Version Reviewed: 1.1.2
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Games like Infinity Blade have tried to replicate the one-on-one dynamic of fighting games with touchscreen controls. Yet, the problem is that ‘actual’ fighting games, in the vein of Street Fighter, Soul Calibur, et al, have rarely had the kind of dynamic that Infinity Blade has inspired. Welcome to the world of Blade Lords.
That’s right, instead of swiping to attack enemies, there’s standard fighting game mechanics here. However, the control set is simplified: there’s two attack buttons and a special move button that can unleash special moves with the tap of a button and a directional input. Don’t worry about players just spamming special attacks, though: a rechargeable special move bar keeps this in check.
Blade Lords does not have multiplayer currently (it’s reportedly coming soon) so this is sadly just a solo affair. Players explore a map and do missions, which largely are defined as fights against enemies. Sometimes there are special parameters, but largely these are just setpieces for the various battles. It’s not all a skill proposition: player levels, stats, and equipment do play a big part in to whether or not a battle is fair or not. Being under-leveld will likely mean that it’s not going to go well. Better grind on some earlier battles first. There is an energy mechanic that will limit players, though: weapon durability runs out after a few battles, forcing players to either wait or to spend gold to recharge.
The game does make for a great fit for mobile for many reasons. It’s not just the structure, which does work very well for pick-up-and-play sessions (though the load times can take a while), but also the controls. Yes, there is a virtual joystick and buttons, but the controls don’t require a lot of complex maneuvers, so it’s hard to mess things up. Also, can I just say that I like having super moves being uninterruptable? It should be more powerful than some tiny kick from the other guy!
While the game has four playable characters, and some can be randomly sampled in the Chaos Portal which serves as the daily challenge mode, they otherwise require gold to unlock, gold being the secondary currency that’s obtainable in-game, but at a much slower rate. So, players have to be patient or willing to spend money to get some variety in their game. Also, the wide disparities between opponents of different levels kind of throws off the skill-based aspects that make fighting games great.
Blade Lords does get points for really trying to do something different with the one-on-one combat experience by going down a familiar route. While I’d like to see less monetization influence and more pure fighting game influence added, this is still interesting enough to check out for fighting fans.