The forces of Hell have come to mobile and it’s up to you to stop them. However, in Huaguan’s idle RPG Dark Exile, players don’t get to do much of anything. This Diablo III lookalike hides a confusing mess of in-game purchases behind appealing assets that closely resemble those of Blizzard. Sadly, even these familiar Diablo-style skins and mechanics are hardly enjoyable. Players have virtually zero control and the game handles like a PC from 2005 sputtering on low graphics settings.
Sit Back and Watch
While Dark Exile borrows names and aesthetics from Diablo III, it fails to deliver the classic gameplay experience. When players see anything resembling the Diablo franchise, they expect epic fast-paced combat. Sadly, the developers at Huaguan Network Technology offer the opposite. This RPG hits the snooze button on demon-slaying with its primarily idle gameplay. Upon choosing a server, players simply watch their character run about fighting small mobs of creatures. Once you’ve cleared two mobs, you can tap on the Stage button to fight individual monsters. Conquering ten stages allows you to progress to the next area. Unfortunately, Stage combat isn’t any more interactive. Boss fights become available intermittently and function the same way.
The most interaction players can expect from the game is equipping and smelting gear. As you slay monsters and complete stages, you earn gold and collect items. Your inventory fills up very quickly. Equip useful items by opening your inventory and tapping the Auto Equip button. Get rid of excess gear in the smelting menu. This is the closest you’ll come to button-mashing. Tap the Smelt button repeatedly to convert your low-level items into gold and gems. You can use them to buy a small selection of items from the game’s excessive collection of shops. Icons for these shops populate the main menu, restricting gameplay footage to a fraction of the screen. Most of them require real currency.
Combat in Dark Exile is nothing short of a joke. Your character effortlessly carves through enemies while taking minor damage in return. Perhaps this justifies Huaguan’s choice to give players zero control over their abilities. On the other hand, it seems like laziness and lack of care for player experience. Even the damage dealt by some bosses is scaled down a hundredfold compared to normal creatures. Alternatively, other bosses are ridiculously powerful despite appearing on the same menu as weaker bosses. The difficulty scaling in Dark Exile is either non-existent or poorly designed. It’s such a mess that it’s hard to tell. Luckily, you don’t lose any gear or suffer a reduction to your stats when you die. However, you don’t gain much of anything from achieving victory either.
The final glaring pitfall of Dark Exile is its lack of purpose. There is simply no rhyme or reason for each element of this game. Sure, you can progress to higher stages, but they don’t offer any new challenges or stories. In fact, there is no plot whatsoever. I as hugely disappointed as Huaguan borrows so heavily from a plot-driven franchise. Moreover, Dark Exile fails to capture the thrill of loot-hunting despite offering an ocean of items. They’re just too easy to acquire and make little difference in your stats. So I have to wonder why Huaguan attempted to replicate Diablo III at all. My conclusion? Dark Exile is a poorly designed cash grab that seeks to capitalize on the popularity of a nostalgic franchise.
Is It Hardcore?
Not Even Close.
Dark Exile is a poorly designed idle RPG that seeks to capitalize on the popularity of the Diablo franchise by hiding a confusing mess of in-game purchases behind appealing Blizzard-inspired assets.