Infinity Blade is a fighting game developed by Chair Entertainment and Epic Games and released through the Apple App Store on December 9, 2010. It is the first iOS video game to run on the Unreal Engine. In the game, the unnamed player character fights a series of one-on-one battles in a derelict castle to face the immortal God King. When in battle, players swipe the screen to attack and parry, and tap the screen to dodge and block enemy attacks. Upon victory or defeat, the player restarts the game as the character’s descendant with the same items and experience level.
The game was developed by a team of twelve people, who took two months to make a playable demo and three more to finish the game. Infinity Blade was intended to demonstrate the new iOS version of the Unreal Engine, and to combine the swordplay of Karateka and Prince of Persia with the loneliness of Shadow of the Colossus. The game received four free expansions that added new equipment, endings, and game modes.
Infinity Blade was the fastest-grossing app in the history of iOS upon its release. It made US$1.6 million in its first four days, and over US$23 million by the end of 2011. It was well received by gaming critics. Reviews heavily praised the graphics and compared the mobile game favorably to console games. Critics also praised the swipe-based combat system, but split opinions on the cyclical gameplay as either addictive or repetitive. Chair later released an arcade port and two iOS sequels: Infinity Blade II and Infinity Blade III. Best-selling author Brandon Sanderson also wrote two novellas set between the games: Infinity Blade: Awakening and Infinity Blade: Redemption.
Infinity Blade was noted for its sales at launch, selling more than 270,000 copies and making over US$1.6 million in its first four days—the “fastest-grossing app” ever released for iOS at the time. By the end of 2011, it had made at least US$23 million in revenue. Around fourteen months after the initial release, Chair noted that half of the game’s sales were for the iPhone and half were for the iPad and iPod. After releasing the sequel, Epic Games noted in 2012 that the series was Epic’s most profitable by measure of revenue against person-hours spent in development.
Infinity Blade was reviewed by several major gaming sites in addition to mobile game-focused sites. Critics praised the game’s graphics heavily. IGN reviewer Hilary Goldstein said that it was “an absolute stunner for any handheld device and ushers in a new era of possibility for high-end graphics.” GamePro ’s Ryan Rigney called the game “downright gorgeous” and said that the graphics were almost at the level of a Xbox 360 game, which was echoed by John Meyer of Wired, who claimed that it had the best graphics of any iPad game. The reviewer for Edge further praised the art direction, especially with regards to the enemy and armor designs.