Chair's Infinity Blade [$2.99] hit the App Store late last year and was met with nearly flawless critical reception. We couldn't help but give it five stars in our review, saying "It doesn't get much more 'must-have' than this." We then went on to name-drop Infinity Blade all over our Best iPhone Games category, listing it highly in every buyer's guide, and every other opportunity we could think of to tell people to download it.

At the iPhone 4S press event, Chair announced Infinity Blade 2, and I'm not sure it's possible for another iOS title (aside from a potential Infinity Blade 3) to have this much pre-launch hype. It's well deserved, too. The original was fantastic, and really, all Chair would have needed to do is phone in a sequel with new monsters, new equipment, and maybe even a new setting and we all would have been happy. Instead, what they've done, it take nearly every element of the original and turned it up to eleven.

One of the few criticisms people had of Infinity Blade was the oddly cyclical nature of the game, which wasn't held up by any more than a vague shell of a story involving your entire bloodline serving the single purpose of throwing themselves at the God King. Penny Arcade nailed it in a comic, and Infinity Blade was a much better experience if you didn't focus on just how silly it was that you decided to take up the sword after your father, grand father, great grandfather, great great grandfather and however many "greats" you needed to add to get back to the original knight who foolishly decided to make this your family's purpose.

Infinity Blade 2 feels like it has an actual story, and this time it's told through actual voiceovers. It picks up where the first left off, and you've got the God King's Infinity Blade in your hands, and are off to find "The Worker of Secrets" now that every deathless in the world is interested in taking the Infinity Blade from you. The initial hook involves searching for Saydhi, an information dealer. Thankfully, Saydhi seems to love duels, and offers up prizes for winning. I won't spoil more than that (and this hardly counts as spoilers since it all transpires in the first cut scene) but the way things branch out from there is substantially more interesting than the original even though you'll be doing a similar series of loops through the game.

Combat, the main draw of Infinity Blade seems to be greatly improved. Chair must have either tweaked the combat animations themselves, how the swipe input is handled, or both as it feels like you have an even more direct control link to your character. This shines even further in the new combat options which become available, allowing you to trade your shield to either dual wield or carry a massive two handed weapon.

The three fighting styles feel substantially different, and help greatly in making the game feel not quite as repetitive. With two weapons in hand, you attack much faster and blocking with your shield is replaced with being able to duck. Two handed weapons are much slower, and your defensive abilities are swapped with blocking using the actual weapon itself. It's really cool how it all works out.

The item store is back, and just like the first game you'll be trading your gold for gear at regular intervals. A new gem system allows for higher levels of customization though, and it won't take long before your equipped set of gear has all sorts of slots that you can socket gems into which can do basic things like boost stats all the way up to imbuing your items with various magical properties. If coming across gold in battles is a problem, Infinity Blade 2 offers a similar IAP purchase system to buy more gold if you want. Although, like the original, there's really no reason to and buying gold to get the best items seems to just remove any drive to actually play the game since equipment upgrades play such a big role.

Outside of fights, the gameplay is nearly identical with a world you can explore in an on-rails fashion, panning the camera around and tapping to move to the next location. Hidden items are back, encouraging you to stop to look around on every screen so you don't miss anything. You'll want to, too, because Infinity Blade 2 looks gorgeous. While you might be rewarded with items for doing it, you'll also be taking in the scenery just to marvel at the graphics your iPhone is capable of pumping out.

The rest of the game can easily be summed up with, "It's Infinity Blade, but more." There are more enemy types to fight, more visual effects, more flexibility, more customization, and they managed to do all this while removing how repetitive the original felt after blasting through the game a few times. It's everything I wanted in a sequel, and I can't wait for it to be released.

Infinity Blade 2 will be available on December 1st as a universal app for $6.99. We'll have a full review then, so stay tuned.

  • http://twitter.com/VULTR3 Mike

    omg i love affinity blaaaaade

    • Logan Mendelsohn

      anyone know if will work on the iphone 4?

  • http://www.facebook.com/Fi2do Brian Gonzalez

    I wonder how different this will actually look on an iPhone 4

    • http://twitter.com/Sanuku Sanuku

      Don`t worry about that. I will make sure that toucharcade.com will be the first who will be able to show all the Version on the different iDevices (iPhone 4;iPhone 4S; iPad 2)

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CN5B3ROVDFAFDYBQTPCMD3C3OI James Bond

        We love you Sanuku

      • http://twitter.com/DaKleine Mark

        Don't worry I'm going to make an iPod Touch 4 gameplay video, and you can compare that to Sanuku's video! ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=664531244 Daniel Skatter

    Just curious, and please no spoilers for the new game....does this tie into the Infinity Blade eBook that Brandon Sanderson wrote? i.e. does the story actually make that novella a true bridging narrative?

