Ok, I’m a bit late to the party here, but since we haven’t mentioned Infinity Blade on the site yet I thought it was worth telling you about it. Infinity Blade is an epic monster-slaying game for iPhones or iPads (it’s a universal app that will work on either one), and it has some of the most amazing graphics I’ve seen in an iDevice game so far. I’ll tell you up front that it gets repetitive to a degree, but it’s still quite fun and has consumed, oh, hours and hours and hours of my life. And that was before I got my iPad.
Here’s the basic plot, in case you need one. The God-King is this bad guy with a nasty sword called the Infinity Blade. He killed your dad, and you’re out to avenge his death. But to get to him you have to go through a pile of monsters first. And when you get to him — spoiler alert! — he’ll kill you.
Well, most likely.
Each time you win a battle, you’ll gain experience points and money, eventually leveling up and gaining better equipment. And each time the seemingly immortal God-King kills you, your heir comes along to avenge you, keeping all the equipment and experience that his progenitors have accumulated. It’s pretty funny when you stop to think about it (as Penny Arcade demonstrated) but it makes for a fun game and there’s at least an explanation for why you’re still fighting after you’ve been killed. See? It’s not you, it’s your son. And now it’s your grandson. And now… you get the idea.
The game itself consists of a series of battles, with interactive cut-scenes in between. Swordfights are played via taps and swipes on the screen: tap the shield at bottom to block or the arrows at the sides to dodge; swipe your finger across the screen in the right direction to parry incoming attacks or to slash at the enemy. There’s also a super attack that charges up slowly, and magic spells which can be cast by drawing the right symbol on the screen.
When you win a battle, points are tallied up and then divided up among your equipment: weapon, shield, ring, helmet, and armor. This represents your mastery of each item, and once an item is mastered you’ll get a Level point. Also, when the Level meter fills up, you’ll level up and get two Level points, which can be spent to increase your maximum health, your attack or defense power, or your magic ability. Also, you’ll be able to buy better equipment in the store and change out equipment from your inventory.
Mastering equipment makes it more valuable if you want to sell it, but you don’t gain experience points for battles won with mastered equipment. However, as you encounter stronger monsters, some weapons will be more useful against them than others, so it pays to hang onto that sword with the poison blade.
There are a slew of achievements to be earned while you play as well, from finding all the gold scattered throughout the levels to killing a monster without taking any damage. But what you’re really after is killing the God-King … and then things get really interesting. I won’t spoil the story for you, but I really loved the scene after my (apparent) victory, which took the story in an unexpected direction.
The game does get a bit repetitive, since you’ll be going through the same castle over and over again while you build up enough experience and weaponry to take on the God-King (who starts at something like Level 50). There are a couple different paths you can take through the castle, but you’ll still be headed in the same direction. On the other hand, there’s some really great scenery along the way. Although there are only something like four different styles of enemies, the different skins put on them gives it some variety and gives you plenty of time to practice parrying and dodging.
I played through the game on my iPod touch, and really enjoyed it even on the tiny screen (though I did get a neck cramp from playing for too long in one sitting). After one really late night session I had to sheepishly explain to my wife that, well, the reason I didn’t come to bed until 3am was because I was fighting big monsters with swords. Avenging my father’s death, you know.
Because of the hacking and slashing — and especially the cut-scenes of finishing blows — the game isn’t intended for younger eyeballs. The iTunes store gives it a 9+, though you can judge for your own kids. It’s not bloody like Mortal Kombat but it’s still quite violent. I should also point out, though, that there is a bit of humor mixed in as well. Some of the weapons are quite intriguing, like the $900,500 Touch of Death which is basically a giant finger, or the Lady Finger which makes rainbows and sparklies while you use it.
Since it can take a lot of playing to earn enough money for some of the higher-priced items, you can also purchase gold in-app: a $25,000 bag of gold will cost you a buck in real life, though if you want to go for the $2.5 million bag you’ll have to shell out $50. Frankly, I think it’s absurd to spend that kind of money on in-game cash, but then again I’m that crazy person who spent several hours on the game instead.
Anyway, if you’re looking for an action game that’s a visual feast, try Infinity Blade. It’s $5.99 in the iTunes store.
Your obliteration awaits!
Wired: Impressive graphics, intuitive controls, humongous monsters.
Tired: A bit repetitive after a while.