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Game Info:

Shadow Heroes: Vengeance in Flames 
Developed By: Allied Games Inc.
Published By: Allied Games Inc.
Released: Nov 22, 2016
Available On: Windows
Genre: Strategy
ESRB Rating: Not Rated
Number of Players: Up to six players online
Price: $2.99

Thank you Allied Games Inc. for sending us a review code!

Strategy games can typically be overwhelming for the average player with all the resource management and base building. The steep learning curve of the genre tends to only attract a specific audience. Shadow Heroes: Vengeance in Flames removes the resource management and base building aspects of the genre and attempts to make a more accessible version of the real-time strategy genre.

Shadow Heroes starts off with an unskippable introduction narrative, which oddly enough cuts off halfway through no matter what happens. The intro, whatever it was trying to explain, leads into the campaign about two factions at war. You observe this conflict through the eyes of Sergeant Konraad Mogens and Commander Armas Vilhelmi who are entrusted to stop terrorists from attacking the town of Faircrown. The first mission acts as a tutorial of the game’s Assault mode, which is similar to a tower defense. Before the beginning of the wave, it will show you what enemy types will appear and from what section they will attack from. There are blue highlighted rectangles on the map where you can place your units in. Each unit costs a certain amount of leadership points which are either earned over time or by slaying opposing enemies. Bonus leadership is earned depending on how many units are left alive and what type they are.

Shadow Heroes: Vengeance in Flames
Highlights:

Strong Points: It’s cheap; has voice acting.
Weak Points: It’s unfinished and will most likely stay that way; awkward controls; can potentially be unstable when running multiple programs.
Moral Warnings: A pool of blood is left when any unit dies; units consist of exorcists, demigods, paladins, archangels and spirits; usage of magic; archangel unit shows off cleavage; one usage of "d*mn."

The second mission acts as tutorial for the Commanders mode, where two sides must protect their base, while units infinitely spawn in increments of 30 seconds. This mission goes more into detail about passive and active items that are bought with leadership points. Passive items can be equipped to an individual unit for effects that are always active, such as increased attack speed, defense, or critical damage. Active items have larger stat boosts than passive items, but have to be manually activated. They last for 6 seconds and have a 20 second cooldown. Passive and active items can only be equipped to units that have yet to spawn. A rather interesting concept is that passive and active items can be strengthened further through the main menu with resources called components that are earned after every battle.

Controls are typical of any RTS game, but they also feel very awkward. Placing units has to be done one at a time, where you must click the portrait, and then click within the spawn area to place them. Units aren’t grouped together and must be manually grouped together by highlighting them with the right-click and then assigned by pressing the alt key and one of the numerical buttons 0-9. The main purpose of this, since units always go on a predetermined path line, is to activate active items within your group and nothing else. I wish units could be manually controlled at times since there are instances where they would get stuck on seemingly nothing. You can click the minimap to quickly go to an area, or use W, A, S, or D, as well as putting the mouse to the edges of the screen to slowly (and I do mean slowly!) pan through the field. Sometimes the camera gets stuck if you control it this way. I feel a better way would have been the option to have the camera drag by the minimap.

The graphics of Shadow Heroes are fairly standard. The gameplay portion is in a 3D field, while cutscenes and character dialogue uses 2D art. The 3D art is fairly simplistic, and does the job, though it is rather strange that the game has a rather high system requirement, requiring at least a quad core to function. The 2D art is a mixture of an anime-inspired art style and the type of art you would see in trading card games like Magic: The Gathering. Overall, fairly simple. I was surprised that the game has voice acting in it. The quality of it is very amateurish, but appreciated as more expensive games I’ve come across don’t even have this option. The soundtrack isn’t bad, but the themes of the music are so mismatched with the setting of the game that it just comes across as an odd choice.

Shadow Heroes: Vengeance in Flames
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 34%
Gameplay - 2/20
Graphics - 6/10
Sound - 4/10
Stability - 3/5
Controls - 2/5

Morality Score - 62%
Violence - 4/10
Language - 8.5/10
Sexual Content - 8/10
Occult/Supernatural - 0/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

Once you start getting a feel for the game and its mechanics, it just suddenly… ends. At first, I was very confused why the game wouldn’t let me access mission 4, but as I read the fine print, I came across something that I’ve seen happen far too often — Shadow Heroes is an episodic series, and what you buy is actually episode 1 out of 5. (No wonder it was so darn cheap.) I tried looking everywhere for the other episodes and unfortunately, the developers seem to have vanishFed. Their last point of contact with anyone was around early 2017 in the Steam forums. This does explain some stability issues like the cut intro, and booting up the game can be a bit of a hassle as it runs behind all your programs sometimes. There is also a rather interesting exploit that since you gain components whether you win or lose, you can enter any game mode, immediately surrender, and earn between 200-400 components every time. Just for giggles, I spent a half hour doing that so I could fully upgrade all of my passive and active items.

In terms of morality, there is the usage of magic by quite a lot of the units. Out of the 9 units available, most of them consist of exorcists, chanters, demigods, archangels, cherubs (a type of fairy), spirits and paladins. I’m assuming that if the story progressed further, the narrative would have been about some type of holy war, but we’ll never know for sure. The game can be quite violent, as enemies die in a pool of their own blood when slain. The archangel unit shows off quite a lot of cleavage in both her character art and model. I also noticed one usage of "d*mn" when you fail the second mission.

I do not want to say Shadow Heroes: Vengeance in Flames is a scam; there was effort put into the game, a bit too much for it to be a simple “take the money and run” kind of situation. It’s very unfortunate whatever may have happened to the developers. I can, however, say that I was thoroughly disappointed with the product and cannot recommend it to anyone. Because of the state in which it was left in, it is a bare-bones product that only has three short missions, a multiplayer devoid of life, and a simplistic Skirmish section that contains the two previously mentioned game modes with one map for each mode. Shadow Heroes does teach one important lesson: reading the Steam page and doing small research before you decide to spend money on any product is very important no matter how inexpensive it may be.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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