The game starts out as a mini-tutorial in that the tyrant and holder of the Infinity Blade, a special blade that captures the prowess of all that have fallen, and his over-sized minion–The Dark Knight—attack your character. As you battle, it will tell you to block, swipe, and all that good stuff to slowly reveal the fighting mechanics. But, as you’ll find out a couple of seconds later, you’re not really meant to kill this minion (although it probably is possible); your sword and shield are kicked out of your hands and you eventually die at the hands of the Infinity Blade.
But around 20 years later, your son continues your journey to the same castle, fighting to kill the tyrant and rid the land of evil. Infinity Blade follows this “bloodline” of warriors until you have equipped enough gear and leveled up enough to be able to defeat the tyrant (I was able to defeat the tyrant around the 5th bloodline).
And while it is a bit short on content—it took around 3-4 hours for me to “beat” the game—the whole point seems to be that you continue to level up and continue to purchase the items available in the store. But as you get stronger and more powerful, the game becomes more and more difficult as the enemies rise in level and speed.
The AI difficulty balancing, in my opinion, was awfully well done and the graphics, need I say, are the best in the App Store. Period.
But the shortages do come, like I said before, in content and the repetitive nature of the game: it’s basically the same enemies, same pathways, and the same dialogue, only with a few changes in game speed and enemy fortitude.
Graphics: I really don’t need to say much here. The details are absolutely off the charts, and while it does look a little bit less detailed on the iPad than the iPhone 4 (mostly due to the Retina display), you’ll still get a kick out of the graphics. These are the best I’ve ever seen on the App Store.
Fighting mechanics: I absolutely love the fighting mechanics implemented into the game: dodge left whenever the attacker attacks from the left, dodge right when attacker attacks from right. You can parry attacks along with the ability to block them, although your shield does eventually break after taking too many hits. The only way to significantly damage your opponent is to evade his attacks long enough for it to “break”, meaning the enemy’s defenses are down and you will be able to lay some significant damage.
You also have some added magic attacks executed by drawing shapes: circle for fire, an upside-down L for ice, a U-shaped drawing to heal, and an X-shaped drawing to poison. Of course, all your magic spells depend on what type of ring you have—when you begin the game, you’ll start out with only the ability to conjure ice.
On top of that, you also have the “special attack”, which like the magic attack, must be charged. Once it is charged, you can stun your enemy for a couple of seconds enough to drain much of its health. While I would have liked to see some more types of special attacks, it does add a little variant to the fighting.
Difficulty: The first time I faced the Dark Knight and the God King, it was basically impossible. My movements were not used to the speed of the God King’s attacks, and quite frankly, I knew I was dead meat. He was level 50, I was level 5. But as the game progresses, you’ll find that identifying where the attacks are coming from to be easier, along with dodging and parrying blows. The difficulty ramped up quite nicely by Bloodline 3, but I was ready to take on whatever enemy in front of me. By Bloodline 5, I had defeated the God King.
Items: The items are the only thing that’s really making me come back to this game. The extensive store is also what keeps this game from being another Rage HD: the same gameplay experience, with no real use for the money or anything else.
Repetitive: I mentioned it before and I’ll mention it again: this game is repetitive. You’re not going to sit here and play the game for an hour and a half, and Chair probably knew that most iPhone gamers don’t do that. But still, you’re playing in the same environment in the same pathways for 8 or 9 times through however many bloodlines (I’m on 8 right now), and it’s really getting to the point where I just don’t want to play anymore. Mind you, I’ve been playing for atleast 5 hours and I still have that drive to collect the best items. If you think you don’t have that drive, then this really isn’t the game for you.
Monsters: More enemy types would be nice. There are maybe 5 or 6 in the game, and while they all “level up” after each bloodline, some more variety would be nice.
Content: Essentially, the main point of the game is to get strong and lucky enough to be able to defeat the God King. Once you defeat the God King, the credits start rolling up, which usually means that you’ve beaten the game. It took me around 3 hours, and while there’s replay value that most will take advantage of, I’m just letting everyone out there know that the game itself isn’t too long.
Skip scenes: It would be really nice if there was an option to skip the cutscenes. After a while, watching the same thing over and over again, it’s really boring. Especially if you want to speed from one bloodline to the next as fast as possible to earn whatever you can.
Camera angle: The camera angle could definitely be moved, as the up-close views are really difficult when the enemies become stronger. You usually won’t be able to see much of an attack from the left or right side, which isn’t good whenever the enemy begins to take off more than half your health with one blow. A more far away, distant camera view would be nice, able to see both the arms of the enemy.
Infinity Blade is a conundrum in that it’s quite difficult to overlook the fighting mechanics and the graphics. And the only real thing that’s keeping this from being a tech demo are the items, which serve as great replay value and a great motivation for you to keep fighting. But if you look past the pretty fluff and the shiny-ness of your new toy, you’ll find that Infinity Blade is really just the same thing over and over again. BUT, that same thing over and over again is oddly appealing… somewhat like the “same thing over and over again” mechanism of Fruit Ninja, Flight Control, etc. And for that reason, there’s really no other rating for this than the Must Have.
Infinity Blade was developed by Chair, and I played through version 1.0 on my iPhone 4 and iPad. The price is $5.99.