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May 20, 2011 1:45 PM   Subscribe

Infinity Blade is an iOS game available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. It is typically seen as a send-up of the classic game Punch-Out!! mashed up with roleplaying game conventions such as experience points and character-modifying equipment. Its defining trait is that it relies upon new game+ to advance your character (actually your character's family/bloodline) and the story. J. Nicholas Geist over at Kill Screen has written a review to match the game.
posted by curious nu (43 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hey! Something I worked on makes it to the front page (the Kill Screen site & review, not the game).
posted by yerfatma at 1:49 PM on May 20, 2011


This FPP really buries the lede - the gem here is the review.

This is how you do online games journalism in a way that's not just copy-and-pasting a print article.
posted by The demon that lives in the air at 1:54 PM on May 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wow, that was entirely the kind of thing which can never be achieved outside a dynamic medium.

Can we pretty please have Italo Calvino write a novel that does things like this while you read it?
posted by hippybear at 1:58 PM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


That review is great.
posted by chunking express at 2:04 PM on May 20, 2011


Apropos of nothing, the art director of Infinity Blade is an awesome guy.
posted by Mr. Palomar at 2:04 PM on May 20, 2011


To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
posted by jenkinsEar at 2:05 PM on May 20, 2011


People running noscript will need to give permission to Googlecode.com as well as killscreendaily.com, otherwise it won't work.
posted by Lorc at 2:09 PM on May 20, 2011


That review is a stunner. What's the tech behind it? (i know 'javascript', but how was it implemented)
posted by empath at 2:11 PM on May 20, 2011


It's all in jQuery and JavaScript. Script is here.
posted by yerfatma at 2:19 PM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Brilliant. I thought it was just a short review, and then I disabled noscript and adblock. Conveys compellingly the mechanic of the game.
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:19 PM on May 20, 2011


I love the presentation of the review, but that game makes me want to die. It's the hamster wheel to end all hamster wheels.
posted by iwhitney at 2:20 PM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Can we pretty please have Italo Calvino write a novel that does things like this while you read it?

Calvino's been dead for 25 years. His daughter isn't an author.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 2:21 PM on May 20, 2011


This is one of the best reviews I've ever read, btw.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 2:21 PM on May 20, 2011


Ok, so it's nowhere near as cool, but I learned a good deal about moon phases when building this review (where the score changes each phase).
posted by yerfatma at 2:22 PM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Calvino's been dead for 25 years.

Yes, I know. I also know that if wishes were horses, I'd be riding right now.
posted by hippybear at 2:27 PM on May 20, 2011


I'm not really a gamer (or, not at all, if you don't think of Angry Birds or Tiny Wings as "real" games), but boy, does that review make me want to play this. So cool.
posted by rtha at 2:29 PM on May 20, 2011


It's a good review because it gives me an idea of whether I want to play the game or not. (And that'd be not.)
posted by seanmpuckett at 2:35 PM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Zoe Keating's "Into The Trees" is a great soundtrack to go along with the review.
posted by jazon at 3:01 PM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was thinking of making an FPP for this review, too. Making the rounds today, isn't it?
posted by neuromodulator at 3:04 PM on May 20, 2011


I don't usually buy iPhone games but I've been meaning to get this (and that art game that was linked here recently) for ages. I'm worried it will kill my battery life though.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 3:04 PM on May 20, 2011


The review is awesome - very cleverly done, although I did get a twitchy feeling a couple of times where I was wishing that it would hurry up. Yes, I can read. Yes, I can read faster than that.

In fact, I kind of want to go and get the game. Even though it's probably a bit grindy it sounds like a clever concept (but then again, isn't that what pretty much every game was back in the 8-bit days? Learn pattern. Die. Repeat but improve. Learn new pattern. Die. Perhaps not that new a concept after all) - but it's almost certain to not run on the 3G. Ho hum.

And 'ouroboros' is a word that definitely should get more usage!
posted by Chunder at 3:05 PM on May 20, 2011


That review is really neat. Thanks for posting.
posted by brundlefly at 3:06 PM on May 20, 2011


I enjoyed the game, but it is pure rpg treadmill game play. It's definitely one to show off what the phone can do though.
posted by empath at 3:09 PM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


The only iPhone game anyone needs is GeoDefense.
posted by neuromodulator at 3:14 PM on May 20, 2011


Can't those geodes defend themselves?

Oh, wait. Never mind.
posted by hippybear at 3:32 PM on May 20, 2011


Can we pretty please have Italo Calvino write a novel that does things like this while you read it?

If we are reanimating corpses, can we get Borges to do some short stories as well?
posted by Falconetti at 3:32 PM on May 20, 2011


Wow. That review was amazing.
posted by flaterik at 4:08 PM on May 20, 2011


If we are reanimating corpses, can we get Borges to do some short stories as well?

