Okay, okay, we admit it. We're a bit late to the Infinity Blade party. Most of you already know that Chair have crafted a graphical powerhouse that pushes the limits of what the iPhone and iPad can do, along with a unique campaign structure that provides a focused yet eternal experience.
For those of you who haven't bought it already, though, let us explain exactly why you should.
Players are cast as a young warrior out to avenge his father's death at the hands of the immortal God-King. To do so, you'll delve into a ruined castle and face off against some truly horrific adversaries. Exploration is a simple point 'n' click affair, with randomly-generated goodies littering the environment, but upon engaging an enemy you'll be seamlessly thrown into a real-time battle situation.
Attacking requires you to swipe a finger across the screen to swing your sword in a particular direction, which can be used to parry incoming blows and throw an enemy off balance. Block, dodge and magic icons provide you with multiple ways to evade enemy attacks and press the advantage, and though it seems shallow at first, you'll soon discover a wealth of combat options at your disposal.
Between battles, you can access a massive store of weapons and armour to equip that empower you with various different bonuses. Experience is shared between your character and your items themselves, which in turn, give you skill points to persistently increase your combat prowess.
Infinity Blade is graphically monstrous. Every spare Megabyte of the deceptively small file has been used to craft a detailed and beautiful 3D environment that shows off exactly what the Unreal Engine can do on a handheld. Regardless of your platform, it's a staggering achievement that looks incredible on an iPhone 4 or iPad. A free update has added more graphical grunt on the iPad 2 (it's a universal app, don't worry); making the already-impressive polygons less jaggy, the draw distances better and the colours more vibrant.
Infinity Blade isn't a traditional action RPG, though. Not by a long shot. Unfortunately, to discuss its unique structure, we technically have to spoil it. Consider this a spoiler alert, and purists will want to skip to the end of the review.
The campaign is fairly short (taking much less than an hour to complete), but once you finally reach the God King, he will kill you. The game then skips ahead twenty years to the protagonist's son, who proceeds to delve back into the castle to avenge his father (facing different enemies and possessing the persistent upgrades/armour that you earned in the previous playthrough). He'll die too - and the vicious cycle of revenge begins again. And again. And again. Ad infinitum. Hence the name.
It's a perfect trade-off between focus and scope that will keep you glued to the screen despite its linearity. The God King will die... but it'll take many successive generations to see him off.
- Incredible Unreal-powered graphics
- Deceptively deep combat
- Addictive levelling and item system
- Repetitive by design
Summary: Infinity Blade is a killer app that showcases the immense potential of iOS devices. Plus, it's a damn fine game to boot.
Developer: Chair Entertainment Group
Compatibility: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 3.2 or later.
Price: £3.49 - App Store