If ever there was a game tailor-made for use on the iPad, Infinity Blade II is that game. Fans of the exceedingly popular first iteration of this game for iUsers will likely purchase the inexpensive second wave ($6.99 in the iTunes store) simply to continue the adventure. And while the gameplay presents a familiar formula for the adventure genre (hero must battle low-level ogres and other evil foes and grab treasure in order to level up so that he can fight bigger baddies, culminating in an epic end-battle), what stands out about this game is not the storyline. So those looking for the next God of War or Assassin’s Creed probably won’t find this game fulfilling on the storytelling level. But anyone seeking spectacularly rendered graphics and interactive controls that were created to make the most of the iPad’s touch capabilities will find a lot to love in Infinity Blade II.
This hack-and-slash franchise from Chair Entertainment sets itself apart from other games in the genre mainly through the use of fluid graphics and their attention to detail concerning the unique touch control pad. While some games persist in forcing users to play via D-pad (placed in the lower corner of the screen), Infinity Blade II utilizes the unparalleled possibilities offered by the iPad touchscreen to allow users to tap and swipe their way through battles for a far more immersive gaming experience. It is also available for the iPod Touch and iPhone, but in all honesty, you’re missing out if you don’t at least try it on the iPad, simply because it’s difficult to take advantage of the controls with only your thumbs.
As mentioned, the story concept is rather simple. There’s a hero (Siris) who must defeat enemies (the Deathless Tyrants and their mob of minions) and solve a mystery along the way (unlock the secret of the Infinity Blade!). That’s about it. There’s a reason it’s called a hack-and-slash game; that’s pretty much all you’ll do. And while the second entry in the franchise allows for the creation of new weapons, features bigger and badder enemies to spar with, and comes with the option to form “mobs” with your Facebook and Twitter friends (a feature that is still getting some tweaks), it’s a pretty straightforward scenario. But in addition to the addictive gameplay (one user raved in a review, “I live this game!” – not love, live), you simply cannot deny that the visuals are truly spectacular.
Gaming pundits have declared the graphics in this game to be about as close to the level of console games as a mobile offering has gotten, making it the only mobile game of its type to overwhelmingly earn such heady accolades. It could have something to do with their pioneering efforts to bring the Unreal Engine to the mobile gaming world. In fact, the graphics engine was popularized for use on mobile devices by the first Infinity Blade, and although other games have adopted Epic’s software in a bid to improve their own graphics, the second version of Infinity Blade manages to surpass not only its own earlier version, but pretty much every other mobile game out there in terms of visual acuity (the Retina Display probably doesn’t hurt). You might still need your Air Optix Aqua contact lenses to see the screen, but you’ll be glad you put them in when the spectacular 3D world comes into focus. The plot may be virtually worthless, but with addictive gameplay and stunning graphics to keep you glued to your tablet you’ll be hard pressed to find a better game on the market.
Thanks to Evan Fischer for this guest post. He is a freelance writer and part-time student at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California.