That fearful day when the dark dragon closed the gates to the sun was the time when every living creature turned void of emotion, lifeless, yet full of everlasting pain. To try and bring back the balance of the world, a shadowy hero emerges from among the hordes of corrupted creatures to fight back against the dragon. Will you take on the role of this champion, vanquish over 100 levels, collect loot and find the way to restore the light in Dark Sword during 2018?
Dark Sword is a side scrolling hack n’ slash roleplaying game, created by Keymaker Studio and released by NANOO Company. If these names don’t say much, then maybe you heard of the publisher’s two other titles: Exit Hero and Tap Quest: Gate Keeper.
Regarding the ratings of Dark Sword, it has 4.4/5 stars on the Google Play Store, while having a 4.5/5 stars rating on the Apple App Store in 2018. It’s a rare occurence when hack n’ slash games are made competent on mobile platforms, but half a million downloads and a mostly content playerbase suggest that this title might have what it takes for 2018! Read on to find out if it’s indeed the case or not!
About Dark Sword
When you first start up Dark Sword, the first thing you will face is a comic based story cutscene, which tells the story of the dark dragon and how it stole the light from the world. In its current state the world’s inhabitants turned to shadowy figures of their old selves, and mindlessly serve the dragon. The only thing left to do is to take up arms and defeat any opposition in the quest for the light!
This daunting task is done in a side scrolling perspective, with hack n’ slash gameplay. Each of the 100 levels in the game contain three waves of enemies, and you will have to progress from one level to another until the very end by defeating them all. You get to move your shadowy character through these levels by holding the arrows on the left side of the screen, while there are buttons to attack, jump, dodge roll, activate skills or drink a healing potion on the right. Chaining attacks will activate power attacks after a few blows, or you can execute special moves by jumping and then attacking, while dodging is useful to avoid all damage taken during the animation.
It’s not so simple to move from level to level though, as entering one costs stamina, which is removed from your maximum of 20 on the stamina bar. Each level also has a time limit, and if you fail to complete it before time runs out, then you lose the attempt and have to retry in exchange for another stamina point. It takes 10 minutes for one stamina to restore, or you can spend the premium currency of souls to refill it.
But limiting factors like these should not be your main concerns, as you will have more trouble defeating certain opponents! There are shadowy enemies of a wide variety in Dark Sword: Some of them are melee attackers with swords, axes or spears with greater range, while there are ranged attackers with bows, crossbows, bombs, cannons and so on. These basic enemies populate most levels in three waves, and you can only move onto the next wave if the previous one has been defeated completely. Then there are certain levels that are labeled as ”Boss”, and they contain a boss monster in the third wave. Bosses come in all forms as well: Giant wolfriders, horned demons, hobgoblins, corrupted animals, griffins, golems and more.
These enemy types don’t only appear in the 100 ”story” levels, but also in the separate Infinity Tower game mode. This is a mode where you can try your hand at trying to last as long as possible against an endless horde of enemies, with a boss at the end of each floor. For every floor you finish you get a reward of 3 Souls, which can be repeated multiple times. Depending on how far you got, you have the chance to appear on the global leaderboards, while there are separate entries for the most powerful players as well.
Fortunately Dark Sword offers a number of skills that can be used to your advantage during battles. What skills you have matters entirely on the weapon that you have equipped, as skills are tied to the weapon itself. So for example some tier 1 weapon might have only one skill, while higher tier swords could have up to four! A few examples of skills found in the game include Sword Quake that causes raining swords to damage foes, Soul Breaker which knocks back foes and deals damage, or the Lightning Speed skill that speeds up both your movement and attack speed for a short time.
Skills are not the only way to increase your battle prowess though, as there is a full inventory system in the game, with five equipment slots that can contain items that add extra stats to your hero. You can find swords, helmets, shoulders, rings and necklaces as drops from monsters. All items provide some amount of armor and randomly assigned stats such as Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, ATK Bonus, Critical Hit Rate increase, Resistance boosts and a lot more. You can decide to spend some amount of gold to upgrade items individually, increasing their armor value, although the stats they provide will stay the same. These stats also get increased whenever you level up by experience gained on levels. To keep fueling your upgrades, gold can be won as reward for successful battles and found as loot.
If you are impatient to gather gold, there are alternative ways to earn items in the Shop of Dark Sword. All items in the Shop cost souls, which is a currency that is easiest to buy using in-app purchases. The cheapest pack of souls includes 90 for the price of $2.99, while the most expensive one has 6,000 souls and costs $119.99. Additional allowed purchases are a Starter Pack with gold, potions and a one day no stamina limit for $1.99, or a Regal Pack that has two legendary items and 2,500 Souls for $54.99.
Once you have some souls, the Shop allows you to exchange them into gold at a rate of 60 souls for 200,000 gold, while you can purchase 24 hour unlimited stamina for 50 souls, or even random rare equipment packs for 10 or 100 souls each. Lastly there are potions for sale as well, including the basic healing potion, a time potion that disables the time limit on the level it’s used on, or the experience potion that doubles experience gain for 24 hours.
Cheats & Tips for Dark Sword
Dark Sword aims to be a difficult game, and therefore you might find yourself in tricky situations where you almost just hope for some cheats to help you out. Don’t worry, this can become a reality, as there are a good amount of cheats to be found, and I’m here to tell you more about them! If you are curious to learn more, or wish to hear some tips and tricks, then look below!
