148Apps Network Post
Developer: zealm
Price: $2.99
Version: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★½☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★½☆☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

It’s easy to get drawn in to Blade of Darkness thanks to the alluring screen shots and promises of loots. Glorious, glorious loots. However while it’s certainly “one of those games,” it can also be incredibly difficult to get started. Even then, I’d say someone’s chances of sticking with it will be about 50/50.

Blade of Darkness aims to fill that ever-present gap left in gamers’ hearts by the likes of Diablo. It’s every bit as loot-focused and action-heavy, albeit with a change in perspective and fewer character customization options. It touts things like excellent AI, thousands of item possibilities, several armor classes, an open world to explore, co-op and more. It’s just a shame that all of it is trapped behind one of the most unhelpful introductory segments I’ve ever experienced.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Blade of Darkness does indeed do hacking and slashing fairly well, and there’s certainly the ever-present thrill of finding rarer and rarer item drops. The action is fairly easy to jump in and out of, and it doesn’t look half bad.

Back to the bad stuff. Players get unceremoniously tossed into the world of Blade of Darkness with almost zero help. Tutorial messages cover the overly-simple stuff like movement and jumping, but there’s no adequate introduction to the rest of it. The “hub” camp is a mess and a pain to navigate. Talking to NPCs is a pain because they have to be tapped on (from within a certain distance), but their text boxes simple pop-up and do nothing. I think I’ve started a quest or two, but there’s no way for me to know for sure and the giant yellow “!” never seems to go away. The “open world” is a clever idea, but in practice it just means that I can’t walk “over there” because I’ll die as soon as something looks at me. So I walk “over here” instead. The text for the menu buttons is also extremely difficult to read. And the framerate takes frequent dips.

Blade of Darkness shows plenty of promise, and I’m still holding out hope for it, but in its current state it’s something of a Hot Mess. It’ll no doubt interest (and maybe even entertain) dungeon crawling fans, but it requires an awful lot of patience to endure. Especially in the beginning. Still, with a little fine-tuning it could become quite the thing.

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