App Store icon
|Engine||Unreal Engine 3|
|Release date(s)||December 9, 2010|
Infinity Blade is an action role-playing game developed by Chair Entertainment and Epic Games released through the Apple App Store on December 9, 2010. It is the first iOS video game to run on the Unreal Engine 3. In the game, the player fights a series of one-on-one battles as their character journeys through a derelict castle in a fantasy world in order to fight the God King. These battles have the player swiping on the screen to attack and parry, as well as dodging and blocking enemy attacks.
Infinity Blade was the fastest-grossing app in the history of iOS, selling US$1.6 million in four days. It has received four major updates since its release and has been reviewed favorably by gaming critics. A version of the game was developed as an arcade game, titled Infinity Blade FX. An iOS sequel, Infinity Blade II, was announced on October 4, 2011 and was released on December 1, 2011, while a novella set between the games Infinity Blade and Infinity Blade II. Infinity Blade: Awakening is a sequel to the game that was written by Brandon Sanderson, the book was released when Infinity Blade II was announced. Right now the third instalment of the game, Infinity Blade Dungeons, announced early 2012, is coming to the New iPad. As of October 2011, Infinity Blade has generated more than US$23 million in revenue.
The game follows a repetitive narrative structure in which the player ascends a castle in a quest to battle the primary antagonist, the immortal God King. In the introduction for the game, the player's character has just finished this quest, but is slain by the God King. The player then assumes the role of the dead character's descendant, starting his ascent at the beginning of the castle. This cycle repeats every time the player defeats or is killed by the God King or by joining the God King. After the purchase of the Infinity Blade, another ending to a bloodline becomes available. The sword is put into a pedestal with a footprint in the shape of the Infinity Blade carved into it, located in the underground dungeons of the castle, and three doors open. After then defeating each of the three "Deathless" of increasing difficulty found within, the fourth and final door is unlocked and you face the final opponent, a mechanised warrior acting as a guard within a high-tech chamber where the God King is 'reborn' whenever he is killed. After defeating the mechanised warrior, it is revealed to be controlled by an ancestor of the playable character, who chose to serve the God-King. After defeating the ancestor, you are given the option of either starting the next bloodline, or resetting the bloodline, losing all your gold and items, but maintaining your experience, allowing you to remaster the items and level up even further. The journey through the castle, which follows a largely linear path, is composed of specific locations where the character stands and the player can move the camera around to view the fully three-dimensional area. The player taps specific highlighted locations on the screen to either trigger a short cutscene where the player's character moves to the next location, or for the player to engage in one-on-one sword combat with various enemies. As each cycle passes, the enemies increase in difficulty.
During combat, the player controls the character's sword by swiping a finger across the screen. Players can touch buttons at the bottom of the screen to dodge attacks or block attacks with a shield, which has a limited number of uses during a single battle. Players may also parry incoming attacks by performing an intercepting sword move, so an attack from the left would be parried with a swipe to the right. Each of these three counters can leave the enemy vulnerable to counterattack for a short period. Incorrectly countering the enemy's attacks results in damage to the player's character, represented by a health bar. Enemies can perform certain attacks which cannot be parried or blocked (such as shield bashes) and must be dodged. If players fall to any enemy other than the God King, or the Guard in the rebirth chamber, the game resets to just before the fight they lost. Players can use two special abilities, located at the top of the screen, both of which require time to recharge after use. They can use a Super Attack, which stuns the opponent temporarily, or use magic to heal or attack by tapping the icon and then drawing a specific symbol. When attacking, the player can swipe in any direction, and can do specific combinations of attacks to deal extra damage.
In addition to combat, there is also a mild role-playing component. An experience points system levels up the player and the player's equipment, which consists of weapons, armor, shields, helms, and magic rings. Weapons vary in power (the Steel Blade, the game's default starting weapon, deals 4 hit points in damage whereas the Infinity Blade deals 200) and some have added Elemental Damage modifiers, including Fire, Ice, Poison, Lightning, Light, Dark and Life. These all deal further damage to the opponent (with the exception of Life, which restores the character's hit points), and Light, Lightning and Poison both continue to deal damage for some time after the blow. Enemies may be immune to the Elemental Damage. Armor adds hit points onto the character's health. Shields allow the player to block attacks, and some also provide protection against different types of Elemental Damage. Helmets modify various skills (some add extra points to health, damage, magic etc.) and some helmets also have bonus modifiers increasing the amount of gold an enemy drops, or increasing the likelihood that an enemy will drop an item after being defeated. Rings are used for magical attacks and healing.