Just go to the infinite library -- you can find whatever you like there.

Kust go to the infinite library -- you can find whatever you like there.

Lust go to the infinite library -- you can find whatever you like there.

Must go to the infinite library -- you can find whatever you like there.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 4:10 PM on May 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


WOW! What awesome storytelling in that review.

The game, like people have said, gameplay wise is pure rpg treadmill -- great words, empath. You skill up, you kill bosses, you skill up, etcetera. I laughed when the son showed up and decided to repeat the whole grind.

BUT... you buy it so you can go HOO LEEE SHIT the phone can do this? iPhone or iPad 2, it really just looks gorgeous and fluid.
posted by cavalier at 4:10 PM on May 20, 2011


Kill Screen is so brilliant and so necessary.
posted by oulipian at 4:31 PM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


<3 Kill Screen.

The real danger in Infinity Blade, and all the games like it in the App Store, is not so much that it is grindy (some people apparently like that), but that it is intentionally designed to be extra grindy as a way to encourage people to spend real money on gold to buy items in the game. RMT used to be a serious faux pas, now it seems like the next big business model.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 4:40 PM on May 20, 2011


Obligatory Penny Arcade take. It is pretty, fun, and yes grindy, though I've never felt compelled to guy "gold" or else never get the next weapon/helmet/ring. I mean, gold is just laying around in bags if you know where to look.
posted by sysinfo at 4:49 PM on May 20, 2011


RMT used to be a serious faux pas, now it seems like the next big business model.

Not really. It's the current big business model.

I played through Infinity Blade quite a few times, grinding upwards, unlocking gear, fighting tougher and tougher enemies. It's interesting and the game does evolve in subtle ways as you progress. Enemies' tactics improve over time, that's the biggie. The slow progression of the review from straightforward description of mechanics, to philosophical reflection on grinding, to philosophical reflection on iterative game mechanics, to philosophical riffing, is a pretty good mirror of my own feelings about the game. Appreciation, interest, slow boredom, re-ignited curiosity at the mechanic, and eventual drift to something else.

It's a good game, though, and there's a lot more room for stuff like that in the iOS/Android/indie/Steam world than there is in traditional console stuff. With a relatively low price tag compared to something like Fallout III, you don't have to squeeze 60 hours of gameplay out of it to feel like you've enjoyed it...
posted by verb at 5:01 PM on May 20, 2011


That review is great, just because it makes me think I learned something rather than wasting 6 billion hours on that fucking game. Really, once you get to level 90 or so the God King is like level 600 and it's IMPOSSIBLE.
posted by fungible at 5:21 PM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


For people who enjoy text games, there's something similar (though I don't want to spoil it) in Victor Gijsbers' 'The Baron', which takes about twenty minutes to play and I think about once a week still two years later.
posted by piato at 5:33 PM on May 20, 2011


The Kill Screen Infinity Blade Review is just brilliant. While there I was also impressed with the review for Bumpy Ride, which, as a game is pretty moving and has charm to spare.
posted by Verdant at 7:11 PM on May 20, 2011


...but it's almost certain to not run on the 3G.

It doesn't. Damn it.
posted by steambadger at 8:24 PM on May 20, 2011


Very nice. It's a great reminder of the things you can do with the internet - even text doesn't have to be static and boring. As a reviewer, I am impressed and slightly jealous.
posted by MShades at 11:52 PM on May 20, 2011


That review is good (although it would've been better if I hadn't read it all first in full noscript mode before I tried the incremental version).

This is as good a time as any to link to my favourite game review ever (of this game).
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 1:01 AM on May 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Reminded me of the old school arcade game Dragon's Lair. Gotta get that timing exactly right to play the next cartoon segment.
posted by zardoz at 1:57 AM on May 21, 2011


I think I've figured out what the review really is - a direct message to the developers. The review's final iterations, where it all crumbles down to something so very simple, reveal that message. Keep going, and keep trying for something better. It may have been a coincidence that the game's score popped up into view around that time. A score of 63. Universally meh. But the hidden message of the review is a word of encouragement. Keep going - you've shown that you have incredibly good ideas; you just need to express them better. You can give up, or you can do what many others have done and eke out a living making mediocre things that still profit, or you can keep going in the hope of doing better, of having better, of being better. Because that's the only way that anything ever gets better.
posted by BiggerJ at 2:47 AM on May 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow, is all of Kill Screen that good? How have I not been reading this already?
posted by aaronbeekay at 11:26 AM on May 21, 2011


I love the review. Just wish I were better at parrying, but I'm only on Bloodline 2.
posted by dragonplayer at 6:03 PM on May 21, 2011


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