Not to be lost amongst the craziness that has ensued with the ending of E3 last week – with a hectic travel schedule, a major California freeway being shut down for an entire day, and preparing for WWDC in San Francisco this week – I was able to spend some time with a demo version of Infinity Blade: Dungeons at Epic’s E3 booth. And I’ve got to say that it was probably my favorite iOS title at the entire show.

Epic announced Dungeons at GDC earlier this year, and released a pretty sweet trailer for the game last month. Just to refresh your memory in case you forgot, Infinity Blade Dungeons takes place in the Infinity Blade universe and is more of a Diablo-style hack ‘n slash RPG rather than a guided sword fighting game. Epic isn’t commenting on how the new game will intertwine with the original Infinity Blade games, but it sounds like it takes place many, many years before the events in Infinity Blade 1 & 2 and will likely set up the events in some way for those games.

Since Infinity Blade Dungeons is an action game with free movement, not on rails, controls for the touchscreen must be carefully considered, and this is something that Epic absolutely nails. Simply touch where you’d like your character to go, or hold your finger down and drag for them to follow it.

Other similar games have tried this control scheme in the past, so it’s not necessarily revolutionary, but the way Epic has implemented it is nearly flawless, and you really aren’t even thinking about fiddling around with controlling your character after just a few minutes of play. It just feels natural, and doesn't get in the way of playing at all. Another thing that helps this is the dynamic camera that follows you around the game world, sweeping and zooming perfectly to make sure you always have the best few of the action.

Various swiping gestures and taps take care of selecting enemies and engaging in combat. Simply swipe at an enemy (or barrel or other breakable object, for that matter) to attack, and multiple swipes in a row will perform a combo of several attacks at once. It feels fast and fluid, and reminds me of previous action games like the newer Ninja Gaiden games or the God of War series, but not necessarily as complex. Still a lot of fun, though.

You can also perform special moves using a double tap on an enemy, or holding on your character to charge up and dragging to the enemy to attack. Both these moves feel like they have a ton of impact, and are simple enough to execute even in the midst of a heated battle. Finally, if you're surrounded by a lot of enemies, drawing circles around your character performs a spinning attack which will hit any enemy close to you. All of these moves at variety to the combat, and can be upgraded throughout your journey as your character levels up.

Infinity Blade Dungeons is broken up into different levels, which involve cruising through an area exploring and collecting loot by smashing boxes and barrels, defeating waves of enemies at different points in the level, and culminates in a battle against a mini-boss type fight against a fairly large creature. Once a level is completed you’re thrown into a forge area where you can equip your character with whatever loot you’ve found, upgrade attributes, and literally forge yourself new weapons through a touch-based mini-game.

The mini-game where your forge weapons seemed gimmicky at first, but actually adds quite a bit to the experience. The first part involves a timing-based game somewhat similar to how you would hit a golf shot in a golfing game. On your piece of metal that you’re forging, a bar runs back and forth and you need to tap when it’s directly over dirty smudges on the metal. Your accuracy directly translates to the attributes that the weapon will have, which is nice motivation for striving to do well. The other part of the mini-game is a bit less interesting, and just involves quickly rubbing blemishes of your metal by rapidly rubbing them with your finger.

The demo was designed so that once I completed the first level I had plenty of attribute points to max out my character, as well as enough elements to create a couple of really powerful weapons. This meant that in the second level in the demo my guy was insanely overpowered, but it was also kind of neat to see the results of where you can get a character to after leveling up through the game. Plus, it was just plain fun to be demolishing all the enemies with ease.

The Infinity Blade series has also been known for being exceptionally gorgeous visually, and Dungeons is certainly no exception. I’ll leave the trailer and images to speak for themselves, but rest assured that in person the game looks absolutely amazing. It has crisp visuals, wonderful enemy and character designs, and it ran at an incredibly smooth clip (at least on the new iPad the demo was running on). I really can’t wait to get my hands on the full version when it releases later this year, and if you are interested and want to dish about all things Infinity Blade Dungeons then head over to our forums.

  • tehvar

    With diablo III out now I have been itchin for a good dungeon crawler on the iOS platform, and I think I just found my next addiction!

    • http://twitter.com/xMoonDevilx Jason Hanson

      You should try Heroes Call then for iOS. Decent graphics, but more like an actual D3 crawler game. Is really a great game.

  • RecoZG

    If only this was multiplayer..

    • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.brown.7923 Daniel Brown

      Nonononononono no. Single player is just fine, not every game under the sun has to be multiplayer.

      • Rdkjr11

        And why not? Because you don't want it? Why would you ruin it for everyone? Just don't use the multiplayer.

      • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.brown.7923 Daniel Brown

        Multiplayer means development time devoted to it, game mechanics devoted to it, servers..etc, money and time spent on adding it. Lots of multiplayer games are lacking in single player. I would rather have a solid single player experience that I don't need a connection to enjoy and that wasn't a second though because the main focus of development was spent on multiplayer.

      • Rdkjr11

        Good point. It's too bad that most games can't have it both ways...

      • shadowdarken

        Daniel Brown has a point

      • DeInit

        I would rather Chair didn't invest so much time in clashmobs I won't participate to because of blasted Facebook, the frequency resources are dedicated to those is infinit(el)y greater than that for updates like the Vault of Tears. 

    • iLootYou

      Yeah, if it only had a Coop mode like Battlebow...

