Developer: Devsisters & Hotdog Studio
Price: $4.99
Version Reviewed: 1.01

Graphics Rating: ★★★★☆
Sound Rating: ★☆☆☆☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★☆☆☆
User Interface Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Rating: ★★½☆☆

IMG_0044[1]Dark Shrines is an action RPG that follows along the same kind of feel that other action RPGs do, but does so in stage based game play. I am a big dungeon crawler fan, so I really enjoyed this aspect of the game. The stages provide varying levels of challenge, and the storyline continues to progress as the player goes from stage to stage.

Dark Shrines is a novel attempt at bringing some of the touch features into an action RPG game. It has an extremely responsive UI when it comes to moving around on the map. Attacks are done by finger swipes across the screen, and this feature is noticeably less responsive. I found myself wondering exactly how many angles I could swipe my finger and the game still not read that the action was taking place.

Throughout playing the game, it just felt that the production was rushed, and an imperfect game was released. It was difficult to follow the text because of misplaced word wrapping. It was difficult to really get a grasp on what actions did what because of mediocre tutorial options. The sound was a fairly repetitive nuance as well that I ended up muting in the end. I really wanted to enjoy my experience with the game, but kept feeling like the game was letting me down.

Dark Shrines is not without redeeming qualities though. The graphics are great and the overall display brings me back to my days of Diablo, which isn’t a bad thing. The storyline seems really engaging, and there are pretty effective attempts at humor throughout the experience.

Level progression is something that I really liked in Dark Shrines, and something I think more games should incorporate. Instead of straight experience points leading to increased stats, each attribute requires a certain number of points to upgrade to the next level. Each experience level gives a certain number of attribute points that can be used to upgrade these stats. The possible attributes include magical abilities as well, so it’s possible to create a stone wall, or glass cannon, depending on the desired style of play.

I must point out that the developers have been clear that many of the issues I have stated above are currently being worked out. Where many mediocre games come out that just never get touched again by developers, if Devsisters follows through with these promises, there may yet be a solid game to be played. These two developers faced what many indie groups usually do, a lack of resources.

I wouldn’t count Dark Shrines out for the count quite yet, but unless it receives some much needed updates, it will be forgotten in a world of millions of apps fighting for the top spot. This game does a lot of things right, and thankfully what it needs to do better aren’t extremely hard fixes. I can’t recommend it as a must have today, but you’ll want to keep an eye out for what this game becomes. We’ll be watching this game closely, and will revisit the review if updates justify it.

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