Swipe Right on Feudal Japan
New studio Garage51 came to the plate swinging with their first entry into the mobile gaming world, but did the new game studio strike out or hit a home run? Demon Blade – Japanese Action RPG provides an immersive story driven mobile game that drops gamers into feudal Japan. Here they face off against a wide variety of Yokais (demons) that have ravaged nearby towns and spread fear and chaos across the land.
Gameplay utilizes a unique style of swipe combat to thwart these demons in campaign mode. Once you get that down, you can take your skills to the Dojo to challenge your peers in 1v1 multiplayer matches. Are we talking Fruit Ninja swipe mechanics? Not remotely. Gameplay mechanics in Demon Blade are based on reflex and timing with a heavy focus on block and counter-attack style play. Add in a stamina bar to affect attack timing, a limited number of in-game inventory slots for health potions, and suddenly strategy becomes everything in Garage51’s ARPG.
Customization is Key
However, an immersive RPG is nothing without an impressive amount of character customization, and Demon Blade is no exception to that rule. Characters have eight mostly standard attributes, which they can upgrade throughout the game: strength, vitality, armor, dexterity, precision, luck, power, and thorn. Upgrade armor and weapons to affect those attributes by using in game currency called Essence, Mons and Magatoma. Not happy with the armor and sword you have? Explore a marketplace jam packed with every possible assortment of weapons and armor packs to purchase resulting in too many combinations to contemplate.
Pay for the Warrior Way
Here in lies the downside though, right? With all those marketplace options you’ll find your wallet bleeding long before those evil NPC’s, or so you would think. Not the case with Demon Blade, instead the RPG is focused around a player reward system where each enemy beaten, each quest completed, each dungeon braved, and even each daily login fills players pockets. Be it upgrading current gear or buying must need health potions and armor sets, Demon Blade’s reward system keeps everything within reach. This allows you to focus more on the quest at hand and less on the in game gift shop. What if you want to speed up the reward process? Demon Blade offers monthly subscriptions to refill your Magatoma ranging from $5.49 to $17.99. Don’t want a subscription? The gift shop sells different packages that can go as a high as $119.99. Pay to play isn’t required in Demon Blade, but Garage51 doesn’t shy away from the possibilities.
Demon Blade Delivers
Demon Blade – Japanese Action RPG undoubtedly leaves an impression. Whereas most mobile games throw an underwhelming story at players to be fatefully skipped over, Garage51 takes a different approach. The campaign dialogue is compelling enough to keep you guessing, and is paired with an eye-catching, 3D anime style. What’s more, the game features a backstory rich in mythology, making the overall experience a satisfying one. As for the game being a free download? Garage51 delivers a full title with multiple modes available, none locked behind a pay wall. What about Multiplayer? Gamers will get hooked on climbing the ranking ladder with the Dojo’s 1v1 matches. Demon Blade is a unique addition to mobile APRG’s and definitely a must play for any fan of the genre.
Only Scratching the Surface
The uglier side of things? Character leveling and customization will leave some RPG fans wanting. So many attributes, weapons and armor sets seem an incredible boon. Ultimately, however, its potential is wasted as players have little control over how each are leveled up, leaving that aspect of play feeling all too one dimensional. Does Garage51 avoid the pay to play plague? In every way but one, leveling. Leveling up in Demon Blade is a steady process of earning Energy and Mons by completing quests with a star rating of one to three. Here pay to play comes into effect. Complete a quest with three stars, and players can use energy to go back and ‘auto play’ it again to rapidly gain more XP. Do this multiple times and suddenly leveling up becomes a much faster process. Run out of energy to auto play old quests? Energy can be bought with Magatoma, which in turn can be bought in the games gift shop.
Escaping the Inevitable
Will you get sucked into pay to play barriers as you progress in Demon Blade? If your patient not necessarily, but this approach will significantly slow you down the further you get in the games campaign. Instead, rapidly leveling up by utilizing the gift shop results in two major advantages. Easier campaign quests, and major mismatches in PvP battles. Home run or strike out? Garage51 swung for the fences creating a truly enjoyable mobile game. However, pay to play climbed the center field wall stealing away any chances of a home run.
Garage 51 doesn’t disappoint with their first mobile game. With an impressive story, and a new style of combat, Demon Blade – Japanese RPG is a must play for fans of the genre. The mythology of Feudal Japan has never been so close.