  • http://twitter.com/veektor Victor Vasquez

    This is a general comment about all postings on TouchArcade, but why not link to the corresponding forum thread when recommending we head on over (http://forums.toucharcade.com/showthread.php?threadid=125025) so that we don't have to go digging through the threads to find it, as though it's 2002? I Google "Infinity Blade Dungeons Touch Arcade Forum" because, while slower than if you'd hyperlinked it, is sure is faster than browsing all the threads (which as of this posting, is on the second page of the "Upcoming Games" section. If you link to it already, I sure as sin can't find it. Apologies for the snark, but it seems like it'd be common sense.

  • expresident

    Looking forward to checking this out. I don't get a lot of time to play stuff like this at home so being able to on the go is gonna be great. The video looks great I just hope there is plenty to do and that isn't to gimmicky.

  • Plynx

    Ugh! I hate touch-to-go-here controls! It's tiring to reach all over the screen, and your hand is in the way! This isn't a mouse! Why is this even considered?

    Good invisible centerless controls like Mage Gauntlet pro swipe or Pocket RPG advanced are the best IMO.

    • http://www.jshamblin.com J.Shamblin

      It's tiring, huh? I can imagine that. Hmmmm...

      Do you were a ring or bracelet? Maybe try playing in short sleeves and without any extra weight on your hands. Also try to rest your hands on the screen sometimes. That can add a good 5-10 minutes of actually play time for you.

    • Fluffeh

      Tiring may be pushing it but I agree that your hands get in the way too much with this control scheme.

    • UnSurreal

      Hopefully they give us an option to change to stick controls.

    • Rothgarr

      While I don't think touch-and-go is "tiring" I do think it's annoying. Heroes Call is a prime example. It's a fun game but every time I play I can't help but to think what a better experience it would be if it just had the option to use virtual controls. Air Mail gives you three control options, now that's awesome.

  • cartman

    Does the game have swords or there only hammers and axes?

  • UmbraVir

    If its touch to go, I won't be making an initial purchase. Maybe if a update fixes it or a sale occurs. I'm not exactly a cheap iOS user, I just don't think that I'd need to make a release purchase if the controls arent good enough to captivate me.

    • Jacob007

      A joystick at the least, but I'd prefer something even better than a joystick.

  • jtp51

    The one game that is worth the wait.

  • ImJPaul

    I can't wait for this this. I think the controls make sense. Virtual analogs rarely work out. Epic just REALLY needs to come out with a release date. I'm so sick of not knowing. That's what's killing me.

  • twstephens

    Personally I can't wait for it. Def been wanting a great dungeon crawler on iOS and this is it! Been wanting to play since the initial announcement. Great gameplay video! Love the "boomerang" style skill used. Looks great!

  • Drewskii

    I can't wait for this but I can honestly say I'm not a fan of touch based dungeon games. To make this perfect (to me at least) a virtual joystick and buttons should be an option. Touch based mini games are fine but I don't care for touch movement.

  • jamarohn

    Joypad support would be super sweet.

  • nao

    I hope this has more content. Don't want to finish exploring the game in 10 mins like IB, then grinding same areas over and over.

  • K V

    this available for ipad only or both ipad & iphone? i hope available for iphone as well

    • ImJPaul

      They haven't said. It'll probably come out on later devices. (iPad 1,2,3 and iPhone/touch 4+) sounds like they're just really pushing it for new iPad cuz there's not really a reason to buy it.

  • http://twitter.com/chaosz911 René de Groot

    Can't wait to get my hands on this one :)

  • MidianGTX

    Genuinely shocked to see so many people asking for virtual controls. Remind me again why you bought a touchscreen device?

    • araczynski

      definitely not to have my whole hands/pointed fists plastered on the screen most of the time, obscuring the gameplay.

      • MidianGTX

        Oh, you bought a touchscreen device so you could refrain from touching the screen. Good job.

      • araczynski

        there's a difference between touching the screen for control in a game (like say dpads/buttons) and having to have your whole hand/fist over the thing constantly during gameplay.

    • khaotikbk

      remind me again why people should not have the option to choose from an array of options that would suit their tastes.

      • MidianGTX

        They can choose, sure, but you can choose many things in life, not all make sense and many of which are utterly bizarre choices.

      • Knnth Rss

        It's not a bizarre option if it suits people.

      • MidianGTX

        I suppose that's one way of looking at it. Eating faeces suits some people, but by and large it's considered somewhat bizarre.

  • araczynski

    hate 'touch/drag to go' for action rpg's also.  also kind of puzzled how the reviewer sees this as something to pop any wood over, its been done many times on ios, even 'nailed' many times, and still has never done anything but annoy me personally.

  • DeInit

    Any indication yet about supported devices?

  • Richard Paredes

    I hope that this game also get release on the OS X, with joystick support.

  • TillDeEnd

    What about prices?

  • doublezz

    Looking for multiplayer mode, it will make this game a kill.

  • Scy Bert

    Really hoping it does NOT come out for iPhone.

    • lebenebelb17

      your comment is invalid

  • whyman

    Why do you want only for iPad? As i dont have an iPad i would love to be able to play this on my 4S.

  • Caomhán Ó Foighil

    i dont think that i would mind the touch based movement if it were supported by the joypad app i think that would work out really well

  • Pixwix

    Do anyone know when it will be available pls?

  • Zhelin Wang

    cant wait ugh it hurts...