Here's why I'm not buying it, and you shouldn't either (even at half price)

Pips and Pixels Assassin's Creed Mirage
(Image credit: Future)
Pips and Pixels

Pips and Pixels Boxout

(Image credit: Future)

Pips and Pixels is a column from James Bentley, iMore's resident gaming expert, discussing all things gaming in the Apple ecosystem. Pips and Pixels explores the latest news, accessories, and titles you might have missed out on, and brings you commentary from the leading developers in the app market. As recent advancements in the Apple Silicon M processors and the brand new A17 Bionic chip show, Apple is becoming more serious about gaming. James looks to the rest of the games industry to see what could be next for Apple gamers.

Assassin’s Creed Mirage is finally here!

After first being announced at the iPhone 15 event last year, and being hailed as one of the great experiences for the best iPhone’s A17 Pro chip, it had a lot riding on it. Now that I’ve had time to finish the playable demo and go through the first section of the game, I can confirm that it’s not a horrible port. However, it is inconsistent and expensive enough so as not to tempt me away from just sitting down and playing Mirage on a console instead, and I certainly don’t think it’s worth any of your hard-earned cash right now, 50% introductory discount or not. 

Below, I’ll go over my full thoughts on the game’s performance, and what I see as the intended market for such a huge experience, as well as going over this week’s biggest releases. 

Read on for the rundown.

Is Mirage a mirage?

Assassin's Creed Mirage on iPhone

(Image credit: Future)

Assassin’s Creed Mirage is a bit of a beautiful mess on my iPhone 15 Pro Max. It occasionally looks great, giving enough clarity on objects, people, and structures to touch on the huge scale of the Assassin’s Creed series. Blood pooling at the feet of a guard or birds soaring over the skyline highlights the sheen of the light, and the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s excellent screen is more than equipped to handle what that chip wants to process. Unfortunately, the chip itself seems to struggle under the weight of such an ambitious project. 

From the start, the whole process is filled with a surprising amount of friction. First, you need to link a Ubisoft account, and you can’t even play the game without one. Then, for me, the sound just didn’t work. Unlike some of my other games, or music and video streaming apps, you need to turn off Silent Mode to hear the game. As someone who turns on Silent Mode to avoid the annoying ping of a message sounding off over the top of dialogue, this feels surprisingly counterintuitive. With nothing but the GameSir X2S in my hand, I immediately found that all inputs were mislabeled, and there was no way in the settings to put the right face buttons on my game. It’s very clear that Assassin’s Creed Mirage is built on the PlayStation 5 version of the game, which is why the settings menu even has a DualSense controller in it. If your iPhone controller is based on the Xbox layout, you may be a bit confused initially. 

The game itself was rather inconsistent for me. Some cutscenes and action-heavy moments managed to go by without so much as a frame drop, yet some quiet moments would crash the entire game. I was met with two such crashes over the hour or so it took to beat the prologue demo of the game. 

In my time with Assassin’s Creed Mirage, it felt almost like the game’s stutters and performance hitches didn’t tend to correlate with what I was on-screen, which becomes more annoying than one might assume. If I could guarantee highly condensed areas would result in a problem, I could account for them as I choose my approach to the world. With them happening seemingly at random, Mirage is consistently inconsistent. 

Surprisingly, touch controls do seem a tad more viable than other notable big releases like the Resident Evil 4 Remake and Resident Evil Village. Basim, the main protagonist, is played in the third person, which means not having to aim like you would in a first-person game. One major thing that would keep me away from recommending going in controllerless is the heat that dissipates from the iPhone while you play. Mine got uncomfortably hot within an hour — so much so that I was slightly worried about the structural integrity of my iPhone controller and the prospect of it melting. The battery also drains at around four times faster than idle, but this is to be expected from playing games on any phone. 

Though Assassin’s Creed Mirage launches with a discount of 50%, bringing the game down to $24.99, I still wouldn’t recommend buying it right now. It may be patched into a better state in the future but that’s not a risk I’d make with my money so I wouldn’t recommend making it with yours. This price is particularly strange when you consider that you can buy the game on PS5 right now at Amazon for the exact same price and get a better experience. The price on consoles and PC is only likely to go down, making it even cheaper to play the best version of the game. The appeal to playing Mirage on the go is certainly an interesting one but this version of the game would frustrate me too much to want to spend any more time on it, especially if I’m stuck on public transport at the same time. 

Calendar: June's Big Game Releases

Killer Klowns from Outer Space: The Game

(Image credit: IllFonic)
  • Killer Klowns from Outer Space: The Game is an adaption of a classic '80s horror movie. Camp, fun, and super gory, it takes inspiration from asymmetrical horror games like Dead By Daylight and adds its own spin on it. Though not natively available on Mac, you can play this on iPhone via GeForce Now.
  • The Elder Scrolls Online: Gold Road is a brand new DLC for the game, where a Daedric Prince returns to cause havoc, and you have to explore a new zone, customize new skills, and craft abilities to take him down. If you are a long-time fan or want to finally get into the game, it is available to play on Mac and out now. 
Swipe to scroll horizontally
GamesRelease DatePlatformsPlayable on Apple?
June 3The Elder Scrolls Online: Gold RoadPS5, Xbox, PCYes
June 4Killer Klowns from Outer Space: The GamePS5, Xbox, PCNot natively
June 14Shin Megami Tensei V: VengeancePS5, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, PCNot natively
June 18Still Wakes the DeepPS5, Xbox, PCNot natively
June 21Elden Ring Shadow of the ErdtreePS5, Xbox, PCNot natively
June 25Until ThenPS5, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, PCYes

Level Up — Gaming accessories on our radar

All those hours of gaming drain the juice in your iPhone quicker so a nice power bank will help you go even longer, especially if it's compact enough to be able to slap on the back of your device as you play. 

Native Union (Re)Classic Power Bank

Native Union (Re)Classic Power Bank

Getting 4 and a half stars out of five in our review, the Native Union (Re)Classic Power Bank is super stylish and comes with 5,000mAh of charge. This is more than enough for a full charge of an iPhone 15 Pro Max. 

Have you played any great games this week or seen some interesting Apple gaming news we've missed? Let us know in the comments!

James Bentley

James is a staff writer and general Jack of all trades at iMore. With news, features, reviews, and guides under his belt, he has always liked Apple for its unique branding and distinctive style. Originally buying a Macbook for music and video production, he has since gone on to join the Apple ecosystem with as many devices as he can fit on his person. 

With a degree in Law and Media and being a little too young to move onto the next step of his law career, James started writing from his bedroom about games, movies, tech, and anything else he could think of. Within months, this turned into a fully-fledged career as a freelance journalist. Before joining iMore, he was a staff writer at Gfinity and saw himself published at sites like TechRadar, NME, and Eurogamer. 

As his extensive portfolio implies, James was predominantly a games journalist before joining iMore and brings with him a unique perspective on Apple itself. When not working, he is trying to catch up with the movies and albums of the year, as well as finally finishing the Yakuza series. If you like Midwest emo music or pretentious indie games that will make you cry, he’ll talk your ear off.