Published on May 20th, 2014 | by JC Richardson3
Dark Lands Review
Bulkypix’s Dark Lands bills itself as an endless combat runner, but is it a road to nowhere?
As 2D runners go, Dark Lands is absolutely dripping with atmosphere. There’s a gorgeous parallax effect going on that had me daydreaming of Shadow of the Beast on my old Commodore Amiga, but that’s doing Dark Lands a disservice, as it really has a rich style of its own.
Gameplay is simple enough to be picked up quickly, as you should expect, but you have a lot more control over your character than in the average runner. Your hero can take different routes along the trap-filled landscape, as well as stopping, attacking, blocking and sliding – the animations are really neat, and the moves flow together nicely. Along the way, you take down monsters, collecting currency to upgrade your weapons, armour and vital statistics and so allowing you to get further along the road. Simple. The beasties are a varied bunch, and you have to vary your tactics pretty wildly to get through them. It’s pretty easy to get bogged down fighting one nasty after another, but it never feels like a button-mashing battle – your attacks and blocks need to be timed perfectly to avoid getting squished. Luckily the good old double-jump will get you out of trouble most times…
If Dark Lands has a problem, then it’s a problem faced by all endless runner games – repetition does start to set in after multiple plays, although an achievement system helps add to the replay value.
Summary: Dark Lands is beautifully stylish, but also shows that the endless runner can be capable of some depth when it tries. Good on Bulkypix for going the extra mile and bringing a little gravitas to the genre.