Is Infinity Blade the Ultimate iOS Gamer’s Game? Not Quite

By  |  Friday, December 10, 2010 at 10:47 am

The general consensus on Infinity Blade is that it’s the iPhone and iPad game serious gamers have been waiting for. That would include me, so I forfeited $6 to the App Store last night and gave Infinity Blade a shot.

It’s a great game. I stayed up an hour later than I should have, dueling against knights twice my avatar’s size and obsessing over weapons and armor. I only pulled myself away when game’s final boss wiped me out. (In a unique plot device, after each death you play as the next generation in your character’s bloodline, avenging the death of his father at the hands of a mighty dictator.)

But let’s not kid ourselves. Essentially, Infinity Blade is Fruit Ninja in hardcore clothing. It’s not the ultimate iPad game for gamers.

My disappointment with Infinity Blade isn’t due to any flaw in the game itself, but rather what’s missing. In September, when Apple introduced its new line of iPods, Infinity Blade publisher Epic Games showed off a beautiful 3D world. The tech demo, dubbed Epic Citadel, is available from the App Store, and it’s worth a look even though you can’t do anything but walk around and admire the scenery.

Infinity Blade takes place in this world — you’ll see some of the same scenery as your character trudges along a pre-determined path — and it’s just as lifeless as the tech demo. You can’t roam the citadel as you please, and there are no characters to interact with aside from your foes. If this game were sold at retail for the PSP or Nintendo DS, it’d be laughed out of town.

Obviously, expectations are lower for iOS because the games are much cheaper.¬†Still, is it wrong to expect more? With Epic Citadel, iOS owners got a taste of something spectacular — a free-roaming 3D world that looked better than most games for portable gaming devices. Sadly, Infinity Blade borrows from the concept instead of building on it.

Don’t let that stop you from loving the game. I just hope this isn’t the pinnacle of iOS for gamers.



4 Comments For This Post

  1. David Says:

    You really couldn't walk around *that* much in Citadel. Even my 7 year old grew bored with it very quickly. The problem is that you(the average gamer) may be jaded. It is amazing that you can get that level of graphics on the phone. Perhaps what should happen is that game makers should take a step back and give us Half-life circa 1998 on the iOS.

    But then, you'll complain about how the game looks.

    The generations are moving quickly for mobile devices. In two years, you'll have your very open ended games.

  2. JaredNewman Says:

    Well, I've always been a gameplay over graphics guy my self. Graphical quality is probably the last thing you'll hear me complain about in a video game. That said, Infinity Blade looks wonderful.

    As for getting bigger and more open-ended games, I think that will depend on whether publishers/developers feel it's worth the effort on a mobile device. After all, Infinity Blade is a $6 game — that's part of the allure — but would a significantly greater number of people buy it if Epic fleshed out the game world?

  3. David Says:

    If you keep playing the game, you begin to discover depth. The AI is very simple the first few bloodlines, allowing you to work out the timing of defense. With each new bloodline the enemy AI grows increasingly more difficult. Dodge, parry, & block become essential. The weapons also begin to morph and change. Magic that can be cast to heal, shock, etc. Swords that drain the life of the enemy while increasing your own. Helmets that triple your XP. It's surprisingly deep and shows just the surface of something more. An update is around the corner and multi-player will be avail next year. Play it a little longer and you might be surprised.

  4. jonas Says:

    aralon hd and real racing 2 are much better than any pspp game imo