Since the day Infinity Blade first appeared on the iTunes App Store in December 2010, the gorgeous sword-swinging dungeon crawler has been the poster child for mobile gaming. It's the game Apple trots out at keynotes to demonstrate just how powerful its latest iPhone graphics processors can be, and the game you'd whip out to show your friends. But while Infinity Blade made a mean first impression and its sequel Infinity Blade II expanded the world and refined the combat system, the on-rails experience was never really very deep. There's little story to speak of, just a lot of hacking and slashing in search of better hack-and-slash gear. And — spoiler alert — Infinity Blade III is more of the same.

Why should those who've played either of the first two games bother with number three? Donald Mustard, co-founder of Infinity Blade developer Chair, gives what seems to be a throwaway reply at first: "We really see Infinity Blade III as the ultimate culmination of that vision of what a mobile experience can be." Yet, the vision he's referring to isn't players repeating the same motions for hours on end. It's about building a game that can be played one bite-size piece at a time. "It's just about trying to always balance the game in a way that gives players really rewarding game play every two minutes," says Mustard.

For the original Infinity Blade, working with the constraints of touchscreen hardware and a short development schedule, Mustard explains that his studio didn't have time to do much more than figure out a core combat system that was fun to play simply by swiping across a screen, redefining the "preconceived conventions of game controller development" as they went along. "In a way, we created this new genre," says Mustard.

Judged by that original standard, at least, Infinity Blade III succeeds.