Review: Infinity Blade
When it was first announced that Epic games had been developing an engine for iOS devices I think gamers just like me didn’t know what would come of it. Following the unveiling of the engine, Epic released the aptly titled Epic Citadel tech demo to give people a small taste of what was to come to the gaming Trojan horse known as the iOS devices. After downloading the demo I couldn’t wait to see what could be done with such tech, and now thanks to developer Chair and publisher Epic games we can look no further. Hit the jump to read about the game that will make you forget about those damn Angry Birds.
The game’s plot isn’t anything too out of the ordinary from the fantasy gaming realm. There’s an evil king, who also happens to be immortal. He also has the, you guessed it, Infinity Blade in his possession. You play as a noble warrior who is hell bent on avenging the death of his father, who was killed by the king. I know, I know, we’ve seen this tons of times before but I assure you that you will not get bored as the game has the uncanny ability to stay fresh and keep you involved the whole way through.
In Infinity Blade, it’s all about mechanics and gameplay. First of all, this one is a dungeon crawler to the power of 10. Typically these types games weren’t really my thing but IB has made me see it in a totally different light.
The game plays in 3rd person and while you don’t have full analog control for your character you do have the ability to look around at each point. This allows you to scrounge up any treasure or gold lying around the different areas. This is achieved simply by touching the item when you see it. It sounds simple enough in practice but while in game it can be as daunting as game of “Where’s Waldo” as you need to literally comb your surroundings before moving forward. Every piece of gold and treasure counts.
What would a dungeon crawler be without some hardcore RPG elements? Not one that I would play, but good thing that Infinity Blade is stuffed to the brim with them. Not only does your character level up, but you can level up every single piece of gear along your way as well. From swords and helmets, to magic rings and shields, almost everything in this game can be upgraded, swapped out, and maxed out. And to survive you will be doing a lot of it.
While games with tons of inventory management usually piss me off, only because you spend more time managing than playing (I’m looking at you Mass Effect), because of the intuitiveness of the controls, it never feels like a chore. You jump in to your menus, touch here, scroll there, touch here again, then it’s back to the action. Games like these are usually a non-stop grind and so it just makes sense that it shouldn’t feel like you have to grind in the menus.
And now on to the real star of the show here… the combat gameplay. If you’ve played games on iOS devices before then you know how bad some games can play, especially when it comes to combat. Because the devices are all touch, many titles have you taking up somewhere around 25% of the lower part of the screen simply for controls. And because you’re taking up so much screen real estate you find yourself covering some of the action as well. The difference here is that you can play Infinity Blade (and be good at it) with just ONE finger.
In combat you have five functions mapped to the screen. Dodging is assigned to the bottom left and right areas, while blocking is at the bottom middle behind your character. Your super is at the top left and your magic at the top right, both of which have a cool down time. So how do you attack? Easy, you wait for an opening and you slice across the screen with your finger in the direction in which you wish to attack.
However, enemies do not just stand there and get pummeled either, if anything you will find yourself playing a lot of defense. Besides blocking, you also have the ability to parry. The way you parry is by figuring out the angle the enemy is striking from and swiping across the screen in that same direction. When you chain a few parry’s and/or blocks, your enemy will create an opening and this is where you go on the offensive. While parrying is unlimited, blocking isn’t (see: leveling your gear above), so practicing your parrying early on in the game is very much to your benefit, as it will become the only way to survive battles after a few hours in.
As of the writing of this review, the status of the games multiplayer component is still “coming soon” so that aspect hasn’t been reviewed yet, but if the combat is as intuitive as it is in the single player story, this will be probably one of the most strategic multiplayer games around. Other extras that are in the pipeline are additional missions /dungeons as well as some DLC weapons and items. In it’s first month of release Epic has already released an update, which raises the level cap. This just goes to show you that A) how much people are playing this game and B) the publisher is going to actually show support for the game.
I still remember watching the Apple press conference when Epic Games CEO Mark Reign went on stage to introduce Epic Citadel and Epic’s support of gaming on iOS devices. I knew that they were on to something big but just had no idea of the grand scale. Everyone is quick to bash the iOS devices as being unable to deliver a rich experience for the core gamer, but with Infinity Blade, developer Chair and publisher Epic have easily shut up all of the naysayers with one-finger swipes. Infinity Blade is the best hardcore game I’ve played on a mobile device since, well – ever. Not only for what it is but also for what it represents for hardcore titles on mobile devices from here on out. And at only $6 bucks, you need to pick this up like right now!
- Title: Infinity Blade
- Platform Reviewed: iPad
- Developer: Chair
- Publisher: Epic Games
- Release Date: Available Now
- MSRP: $6
- Review Copy Info: A copy of the title was purchased by DualShockers Inc. for the purpose of this review.