Developer: ChAIR Entertainment Group
Price: $5.99
Version: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPad

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
User Interface Rating: ★★★★½
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Infinity Blade has been like a great striptease of iOS gaming. We first were treated to some leaked screenshots. Then we saw a glorious demo played on stage as if to hand us a taste of goodness, only to be told to hold off. Compounding this was the tech demo that is Epic Citadel. Well, the time has finally arrived. The clothing is off and Infinity Blade is finally showing all its goods. Was that long agonizing wait worth it?

First order of business, Infinity Blade is not some super spectacular open world RPG. Yes, there are RPG elements like leveling, but you will not be free roaming around. This is a linear path with very few branches to try out. Now that we got that out of the way, let’s proceed by tapping on the glowing blue circle…wait, not playing the game.

Infinity Blade starts you out with a bit of a story. A badass has some super sweet sword that sucks the souls from the people it impales. Your father found out this soul sucking power first hand. Like a good son bent on revenge, you set out to lay waste to this evil prick. That about sums up any and all story.

Where the game starts to rock you six ways from Sunday is in the gameplay. Like mentioned earlier, you stroll down a set path. At the end of each little segment lies a fight with a monster. You are free to look around before and after each battle to collect coins, treasures, and health potions. While your path options are limited, there are a few branches you can take to help vary replays.

Combat makes use of the touch controls Fruit Ninja style. By this, I mean you just swipe to swing your currently equipped weapon. You can parry attacks by swiping the direction the attack comes from. You may also choose to dodge or use your shield. How you tackle the fight is up to you. Parrying or dodge at the right times will yield you a few moments that you may unleash a flurry of attacks on your enemy. This can lead to some devastating combos that will leave you feeling badass. Magic also plays into the mix with a symbol-drawing mechanic. It is easy, and the symbols are readily available for your studying pleasures.

At the end of each battle, you are awarded gold and experience. Not only does your character gain experience, but all your gear does as well. This means that if you master your sword level, you gain points to spend tweaking your character how you like. Points can be spent on attack, life, magic, and defense. See, role-playing elements, but not much. The money you acquire can be used to buy new equipment and weapons. Each item carries a unique look and stats. You may buy an axe that has an ice effect, while a sword maybe slightly weaker but gains you more experience. It is a nice touch and there are many items to buy.

Replay value comes in with your impending death at the hands of the final boss. Apparently, you procreate like no tomorrow. When you die, you start back at the beginning of the game with a new son who somehow sports all your old gear. Each play through will net you newer and tougher enemies.

So, the big question is, how does this game look and run? Well, screenshots will not do this game justice. It is just flat out effing gorgeous. There are points in this game you may think your playing a current gen console or midrange computer game. Textures are rich, animations are solid and fluid, and the world is just a stunning marvel of castle badassery. Sweetening the deal is a decent amount of monster models to keep things unique on every replay. Armor and weapons all share their own models as well. The music is just as great. Weapons click and clank against your foes armor or corresponding parried weapon. Music is thunderous and engaging. Even the weird voice work keeps the fantasy going. This just might end up being the new standard to which games on the iOS platform will be judged.

As completely great as the overall game is, there are still a few issues that can detract from this surreal experience. The pause button is at the middle top of the screen. I hit this on more than one occasion in my furry of attack swipes. The dodge buttons reside towards the bottom of the screen and don’t always respond to your tapping. Lastly, there are a few places that the textures are overly stretched and pull the visuals down a notch when you do notice them.

Is Infinity Blade worth your money? Damn right it is. Despite the control flaws and the repeating levels, there is a world of good fun here. You can easily pick this up, fight a foe in a few minutes, and go back to work and still feel like you accomplished something. This is a solid purchase if you own the hardware capable of playing it (read this as you MUST own a 3GS or newer hardware).

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