Infinity Blade is a mobile gaming masterpiece, there’s no other way to look at it. The game, developed by chAIR Entertainment in conjunction with Epic Games, makes use of Unreal Engine 3–the same graphics engine that runs Gears of War–and is a visually stunning medieval tribute to Punch-Out!! and the point-and-click adventures of old. Infinity Blade also never forgets what makes for an addicting mobile game: delivering a streamlined, easy-to-grasp-hard-to-master foundation that can be enjoyed in small spurts.
The story of Infinity Blade is a very simple one. At the beginning of the adventure–acting as the game’s tutorial–your some nameless, faceless warrior on a mission to kill the God King sitting on his throne at the top of his pimp castle. You’ll fight your way up to the top of the castle, killing a number of his massive guard goons and learning the basic ropes of combat, before finally facing down the God King himself. However, you don’t survive the confrontation, and the God King sucks up your character’s essence into the massive sword he carries. The game then flashes 20 years into the future to the son of the initial warrior as he attempts to assault the same castle and kill the God King to avenge his father.
Infinity Blade, gameplay wise, is essentially a string of boss fights with a Punch-Out!! feel to them. You’re able to dodge left and right, block, perry, and attack by swiping your finger across the screen of the iPhone or iPad you’re using. Combat is a learning experience where you must focus and study the attack patterns of each armored monster you face in order to exploit their weaknesses. Once you’ve got the hang of combat it can feel pretty good to pull off the perfect side-stepping dodge or perry, opening up your opponent for a massive attack combo. It’s also shocking how well attacking works by just swiping your finger across the screen of your iDevice. The game is super sensitive and will pick up every motion you make across the screen (even ones made by mistake). Swiping left, right, up, down, and diagonally are all accounted for, making for some pretty cool looking animations when strung together.
Tying together each fight are moments when your warrior is able to “explore” the game’s beautiful environment. While you can pan the camera around to see all the amazingly intricate detail pumped into this mobile game, exploring really only equates to you finding some health potions, sacks of money, or treasure chests in the background and clicking on them to snatch them up. You don’t get to freely walk around the environment at your own leisure, which will be a bummer to some. However, these moments of exploration are really only there to compliment the light RPG elements of Infinity Blade.
The light RPG elements of Infinity Blade do play an important role in the overall package, however. Leveling up your character allows you to boost your health, shield, weapon and magic strength. Finding money scattered throughout the castle lets you purchase better, stronger equipment. But take note: every item you can equip has its own set of perks, whether it’s a stronger attack, or amplified magic properties. Choosing which items to equip on your warrior is a game in and of itself and leads to a lot of customization options. As an added bonus, using the same equipment long enough allows you to “master” said items, making them even stronger. So there’s definitely a plus side to sticking with what has worked previously.
There’s a reason why the game is called Infinity Blade. The entire story reverts back on itself, making the title infinitely replayable. If you reach the God King and are killed, you don’t get a chance to retry the fight. Your warrior’s essence is sucked into the God King’s blade, like his father before him, and the game flashes forward another 21 years for you to try again as the next descendant. Rinse and repeat. However, you still get to keep all your experience and equipment from previous bloodline play-throughs, it’s just that the enemies get progressively harder and more unpredictable in their attack patterns. Each play-through of Infinity Blade offers new challenges and rewards to keep you coming back for more.
I’m the type of mobile gamer that sticks to the simple, yet addictive games. Angry Birds, Doodle Jump, Canabalt, and Plants vs. Zombies are some of my absolute favorite iPhone games. Add Infinity Blade to that list, pronto. The game is a knockout, in every sense of the word. While the game’s visuals are going to be the deciding factor that gets a lot of people to check out it, I think the fact that Infinity Blade never becomes overly complicated and remains easily approachable is its biggest draw. When I can’t wait till my next bathroom break to play more Infinity Blade, you know we have a winner here.