Release Date: 4/26/2012
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The Good: Great visuals, fun combat, great enemy design, intriguing story
The Bad: Freemium model completely breaks the game, not enough enemies, only 3 levels, very linear with almost no exploration
Dark Meadow was a pretty decent Infinity Blade clone on the iPhone back in the day, back when the game wasn’t freemium. Honestly, that alone kills this game. Instead of charging $7 for the game we get it for free…sure thanks, but not really. The game uses gold and sun coins as currency, but the sun coins are acquired so rarely that you are forced to pay ridiculous amounts of real world cash for them. Getting a killstreak before you die rewards you with maybe 2-3 coins. The best weapons in the game (the last 1/4 of the weapons) can only be bought with sun coins. The most powerful one costs 3,750 coins. You either need to grind for hours upon boring hours or pay about $40 for that sword. This is sad and just plain wrong.
Of course, people are stupid enough to pay for it. Finding the gold is easy enough, but you have to save and save and go through the same rooms clicking on the same cupboards and drawers over and over again until you go insane. You wake up in a run down asylum where a man says you need to kill a witch. This is the best part about the game, the story. He talks over the intercom every time you enter a room and you end up really getting attached to this insane character, but the level grinding just makes you want to quit the game. There are only three levels in the whole game, but the witch is bumped up in skill way too much. She goes from being able to be beaten at level 8 or 9 then on the second level she does 250 damage and kills you in one hit. The only way to beat her is to grind to level 25 and rack up gold to buy better equipment. Honestly, just charge me a fee up front and give me the whole game. I’m not paying $50+ for a $7 game.
The combat is decent but the same enemies repeat and become predictable. You can shoot enemies when they pop up with your crossbow to do damage before they get to you. Some times they spit acid at you and you need to block or dodge. The controls are just like Infinity Blade, but there’s no shield, you just block with your weapon. The enemy designs are pretty neat, but there’s just a handful of them. The graphics themselves are incredible and really take advantage of the Tegra 3 chipset. The textures look great, the lighting is awesome, but I wanted to see more than just a hospital. As it is, this game isn’t really worth your time.
Overall, Dark Meadow is a great game, but once again, the freemium structure ruins the whole experience. You can grind until your thumbs bleed, but you will never get the best weapons without forking out a ton of cash. Even the most patient gamers will give up early on. As I see it, the game is broken with the freemium structure, this needs to seriously stop.