    • Anonymous

      It sounds like IB II kind of starts off like... where 2/3rds into the book was. Because (without spoiling much) The book told the story of Saydhi and the duel Siris had with her for the revealing of "The Worker of Secrets", but I am not 100% how much it will all tie in really. Would be really cool though, as I thought the book was really good. 

  • Anonymous

    You guys think that Infinity Blade is going to be the iOS hallmark?  Kina like Mario is to Nintendo or Halo to XBox?

    • Anonymous

      Unfortunately, probably not. Although they've used IB in their press conference twice and their stores have its images plastered on the walls, the store (locally, anyway) doesn't demo the game on their two dozen iOS devices... when has Nintendo ever not demo'ed Mario? I agree that IB probably should be, though.

      • Anonymous

        That is not exactly what I meant.  i don't expect Apple to adopt IB as its serrate child... I guess Halo is a better example.  It is an unofficial XBox game but has become synonymous with the platform(s).  I am ashamed to say that I have an XBox360 but do not own any Halo games... probably because I beat them all with friends before I got a 360.  Still.  A good rule of thumb is that pretty much all 360 owners have a Halo Title.  

        It would be interesting to see IB become the staple of IOS gaming

      • Anonymous

        Really doubt that Infinity Blade would ever become the iOS hallmark, because it is a third party game, not first party. Epic and Chair have already hinted that they're considering porting it to other systems and platforms, and have even demoed an Infinity Blade/Epic Citadel game on the Vita (back when it was still referred to as the NGP). By the way, Halo isn't a "fake Xbox game" (by that I think you mean it's not first party). It's published by Microsoft, and is one of their IPs. It's first party.

      • Anonymous

        Never said it was fake.  And I was not aware that it was made by Microsoft.

      • Anonymous

        spell check also misspelled surrogate.  

      • Anonymous

        Published, not made, although they do own the IP.

      • Anonymous

        Yes, the first 4 (main) games were done by Bungie, not Microsoft. Halo 4 is developed by Microsoft (one of their studios) and so was Halo Wars. It's kind of funky because it is both a second and first party game. It is a Microsoft IP though.

      • Anonymous

        I think you edited your comment... Not all the games were made by Microsoft. The main games have been made by Bungie.

      • Anonymous

        Infinity Blade started out as a Kinect  title for the X360 before Chair decided to switch development to iOS, so it would surprise me if they do not now bring some sort of Infinity Blade game to XBox with Kinect. There is also an arcade version of Infinity Blade that uses a 48 inch touch screen that is due to be released by the end of the year: http://arcadeheroes.com/2011/10/14/hands-on-with-infinity-blade-fx/

      • Anonymous

        Yeah, I remember reading about that on Kotaku

    • Anonymous

      I don't think so, but it is not a fault of the the game.

      The main character simply isn't iconic enough. Mario, Sonic, Link, Master Chief are all unique looking. The main character in infinity blade looks however you want him to, making him not nearly as iconic.

      • http://twitter.com/DaKleine Mark

        LoL, there isn't even really a main character in Infintiy Blade 1, because they always die in the end...

  • Jonas

    While ALL the rest looks and sounds just oh, so good, I hafta say: oh, noe, english voice acting. The peculiar language used in the first game really fit the mood, and contributed to immersion.

    (Also, I liked the bare-boned story of the first game, and the cyclical concept of son after son carrying on his father's calling. Not for the actual storytelling or plotline, but for the sad, melancholic, lonely sensation it instilled, and the dark, hopeless sensation of a nevernending, bitter battle.)

  • Adams Immersive

    Any chance of an Infinity Blade / Fruit Ninja crossover? Your father failed to slice a kiwi, as did his father before him? I like both games in a similar way—let me combine them!

  • Anonymous

    I really hope this game will run on iPhone 4/iPod touch 4G without a hitch, It's really sounding like it's going to really shine on 4S (and I would expect nothing less) but I really hope that it goes okay on the gen before. I really want this game lol. 

