Has the iPad Finally Received It’s First Killer Gaming App, Quite Literally?
With the release of Chair Entertainment Group – an internal studio of the Epic Games brand – many are claiming the iPad has finally received the most allusive of products, it’s killer app. A piece of software that showcases not only the hardware itself but also the user interaction the hardware exclusively allows. For eample with the launch of the PSone it wasn’t simply gamers who were blown away by Psygnosis’ Wipeout, Nintendo’s Wii Sports turned heads across the entire mainstream. These titles and a short list of others including GTA Vice City, Gran Turismo 2, Nintendogs have earned the accolade of “Killer App” as they attracted the non-gaming mainstream to purchase not simply their first game but their first gaming console. Of course many will argue otherwise yet for me as impressive Infinity Blade is, and impressive doesn’t come close to conveying the quality of this application, this is far from the mainstream bait that will cause a huge spike in iPad sales in all new consumer demographics.
Unlike the mass appeal of games like Angry Birds and it’s kin, Infinity Blade is a gamer’s game, so if you classify yourself as an epic pro and not a noob, I would advise you to put down this publication and head to the App Store right away. Although if you finds yourself sat somewhere in the middle of the above ranks, there are countless reasons to download. First of said reasons and most insantly striking being the stunning visuals, using the Unreal Engine generation of games consoles, the developers have produced a genuinely breath taking visual experience which smashes any preconceptions of graphical power of the iPad and iPhone 4. And thank goodness the developers have placed as much effort on the honing the control method to hte iPad platform as they did squeezing every drop of graphic power from the Apple’s device. Removing the expected and generally horrible virtual joystick style control, that has damaged the potentital of countelss iPad and particularly iPhone/iPod touch games, in favour of blend of screen wipes for combat and a point and click inspired interface for navigation. By adopting/developing a control method that capitalises upon the hardware’s touch screen interface, instead of attempting to use the time honoured and utterly unsuitable console control playing Infinity Blade is both highly fluid and rewarding.
The gameplay core focus finds the player engaging in a series of increasing challenging one on one weapons based battle with the unfriendly inhabbitants of the “Castle of God”. Confrontations which would be limited and ultimately arduous with a lesser control interface are elevated to instinctive battles, where your touch screen movements are perfectly replicated by your own screen guise. Defensive abilities are also well seved with the dodge move accessed by a simple tap to the relative edge of the screen, albeit after much practice to hone your essential timing. To parry you must quickly counter your enemies attack by sliding across the screen in the opposite direction they are swinging their weapon. This sounds hard and is, but provides results worthy of much effort to master. Alternately tap the lower middle are of the screen to raise your shield, which will completely absorb an enemy attack, although only for a limited number of times
In a pleasing nod to the RPG genre, you can enhance and upgrade both your skills and your inventory, yet in a novel twist you gain experience points from the items themselves. A specific item will contain a total XP value, this can be absorbed by your chracter by using the items successfully in battle. Once you have collected the total XP from the item, it is “maxed out” rewarding you with additional character development points and dramatically increases the resell value of the items in the in-game store.
The appeal of the following factors combat, character development, control method and visuals are clear but sadly the remaining features that complete the package aren’t as appealing. The narrative is weak at best, for undisclosed reasons you find yourself battling the God Kind and his minions throughout the generations. Fail to defeat him and your son will take up your quest and your weaponry and begin again, defeat the God King and he will rise up and your son will be called upon to battle him once again. This generational loop causes further issues as the each replay finds you battling the same enemies albeit in tougher incarnations. Their tactics may evolve but their appearance remains unchanged which is disappointing to the extreme, rendering early battles little more than basic “grinding” to allow you to enhance your XP, balace your inventory and skill set in preparation of battle with the latter foes. A factor that soon becomes very tiresome.
It’s extremely hard not to fall for the obvious charms of Infinity Blade, the developers have not only redefined how we epect and iPad game to look but laso how we should play it. Alas the graphics and control method cnanot hide the limitaions of the core game, the looping battles and the lack of exploration and freedom of movement combine to leave you not completely basking in the wonders of the game but pondering on what could have been. With a little more focus on exploration and wider world to explore and a large array of characters to interact with, the inevitable Infinity Blade 2 will surely be judged as the game your iPad was made for?
- App Name: Infinity Blade
- Version Reviewed:1.4.1
- Developer:Chair Entertainment Group, LLC