Developer: Chair Entertainment Group
Price: $5.99 Download on the App Store
Infinity Blade is one of the most-hyped iPhone games ever. Early looks at screenshots, and the knowledge that it made use of the impressive Unreal Engine 3, had handheld game enthusiasts drooling. Now that Infinity Blade is finally out and thriving on the App Store, does it live up to all the buzz? The answer is: almost entirely.
To start with the graphics, the look of Infinity Blade is just jaw-dropping. It does not disappoint in the least. The sound design is also superb. The game is of the medieval adventure variety, and in order to succeed the player must battle a host of knights, assassins, golems, and other scary, grunting beasts—all 3D-rendered beautifully. The action takes place in and around an enormous castle with reflective surfaces and sweeping vistas that are some of the best yet seen on the retina display.
The story, on the other hand, leaves something to be desired. The duty of the player’s knight is to avenge his father, and defeat the tyrannical God King. On the first fun through, the knight will be killed, big time. Then the game starts over, with the next “bloodline” trying his hand at the God King. He, too, is dead meat. And on and on, until one of the offspring finally manages to kill the guy.
This business with “bloodlines” makes no sense. If they’re related, don’t they all belong to the same bloodline? And how come the next knight in line to fight the God King has the same exact weapons, skills, and experience level as his dad? Don’t think about this stuff too much. Just enjoy the pretty pictures.
Gameplay is a cinch on the iPhone, and the controls are pretty innovative. The player can swipe a finger across the screen to control the direction the knight swings his sword. It actually feels a lot like Fruit Ninja. On-screen buttons are kept to a minimum, allowing for dodging, shielding from attacks, and employing magical spells. After each battle, the player is also given the chance to “level up,” purchase new weapons and armor, and learn various kinds of magic.
Some players have expressed disappointment that the gameplay of Infinity Blade is so linear. Just as in the equally hyped, and equally visually-stunning Rage, Infinity Blade is on rails. After each fight, the game will automatically bring you to the next one. It might be frustrating for players who are accustomed to sandbox games and labyrinthine first-person shooters.
It’s important to keep in mind that this isn’t a console game, it’s a handheld game. On a phone. The developer has worked brilliantly within the limitations of the hardware, the user interface, and the generally start-and-stop nature of handheld gaming. Sacrifice the rails, and this game not only would be less pretty, but also less playable.
Infinity Blade is not just eye candy, and it’s not just a good, ambitious game. It’s a look into what might well be the norm for the next generation of handheld games. Infinity Blade is recommended for any serious gamer with an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.
Check Out the Infinity Blade Graphics: