May 22, 2011

Father, I Will Avenge You.

It seems difficult to top this review of Infinity Blade. In fact, I’d recommend you read it first. While not very “pro” on the game, it encapsulates the experience very nicely. So do check that out. Still, I’m going to give some of my own thoughts on it.

I think Infinity Blade is quite a fantastic little game. There are better games on iOS, but few have this level of polish and visual impressiveness, and it’s a fun little diversion besides.

The basic idea is that your father died at the hands of the God-King, and you have to go to his castle and avenge his death. By the end of your journey through the castle, SOMETHING has happened to you to end your journey, and years later, your son comes to the castle, ready to avenge the death of his father, only for some reason he has all the experience and gear his father had. Hm. In any case, as you saw in that review, the game is almost a time loop, of things happening over and over. That means there is little surprise to be had, perse, after the first few runthroughs of the game, but that doesn’t bother me too much. The main point of the game is mastering the mechanics.

The obvious goal of Infinity Blade was the developers trying to make Punch Out!! into an RPG. I think they did a pretty solid job of it. You have to watch your opponent to dodge and parry his attacks, and once you find an opening, you just start wailing on him, just like in Punch Out!!. You have a shield you can use to block attacks, but you only have so much “block energy,” and eventually you will run out if you don’t use dodges. It’s a nice little save for people not good at games, but since you can’t rely on it, I never leveled blocking up, and just focused on learning to dodge effectively. If you put a lot of points in it, though, and kept the “shield” spell around to refill your block energy, perhaps you could rely on it exclusively. I never did.
To mix things up, you have a magical ring, which you can use to cast gesture-based spells, and a “super stun” that will create an opening for you. Both of these recharge over time. Magic tends to recharge much faster, because you can put points into your Magic stat to make it regenerate moreso. They do a good job of making the more important spells have simple gestures, and the more risk/reward spells have more complicated ones. The powerful Light spell requires you to draw a star on the screen, while a simple fire spell just has you draw a circle. I never really felt like the game wasn’t recognizing my spell gestures (except, perhaps, once or twice with Shock, which required me to draw a lightning bolt) and the fact that they take time requires you to really think about whether or not you have enough time in your enemy’s pattern to get the spell off. It works really well.

Outside of battle, nothing much happens besides pretty cutscenes. You can look around the environment in the cutscenes to spot randomly scattered bags of money and health potions, which you can tap to grab, but that’s really about it. It looks impressive the first time you see it, and then you just kind of don’t pay much attention, looking for more money for gear.

What really keeps you going in the game is the leveling system. You have gear: a helmet, armor, sword, shield, and magic ring. Each of these gains EXP, just as you do. When you fill up the bar for these items, they are “mastered,” and you get a free skill point that you can put into HP, Strength, Blocking, or Magic. Leveling up gets you 2 points, so it’s to your benefit to be constantly cycling through equipment, mastering each one, in order to really get a lot of skill points and make yourself more powerful. If you’re a completionist, this game will drive you mad with trying to master each piece of gear, and they’ve been adding more gear through occasional updates.

In the end, the game isn’t the deepest thing in the world. Once you mastered the various types of enemies and their patterns (There are about 5 enemy “templates,” which lots of varying looks for them. One template may be a troll one time, and a clockwork golem the next, but the attack patterns are the same.) the game becomes a grind for stats, and once you’ve had your fill of that, you’re done with the game. Still, that gave me way more replay value than, say, the new Punch Out!! on Wii, and was just about as fun. I don’t know if it was worth the premium it debuted at, but at the 3 bucks I paid for it, I was very happy with my purchase. They even added a multiplayer mode I haven’t tried, and can’t imagine would be all that great, but at least they’re trying to make the game better. If you like Punch Out!! and swords at all, this really is a game you should try. It’s not the greatest thing I’ve ever played, and I would suggest many other iOS games before I would suggest Infinity Blade, but I had a lot of fun with it.

[…] “Man, it’s like a real game!” they said. The last game they said that about was Infinity Blade, which I scoffed at, until I played it, and then I had a decent amount of fun. So, you know, Rage […]

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[…] iOS. They’re basically of an early PS2 sort of quality. They’re not as pretty as, say, Infinity Blade, but this game is doing a whole lot more than Infinity Blade, what with tracking two companion AIs […]

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