The mobile gaming market is filled with 3D fighting games and a lot of them are decent to play.
However, too many of them are very automated and for someone who grew up playing in the arcades, mobile fighting games have not been anywhere as exciting or enjoyable to that experience.
But, Shadow Fight Arena, the fourth game in the long-running series has something that I rarely ever see in mobile fighters.
And that is solid gameplay. There’s no automation of any kind and you control every single thing that your character can do. So let's jump into and find out if its a worthy fighter for mobile devices.
Shadow Fight Arena is like an authentic fighting game you would see on consoles, but with tweaks that optimize it well
enough for a mobile phone.
The left side of the screen controls movement, while the right side has all the attacks that you need.
There are four different types of attacks in the game:
(1) The first one is the normal attack, which uses the primary weapon of your character.
(2) The second one is the kick, which is more of a poking move rather than something that can be used importantly in a fight. However, sometimes jumping and using a kick can be very useful to throw your opponent off balance.
(3) The third attack is a ranged attack, which varies for every character. But it always has a long, punishable animation.
(4) Finally, the last attack is the ‘Shadow’ attack which allows players to use their super moves.
Blocking, on the other hand, is just automatic if you stop moving.
It’s extremely fun to use all of these different moves and it surprised me to see it work so well in a mobile fighting game.
There is a lot of skill required to fight your opponents and you have to make sure you’re not just spamming buttons. Carefully attacking, blocking, countering, and using special moves takes focus and calculation – and that has traditionally always made fighting games fun and a blast to play.
Certain elements could be seen as pay to win, such as the ability to buy things to unlock characters sooner and level them up – but in my experience, I’ve found that the game does skill-based matchmaking. So, I did not get paired against anyone who was a higher level than me, which kind of eliminates the pay to win concerns.
The graphics of Shadow Fight Arena are excellent and on par with the current high-quality standard that you would expect of modern
The models and environment are extremely detailed and beautifully rendered.
Even the stage backgrounds are fairly populated and feel lively, while the character animations are very well done and are fun to watch.
The visual effects are great too, such as the change of aesthetics every time a character uses their Shadow mode ability.
The UI feels very professional and to the point. But the polish of the game is a divisive subject. The game has a very lengthy tutorial that teaches you the majority of things about the gameplay – but for some reason, even with all the time that it takes, it does not tell you about grabs, rolling, or dashing.
Aside from that, though, Shadow Fight Arena does not have any major issues and the matchmaking was fair in my experience.
The optimization is excellent and despite the high-quality graphics everything runs smoothly even on budget phones.
The sound design of the game did not disappoint either since the background music is not repetitive and changes often between different stages. It’s nothing really special and draws too much inspiration from Mortal Kombat (much like the game’s visual design in general), but it’s better than most games and not nearly as loud.
The sound effects are great and I loved listening to every single hit, even if it was the opponent beating me up.
Shadow Fight Arena is one of the few authentic mobile fighting games and a delight to play in every way.
What it does, it does well – the only thing slightly holding it back is what it doesn’t do. And that is lacking extra game modes to kill some time in, since all you can do so far are traditional fights.