Pieces of equipment have special properties and a predetermined amount of experience points required to master them. Mastering a piece of equipment increases its sale value but it decreases the experience the player receives by one-fifth. Players gain points when their experience level increases or they master a piece of equipment; these points can be spent to improve the character's health, attack, shield power or magic. Each point can only be allocated once and is a permanent upgrade to the character. Each point adds a single point of value to the characters skills (so adding a point to the character's attack value will result in the character dealing one more hit point in damage), with the exception of health where using the point adds 60 hit points onto the character's health bar. Players can purchase new equipment using in-game money found throughout the castle, either in sacks found scattered arbitrarily throughout the surroundings or in treasure chests dotted around the map, or received from defeated enemies. In-game money can also be purchased directly in the game with real money.
Chair Entertainment has released four expansions as free updates to the game. The first, released December 20, 2010, added a new enemy, equipment, microtransactions, and the ability to play MP3 music in the background. It also removed the experience level cap. The second update, titled Infinity Blade: The Deathless Kings, was released on March 2, 2011 and added a new branch to the journey through the castle accessible by traveling a path down through the dungeons. This expansion added new equipment, enemies, and a new ending to the game in which the player defeats an ancestor of the player's character; this ancestor tells him that the titular Infinity Blade that the player acquires upon killing the God King has the ability to prevent immortals like the God King from resurrecting after death.
The third update, titled Infinity Blade: Arena, released May 19, 2011, added player vs. player functionality called "Arena Mode", a tiered combat game progression where one player fights as the hero and the other as a series of enemies from the game, instead of buying equipment, the player playing as the antagonist can only buy characters to play as and rings. The update also included a single-player version of Arena Mode called "Survival Mode" and new equipment. On October 4, 2011 a fourth update added a new enemy, new equipment, and sneak peeks at the forthcoming sequels Infinity Blade II and Infinity Blade: Awakening.
Infinity Blade was created by Chair Entertainment, a subsidiary company of Epic Games. The game was first conceived in the first half of 2009 as a Kinect title for the Xbox 360, but development was shifted to iOS. The game uses Epic's Unreal Engine 3 graphics engine, which the company had previously sold for use on numerous console and personal computer games. The development team consisted of twelve people, and developed the game over five months. Originally codenamed "Project Sword", it was unveiled by Epic Games at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2010 in June 2010. The game was released on December 9, 2010; while Chair itself spent little on marketing, Apple used the game extensively in advertisements for its devices. Chair began developing the first update for the game before the initial game was released and intended only to add new monsters and features, but added the ability to purchase gold due to customer requests.
The music for the game was composed by Josh Aker, who had written the music for previous Chair games. The soundtrack is intended by Aker to be "intense", and is a mixture of live and synthetic instrument performances, especially on the cello and nyckelharpa. The soundtrack is sold as a digital album, Infinity Blade: Original Soundtrack, through several online music retailers.
Infinity Blade sold very well at launch, selling more than 270,000 copies and making over $1.4 million in its first four days after release, making it the "fastest-grossing app" ever released for iOS up to that point. By the end of 2011 it had made at least $23 million in revenue. About half of the game's sales have been for variants of the iPhone, with the rest split between the iPad and the iPod.
Unlike most iOS games, Infinity Blade was reviewed by several major gaming sites. It was well received; IGN gave the game its Editor's Choice award and reviewer Hilary Goldstein, who praised both the graphics and gameplay, said that it was "a beautiful, addictive, and surprisingly deep game easily among the best available on iOS 4 devices."1UP.com's Matt Clark also enjoyed the graphics and gameplay, calling them "near console-quality", but was less enthusiastic about the role-playing elements than the battles, finding them to be repetitive and "slightly more monotonous" each time the player goes through the game's cycle. Several other reviewers came to the same conclusions about the game, such as Mark Brown of Eurogamer, who called it "ferociously satisfying, well designed and well executed" despite being "alarmingly repetitious". Nick Chester of Destructoid agreed, saying that it is addictive with a repetitive rhythm, while Edge's review repeated Clark's criticism of the RPG mechanics while praising the visuals, art direction and ease of playing for a few minutes or a few battles. Tracy Erickson of Pocket Gamer felt the game was an "achievement on multiple levels" and that it "should be recognised for its gameplay as much as its graphics".
On October 28, 2011 Epic Games and Adrenaline Amusements released an arcade version of the game, titled Infinity Blade FX. The game is played on a 46-inch screen, ringed with optical sensors in order to mimic a large iPhone or iPad screen. Each arcade stand contains up to three screens, and players can play against each other as well as the single-player game.
A sequel to the iOS game, Infinity Blade II, was announced on October 4, 2011 during the Apple iPhone 4S Presentation Keynote. It was released on December 1, 2011. The sequel features enhanced graphics, a new storyline, and new fighting styles. A novella bridging the stories of the two games titled Infinity Blade: Awakening and written by best-selling author Brandon Sanderson was released as an e-book on October 4, 2011.
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