Let’s start with the most serious cheats, and namely the one that lets you give full control to the game to play instead of you! Why is that good, you wonder? Well, once you fought your way through 50 levels, you might find yourself a bit tired and wishing to rest, while still earning loot. Now you can do this with the Auto Play and Auto Skill cheats! All you have to do is activate one or both of these buttons during levels, and everything will work out on its own! In case the game seems to fail, then you can take over control any time by tapping the Auto buttons again.
The next cheats in Dark Sword are related to the premium currency of souls, as these are normally not as easy to gather as one would like. To increase your soul income, an extremely simple way is to do sponsored tasks. These include watching ads, downloading games and playing them for a while or completing surveys online. Just go to the Shop and enter the ”Free Souls” menu to start!
In case you don’t have enough coins, there is a simple way to get a unlimited amount of that as well. All you need is some patience, as you have to watch an ad for every 3,000 gold earned this way. Just go to the Shop’s gold panel and choose the free option. Additionally there is a similar option to refill some stamina by watching a similar ad, and this could come in handy later on as well!
As for gameplay tips, to become the best at Dark Sword you have to learn to dodge roll at the right times. This can help you avoid a lot of incoming damage, and increase the time you can stay alive, which matters a lot in the Infinity Tower. At first you might want to practice this by turning on Auto Play, then manually tapping the dodge roll button whenever you feel like it’s best.
Once you learned the tricks of dodging and reached at least level 20, you will be able to play Hardcore mode. In this mode monsters deal more damage, have more health and the whole experience is generally more difficult, but earns you more loot as well. So if you want a bunch of truly free items, then play in Hardcore mode as many times as you can!
Dark Sword Review
As a fan of the PC title Dark Souls, Dark Sword got my attention right away when I found out about it, as it has certain elements that are definitely inspired by Dark Souls. I was curious to see what a 2D version of such hardcore and challenging gameplay entails, and therefore decided to jump right in!
Even though the game started out exciting with a story cutscene, this was cut short very soon after I reached the actual gameplay. Other than a few sentences describing the environment of levels on the pre-battle screen, there were no indications of the story progressing anywhere during my time with the game. I honestly expected a story rich game, but sadly this is not the case.
Still, as a hack n’ slash game, it had a lot of potential still thanks to the combat mechanics. Now this part of the game is actually really solid, although not very complicated either. There is one way to do basic attacks, there is a special jumping attack, as well as a power attack in the arsenal of moves and that is it. The addition of the dodge roll is a nice feature though, which was one of the things that most reminded me of Dark Souls. Using this feature in Dark Sword is not easy either, and skillfully dodging enemy attacks is a worthwhile thing to learn.
The skills are an addition which I also liked, although the variety of them might be a little low, as I have only seen up to four types of skills in multiple hours, although there are obviously more. The problem is that with these highly powerful skills and skillful dodging the game is not very challenging overall. Even without dodging most attacks or ever drinking a health potion, I could never die in the ”story” levels at all. The only part where I died was the Infinity Tower, which was an actually challenging experience, and it’s what the main levels should have been as well.
Sadly in Dark Sword’s current form these levels are rather easy, especially since I kept upgrading and swapping out my equipment constantly for better ones. At this rate completing the game without any in-app purchases is not far fetched at all. This is a nice thing in and of itself, but I still wished for something more difficult at times. This is where the Hardcore mode comes in, as it makes the game actually challenging and worth playing in the long run. Sadly this is only available after level 20, and up until that the easymode remains.
Overall, Dark Sword is a side scrolling adventure set in a dark world, which is less challenging and terrfying than it looks at first. With a generally low difficulty outside of the Infinity Tower, this could be a fun game for people who just want to blast through levels, but if you want something actually hard, then definitely aim for the Hardcore mode!
Dark Sword Ratings
Artwork: The artwork of Dark Sword deserves a 7/10. Even though the shadowy artstyle is rather interesting looking, there are some low resolution textures found throughout the game, as well as some small graphical bugs like random white lines on the characters. Other than that, this is a visually unique game.
Music & SFX: The music and the SFX of the game gets a 9/10. A surprisingly good sountrack is present in this game, with choirs and powerful epic music that easily fills players with adrenaline. The SFX are also great, and even the frequent slashing sounds feel satisfying instead of annoying.
Story & Originality: As for the story and originality, I give the game a 7/10. Sadly, the story of this title is pretty much forgotten soon after the beginning cutscene, and there are only minor bits to be found afterwards. Gameplay wise it’s pretty unique though in the way it presents the dark hack n’ slash action.
General Gameplay: I give the general gameplay of Dark Sword a 7/10. I wish I could raise this rating, but because of the difficulty curve of the game I just can’t. The ”story” mode levels feel rather easy throughout the game, while the Infinity Tower is extremely hard in comparison, and the Hardcore mode is only unlocked later on. Otherwise the gameplay mechanics are great, and the inclusion of the dodge roll gives the game some skillful potential.
Addictiveness: The addictiveness of the game gets a 7/10 as well. It’s easy to get addicted to this title, as the slashing and crushing of enemies can feel very satisfying. The promise of ranking on the leaderboards is another motivator to keep playing, as well as the wish to complete each of the 100 levels. Sadly the gameplay can get a bit stale after a while, and Auto Play might be turned on sooner or later.
Overall Score: 7/10.