By Andy Skelton (Outfoxed)
When we last previewed Warlocks vs Shadows, it was well on its way to a solid release. Since then, the game has added new warlocks, new stages, and a brand new mode. Oh, and the game launched officially, too. With the game now a complete package, I figured it would be a great idea to look into everything new, and give a better idea of what to expect from Warlocks vs Shadows going forward.
In With the Old, In With the New
Since my previous review, three new characters, two new worlds, and two brand new modes have been added to the game. Some other balancing changes have taken place in attempts to bring all the characters in line with each other. You still start out with the same five characters as before, along with a brand new hero: Zardonic. Based off of real life musician Federico Augusto Ágreda Álvarez, this new character fights with the power of sound to lay shadows low.
Also on the roster since the previous review are Jamal the Troll Warlord and Blood Mage Iezabel. Eleven unique characters for a side-scrolling, action brawler is very impressive, especially when you realize they all have very unique skillsets. The game has also since added a Versus mode for competitive play online, and a Horde mode where you compete to earn the highest score possible (complete with leaderboards) on five all new maps.
That Which Was Lost
Despite the additions, there seem to be some things missing still from the game. I touched on this in my previous review: you still get no information on skills whatsoever unless you pay very close attention during the tutorial. Every character you unlock now starts from level one; while this enhances replayability, it eliminates the possibility to switch to a different warlock if a stage is proving too difficult with your current selection.
Many characters were also rebalanced, as previously mentioned. Most specifically, Jamal saw the most sweeping changes only two months after he was introduced. Regardless, every character feels well put together, and it’s very much up to the player to figure out who and what works best for them.
Procedurally Generated Death Metal
The controls of Warlocks vs Shadows are still quite simple, and now completely configurable. This simple aspect allows players to set their own playstyle (people used to MOBA games can set to QWER, etc.). There are very few options otherwise, though with the art style of the game, very few options are required.
One very positive aspect of the game is its soundtrack, which I didn’t touch on in my preview at all. Each track fits its world perfectly, and the boss music is especially frantic and driving. The overall sound design is quite good, in fact. Ice attacks from Anya sound suitable, and much different than the melee swings of Borubar. Zardonic’s attacks, being wholly sound based, are especially thematic, considering his strongest attack really does drop the bass!
Overall Thoughts: Great (4/5)
I have to preface by saying Warlocks vs Shadows isn’t for everyone. I’m a particular fan of roguelike games, side-scrolling beat-em-ups, and fantasy settings, so Warlocks vs Shadows ticks all three marks for likeability. Still, if you like even one of the genres smashed into the game, you might consider checking it out — just be aware that if your favorite character is unlocked later (Lissy forever!), you’re going to start from scratch.
It’s definitely a lot of fun to play, though, and there’s the simple fact playing with friends is ultimately more rewarding (offering couch multiplayer is a huge plus). PvP minded individuals will also appreciate that the Versus mode is completely skill based. I would recommend giving the game a look, either watching others or playing through yourself. While it may seem relatively short overall, there are plenty of options for replayability, high scores to earn, n00bs to pwn, and more.