Hands-on with Chair's Infinity Blade II

A tale of souls and swords, eternally retold

Hands-on with Chair's Infinity Blade II
| Infinity Blade II

Infinity Blade was always about persistence. Sheer pig-headed tenacity. The sort of unwavering doggedness that saw you wasting countless lives and enduring endless bloodshed in a slow war of attrition against a seemingly unbeatable baddy.

In fact, it took most of us about ten goes to finally dispatch the God King. You needed to buff your stats by climbing up the levels. You had to overhaul your arsenal before you even had a chance. Plus, you needed to truly master the controls.

In the end, the ordeal paid off. There was a real sense of satisfaction when you finally landed that winning blow on the God King. Your determination worked, your millions in gold weren't spent on shiny helmets in vain, and a bloodline was finally avenged. Mission accomplished, and all that.


So, brace yourself for the news from our hands-on with Infinity Blade's successor - Infinity Blade II features no fewer than six high-level titans to beat. Six monster bad guys with more hit points than you can count, swords taller than the main character, and a whirlwind blizzard of fighting moves that will finish you off in two seconds flat.

See, the underlying formula in Infinity Blade II is very much the same as the Gold Award-winning first game. You move from place to place by tapping on highlighted areas in the environment, you dispatch a series of nasty titans on the way to an end boss, and then you quickly, unceremoniously, and all-out embarrassingly get your butt handed to you on a silver platter. Back to the start with you, sonny.

But, much in the same way that Infinity Blade's God King has been amped up to become six boss characters this time around, almost every element in Chair Entertainment's sequel is now bigger and more complicated than its predecessor.

Back from the dead

Take the combat system. It's very familiar at first glance: you deal with foes by slashing your finger across the screen. You'll want to parry, dodge, and block attacks until you get an opportunity to deal damage. You slash for all your might until your opponent finally wises up and blocks your storm of attacks.

Now, though, you're judged on the efficiency of your attacks. You can also customise your gear with special gems (which might make your sword spit fire or increase the likelihood of stumbling across treasure), and you can pick from three different weapon classes.

There are the classic sword and shield, the more zippy dual blade load-out (which replaces the block button with a duck), and the heavy weapon class (which lets you block from three directions). They have their own special moves, and work well for different types of player.

Another cool addition to the combat in Infinity Blade II is the XP Bonus. Some bosses offer a criterion - like perform three perfect parries or go an entire fight without blocking - which nets you extra experience points if met. Little things like this freshen up what was already a fun and satisfying fighting system.

Rise from your grave

The overworld has been given a few tweaks, too. This new clan of deathless leaders hangs out in a fresh castle - one that's significantly bigger and way less linear than the fortress of Infinity Blade. It has snaking corridors, underground passageways, and gates that get unlocked the more you play.

You'll have areas that change over time - a sapling steadily grows into a tree as you go through the bloodlines, for example, and new areas are opened up as you off the titan bosses. There are still potions and sacks of gold to tap on, but now you can also find (or buy) keys to open locked chests.

It's also safe to say that the entire thing looks extremely gorgeous, and that Chair has pushed the Unreal Engine as hard as it will go on current iOS devices. The bad guys (of which there are now several more types) look truly menacing, the environmental textures are more detailed, and the lighting effects will make you question how Chair managed to get something so swish onto an iPad 2.

You again?

One huge new focus for Infinity Blade II is the story. The bare-bones narrative of the first game has been ditched in favour of a winding tale with a cast of characters, lengthy cutscenes, and voice acting - this time in English, rather than Chair's made-up tongue. It's a little cheesy, and oftentimes very confusing (maybe we needed to read the tie-in novel...), but we've only scratched the surface so far.

Anyway. Infinity Blade is back and it's ready for a second go - fittingly enough - looking familiar, but stronger and more capable than ever before. It's obvious that Chair's persistence in making a worthy follow-up to Infinity Blade has paid off, because Infinity Blade II is pretty much everything that a fan of the first game could hope for. We can't wait to dig in deeper.

Mark Brown
Mark Brown
Mark Brown spent several years slaving away at the Steel Media furnace, finally serving as editor at large of Pocket Gamer before moving on to doing some sort of youtube thing.