In the 1980s, there was Dragon's Lair, and the beautiful thing about this game was that the animation, fluid game controls, and storyline had you hooked. During this time, when games were 25 cents, the makers of Dragon's Lair had the stones to charge (Are you ready for this?) a whopping 50 cents per play. And even with the price increase of 100% over all other video games of the day, there were long lines to play this game. Dragon's lair took gaming to a whole new level (no pun intended).
30 years later, Infinity Blade has done the same for the iPad. The game follows a narrative structure in which you ascend a castle in a quest to battle the primary antagonist, the immortal God King. At the beginning of the game, you are slain by the God King. You then restart the ascent, now assuming the role of the dead character's descendant. This cycle continues every time you fall before the God King. As each cycle passes, the enemies increase in difficulty.
What is nice about Infinity Blade is that the game has no virtual joystick; movement is scripted (similar to Dragon's Lair). You tap highlighted points to move from room to room. Also, you control the character's sword by swiping a finger across the screen. You can touch the bottom left or bottom right side of the screen to dodge attacks or the bottom center of the screen to block attacks with a shield, which breaks if used too much. Finally, you can parry incoming attacks by performing an intercepting sword move. Each of these three counters leaves the enemy vulnerable to counterattack for a short period. You may also use two special abilities, both of which require time to recharge after use. Tapping the icon on the top left unleashes the Super Attack, which stuns the opponent temporarily. Magic is activated by tapping the icon on the top right and then drawing a magical symbol.
In addition to combat, there is a mild role-playing component. An experience points system levels up you as well as your equipment, which consists of weapons, armor, shields, helms, and magic rings. Pieces of equipment have special properties and a pre-determined amount of experience points required to master them. Mastering a piece of equipment increases its sale value but you no longer gain any experience from it. As a result, to continue to gain experience, you must purcahse new equipment. This "forces" you to try many types of swords, shields, rings, helms, and armor. By doing so, you can find the set that is best for you. For me, a level-181 character, I have the Infinity Blade as my sword, Tempest as my shield, Kward as my ring, Omega as my armor, and Fusion as my helmet (though I use Legion for acquiring more gold).
When you gain experience points, you can use these points to improve your character's health, attack, shield power, and magic. You can purchase new equipment using in-game money taken from the castle or from defeated enemies.
Infinity Blade is highly addictive, and even after you defeat the God King, as well as the other Deathless Kings (part of the free patch upgrade), you'll find yourself playing it again (and again). In fact, the creators of Infinity Blade had this in mind by offering a "newgame+" feature. This feature allows you to keep your level and experience points, while enabling you to master all equipment again. Also, there are some nice easter eggs in Infinity Blade, including one that you can use to acquire the highly-coveted "Dark Mech" armor.
You are limited in the types of equipment you can acquire. Also, there are only about 1-2 dozen villains in the entire game. A nice-to-have to be addressed in the sequel is the ability to wield two swords as opposed to the traditional sword-and-shield setting. However, these are small areas of criticism. If you want the definitive iPad RPG, look no further than Infinity Blade.
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