  • Anonymous

    I'm probably one of the few who isn't excited for the game. Story? There was no story in the first Infinity Blade, I doubt that the one in the second will be any better except for mystic guys talking mystic stuff. As far as gameplay goes, the first was a joke, sorry but that's my opinion. The dual wield and two-hander option sounds interesting, but the fact that they just took the same killing and enemy motion animations from Infinity Blade and ported them over to the sequel just makes me frown. Graphics are stunning, no doubt, but that doesn't make a good game. In the end, just like the first one, this is rather a tech demo to me than anything else. Again, this is just my opinion 

    • Joe Apostolidis

      Well you are aware there was a short official book written by fantasy writer Brandon Sanderson called Infinity Blade: Awakening that fills in the story and set the stage for the sequel. Among other things It cleverly explains the whole bloodlines thing and why you keep your experience as well as kit from one bloodline to the next. Without making it too obvious think of what religion Steve Jobs followed. ;)

    • http://twitter.com/BulkSlash BulkSlash

      Yeah it didn't really hold my attention long term either and I deleted it a while back. Oddly enough, I still have Epic Citadel on my phone. I still enjoy wandering around the city every so often.

      It's a pity Chair didn't have the time/resources to expand Epic Citadel into a full game with exploration and quests, etc. Either that or a mobile Shadow Complex sequel...

  • Anonymous

    I can't wait. IB is the only game I've never deleted off my phone. I've tried several of the recent, similar games (Dark Meadow, Blood and Glory) and am just disappointed and go back and play the real deal... especially B&G, since it asks you to pay more than the price tag of IB in IAPs for a far inferior game.

  • Anonymous

    One question: Has the increased graphical spankiness of IB2 cost the smooth framerate IB1 enjoyed on A5 devices?

    I like framerate more than I like fancy screenshots, I'm hoping IB2 won't be a step backward in that regard.

  • Anonymous

    One question: Has the increased graphical spankiness of IB2 cost the smooth framerate IB1 enjoyed on A5 devices?

    I like framerate more than I like fancy screenshots, I'm hoping IB2 won't be a step backward in that regard.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CN5B3ROVDFAFDYBQTPCMD3C3OI James Bond

    Ewww, they speak in English? I really liked the whatever language they used in IB1. Romania combined with Latin or something I believe? It made it seem more authentic. :)

    • Anonymous

      Dang... Beat me to it.

  • Anonymous

    I'm really excited for this! Looks great so far. I know its minor, but the only thing I don't like is the voice acting- I preferred it as a made up language, because it made you feel like you were in a foreign world. Now that it's in English, it just doesn't seem... right. People in a foreign world speaking English out of nowhere... that's so plausible. I know other games do a similar thing- but I'm fine with it, because they didn't apprubtly change the way they talked between games. Should've just kept it the same. Imagine watching a new Star Wars movie where Wookies are able to speak English... it would be weird. Breaks the canon.

  • Anonymous

    I didnt really like the first Infinity Blade, not sure I'll like the second one at all. Thats not to say I think those games are bad, theyre mechanically sound games that look great the gameplay in the first just failed to grab my interest.

  • Curtis Shideler

    I'm kind of torn. When I saw Epic Citadel, I was blown away! Then Infinity Blade came out, and I enjoyed it, but I absolutely missed the free roaming nature of Epic Citadel. I was really hoping that Chair would incorporate EC's free roaming controls into IB2... But unfortunately, it sounds like its just more on-rails swiping and looking around. I'll probably get it because I did enjoy IB. However, I just wished they went back to Epic Citadel and dropped a game into that world and allow you to go anywhere... kind of like Aralon and Ravensword. Chair could knock those games out of the water if they added a little more adventuring to all of this swiping action.

  • Anonymous

    still haven't touched the first one since buying it, didn't see a point after the ipad2 updates, will wait for the ipad3, and then pick this one up at that point.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WI4G66W4J3DNS7K7TBP2DQYK6M Greg

    Oh man!  I thought this was 4S and iPad2 only!  It WILL run on my iPhone 4!!!  All over this!!!

  • http://twitter.com/back2this Sean Yuan

    Can't freaking wait.

    @back2this:twitter 

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

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    game.The desian originated from the Chinese ancient board game.

    Mr.Fang Free! Free! All Free!

  • http://twitter.com/cuesta_javier Javier Cuesta

    The language at infinity blade has some Spanish to it, as at the beginning Siris says: Padre = father
    I'm a English to Spanish translator. I'd looove to translate Infinity Blade: Awakening :)

    • http://twitter.com/Pepetorde José Tordesillas

      Well, I think he doesn't actually say "padre", but "patrie".