Smartph… ighters

March 25th, 2020

I just realised my bathroom breaks would be much, much shorter if I didn’t bring my phone in there with me. And then, I realised I might as well share the games that are giving me cramps and putting my legs to sleep and see what other people are playing while I’m at it, share the load, as it were…

So, here’s my first take on that. I’ve only just discovered this one, but it’s kind of taken over the entirety of my mobile gaming time. It’s also prolonged my porcelain throne time to the point where I’m thinking of buying a porta-potty just so I can play it uninterrupted for longer.

There are a few things I’ve always kept away from in mobile gaming: one of them is fancy/realistic looking games, the other is fighters.
Shadow Fight 3 fits both those brackets, and yet, I like it a lot.

The main point of the game is (you’ve guessed it) to slash, kick, stab, and throw weird shadow powers at random heaps of polygons. The backstory is basically an excuse to do so - it starts out with something about you being a recruit for some Legion or other and fighting off some spies from the neighboring kingdom. Really not important, at least thus far.

Since the gist is effectively killing, or at least incapacitating a lot of people and the game has a fictional Asian slant to it, I thought I’d name my character appropriately.

And I think it’s served me well since I’ve been ripping through this random, fictionally Eastern province pretty much unchecked since I broke the game out.

The mechanisms are a simple yet varied pair of directional and hit buttons. You’ve got an 8-way “joystick” for your left thumb and your kicks, punches, and the aforementioned powers for your right. It works out fairly easily, with various direction + hit combinations yielding different moves. The “special” stuff is (as of now) just a directional + the special button. It’s a bit like the X-Ray move Mortal Kombat introduced in that it’s easy to trigger but the hit rate can be much lower than the bone breaking crunches of MK.

Timing is a very important aspect, and there’s auto-block so long as you just stand there and take it like a champ. Bear in mind that grappling is a thing, so even if you do that, you can’t get away with it for long. Early on, the game’s tutorial implies your enemies learn your moves if you just keep spamming the same stuff over and over and it’s true that my jump kicks seem to have become less effective over time, but I’m guessing your mileage may vary.

It’s no Tekken, but it does the job and fits a bracket I never thought I’d enjoy, let alone be fairly competent at.

The game features an unlocking/discovery system for various bits of armor and weaponry as you go on and it does it in a card booster manner which may turn some people off, I’m well aware of that. I’m not the biggest fan of collectible/unlockable stuff myself, but in this context I haven’t felt the need to pay to win and it doesn’t seem to be a problem judging by the general feedback around the game.

There are also several game modes, daily objectives, all the customary hoopla you’re used to if you play this sort of thing on a regular basis. This all translates to a lot of shit being unlocked/opened up for not a lot of effort, at least as far as I’m concerned.

What seemed like the biggest deal to me about the whole thing, and this may seem odd, was the difficulty. By the time I faced my first “boss” I was reasonably well acquainted with what I was doing and I still almost got my ass handed to me. And how!

The styles that each weapon forces you to get used to are also very fun to get the hang of and there’s plenty of equipment getting unlocked just through the main story (well, “story”) itself to keep new and interesting things coming, clothing and weaponry alike.

This is also one of the few recent mobile games I’ve played that didn’t just boost you into level two after your first battle/event, which is commendable. A lot of games (mobile or otherwise) just give you that instant gratification within thirty seconds of booting the damn thing up, or use it as a tutorial to show you how things work right off the bat, effectively starting you out at level two or three before the tutorial is even over.
SF3 has a slower ramp up which I think benefits the player and the experience. It lets you get to grips with things more gradually and throws a couple odd bits of equipment you can’t yet use at you, giving you something to strive for in the immediate future.

I also hear this is the best out of the trilogy so far (although some prefer its predecessor), and it’s not hard to see why, with plot points such as this to pick through:

Graphically the game is pretty damn gorgeous, from the character models to the weaponry and armor. The backgrounds are also diverse and add to the experience while not trying to become centerpieces over the main action. The UI is simple and intuitive and pretty minimal during fights. I’m currently running it on a Huawei Mate 20 Lite which has no issue in rendering everything crisply and smoothly, for what it’s worth.

There’s also a lot still being added to the game with PvP currently figuring as “coming soon”, so they’re still building on what is already a pretty diversified offering.

All in all, it’s an enjoyable experience and one that I highly recommend you all check out even if this wouldn’t be your go-to for number two time.

Thanks for reading, and have as nice a day as you deserve!

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Tags: Costin Becheanu, Videogames.