Infinity Blade: Arena Review
Forget about killing the God King. In this update, you are the God King.
After months of waiting, Chair Entertainment finally brought online multiplayer to its critically acclaimed and award winning video game, Infinity Blade. Now iPhone and iPad owners can test their skills against an endless supply of opponents.
The new mode is a best of seven round match that alternates characters, giving players the chance to enjoy the game as the heroic knight or a treacherous Titan.
That said, prepare for a learning curve. The knight plays similar to the character in the single player quest, as you tap left and right arrows to dodge attacks and then blitz the opposition with a Super Attack that puts the other person in a dizzying and vulnerable state. Bottom line, this should feel instantly familiar if you played the campaign.
The Titan, meanwhile, is much trickier. Instead of using the arrows, you set the creature's attack speed by adjusting an Attack Slider on the left side of the screen, then swipe to pummel your adversary. Whenever the monster takes damage, you must tap skulls that float around to recover. You also have a limited time to attack before your character becomes dizzy and therefore susceptible to damage.
It takes a little while to get the hang of, but once you do, multiplayer's quite enjoyable, especially in between matches, where the developers let you purchase new upgrades with acquired gold; you can even switch Titans, opting for the almighty God King. This not only creates a fun element of surprise, but also forces both players to one up each other.
Unfortunately, a lot of sore losers drop out before the battle's over, and this sends Infinity Blade into a tailspin or sorts, where the game struggles to kick the remaining player out of the lobby and back into the single player mode. Thus, you'll probably have to restart the device. This gets annoying quick.
As for the rest of the update, a new Survival mode pits you against an endless stream of Titans. It works similar to multiplayer (you earn gold and spend it on better equipment), except health doesn't automatically regenerate.
In addition, Chair included new achievements and items to snag, including rings, swords, shields and holiday themed helmets. Nice touch.
With all of this taken into account, the Arena update only serves to enhance an already stellar video game, but Chair still has work to do to make multiplayer more technically sound. Once that happens, we'll improve the score.
Final Score: 3 (out of 5)
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), and iPad. Requires iOS 3.2 or later.