Review of Darkness Rises ~

Review: Darkness Rises Mobile Game

Darkness Rises is an action RPG available on Android and iOS. As with most free-to-play games, it allows you to buy in-game currency (gems) with real money. Unlike most free-to-play mobile games I’ve tried, refusing to spend real money hasn’t prevented me from having a lot to do and from being able to increase the power of my character. It also satisfies in how interactive it is. I’m not watching a 2D image of my character wiggle while a damage count shows up above a 2D image of a boss. The real-time combat is immersive and finally lets me feel like I’m playing a real game on my phone.

A recent change has made it harder to obtain gems (in game currency) for free. They have been removed from the daily log in bonus. Until this reverts, my recommendation of this game is tempered. Please be aware that it is now harder to obtain gems without grinding quests or pvp on alts. I am not changing my original review yet since I hold out hope that this will be fixed. Unfortunately, I find my enthusiasm for the game waning the longer it continues. I am a fashion-as-endgame player! I’d added money to my Android Play account in anticipation of splurging on holiday outfits, but now I hesitate to spend that in case it’s seen as giving in to this maneuver.

I heartily recommend Darkness Rises to people who enjoy great graphics, lovely character creation, fancy fighting, fashion-as-end-game, and who can overlook repeat annoyances. You can absolutely progress and enjoy yourself without spending any money. There’s a bit of a grind for mats and gold using your main and alts, but the events and freebies, including entry tickets for fights, are plentiful and IMO the ticket recharge is quick. I’ve never been left with nothing to do, although it does get a bit repetitive as your reach high level and have completed most content. You can allow the AI to control your character in solo PVE and Duo Dungeons to make the grind less painful. There is some bugginess and lag and the story is on rails, but the action is fast-paced and visually pleasing with some customization available in abilities and skills. A lot of focus is placed on costumes and the appearance of your character which is right up my alley.

First, a basic intro to Darkness Rises. At the time I write this review, you can choose to play as a Warrior (balanced melee), Berserker (melee with higher damage but slower attack speed), Wizard (ranged), or Assassin (melee with lower damage but faster attack speed). You unlock different activities, such as co-op dungeons, raids, 1v1 PvP and 3v3 PvP, by completing your main story line. Even the ability to join a guild must be unlocked, so players are given a good reason to complete the story. The plot is the same for each class but your character’s dialogue is a little different. Combat in Darkness Rises is real-time. You’re controlling your character while your enemies, be they mobs or other players, are trying to take you down. During a fight you have a basic attack, three special attacks, one ultimate attack (very cool looking), and the ability to block and dodge. Your opponents often have special abilities, too. As your character gets stronger, you unlock different types of abilities. This allows you to customize combat to your play style by equipping the special and ultimate attacks you prefer.

There’s a lot of potential for expansion in this game. I personally would like to see an open world area similar to the village but with the player’s choice for it being private, friends-only, guild-only, friends and guild, or public. Collecting “activity items” and “décor items” through play and chests would let you populate the world with different things to do and see. The more rare/high rank the item, the more interesting and rewarding the activity it creates in your world. Completing activities in others’ worlds and having others use your world would provide a type of currency that you could spend in a special shop, so the more people who use your world, the more points you get to spend. You could explore worlds randomly or by clicking on a player’s profile. You could bookmark/save your favorite worlds to revisit them. Even if no one visits your world, you’d be able to get points by completing your world’s activities and by visiting them with an alt.

My main gripe with this game is that the app crashes about once every 15 to 30 mins on my phone (Moto Z2 Play) despite all the troubleshooting I’ve done. I’ve even performed a factory reset, only installed Darkness Rises and Google Play (needed for login), and still crashed. I have noticed that after the factory reset I’m no longer getting the “unauthorized app detected” error, but since the error never game me feedback on which app/service it didn’t like, I have no idea which apps I can reinstall without causing a problem. I use my phone for a lot of non-call activities, so it isn’t easy for me to only install one app per week and wait to see if the error recurs. Regardless, I’m still getting the error-less random crashes. My tablet doesn’t have the same crashes, so I wonder if there’s a compatibility problem with the Z2 Play.


  • Able to do a lot of activities for free. Quick entry ticket recharge coupled with different fights using different ticket timers means I’ve never run out of activities. Several different types of quests have multiple reward levels, so the more your do, the more you get.
  • Able to acquire a lot as a free player. There are lots of free items available each day, some just requiring a few taps and some requiring effort. There’s almost always a special event running that grants bonus free items. Openable items go to an account inbox so your main can use many things, including costume chests, acquired with your alts. There are multiple in-game shops with currencies acquired through playing. Completing multiple daily and weekly quests and certain achievements allows you to collect gems (the currency you can also buy with real money). The 14-day and 28-day login bonuses are a welcome and easy way for the loyal but casual player to gain gems. This has been changed! See update at top of post.
  • Crisp, vibrant graphics with stunning special abilities. Runs really well on both phone and tablet if you ignore the crashing issue on my phone.
  • Character creation has a lot of options (except for female/male). Style matches my preference of realistic (vs cartoonish). Having a lot of options allows you to make varied characters (sexy, strong, plump, silly, etc.). All character classes are unlocked (don’t have to buy spots for alts) and get one free customization each. Additional customizations are a reasonable gem cost that can be acquired as a free player.
  • There are a lot of costumes with the ability to mix-and-match pieces. Not all female outfits are revealing. Some male outfits are. The first is essential to me. The second is appreciated.
  • Fights are fast-paced and short enough for me to complete them in between real-life activities. Very important for a phone game.
  • I appreciate that there are several ways to contribute to the growth of a guild. I do guild vs guild fights with my main, but my alt guild can still grow without needing the time investment (and active players) of GvG.
  • Speaking of GvG, I’m pleased that losing in GvG still rewards a significant amount of points. It’s geared around rewarding participation over ability. You’ll earn more if you win, but you can still gain significant ranking as a guild just by having high participation. If this weren’t true, players like me who suck at PvP (whether from lack of ability or poor ping) would be more likely to give up. I don’t enjoy PvP enough to do it for the sake of the fight, so I wouldn’t put in the effort if I wasn’t going to get something out of it. Then again, if you play well AND you’re active, you’ll rank higher than those who play poorly but are active, so you’re still rewarded for being skilled. The GvG guild I’m in is top 100, but not top 50.
  • Quality voice acting with an enjoyable storyline.
  • Able to craft costume boxes, although the mats are a bit difficult to get in significant numbers. I appreciate that Blacksmith Tokens, previously only attainable through GvG, can now be gotten from the new Immortal Raid.



  • Chat system is absolutely awful. No word wrap (at least in guild chat). No offline whispers. Whispers have an incredibly small character limit. Guild chat doesn’t update from the first logged in character to the next logged in character if they are in different guilds, so only the first logged in char can use their guild chat. Workaround is to close the entire app and start the app with the character you need for chat.
  • App crashes to phone home screen often depending upon the device. Extensive troubleshooting does not resolve the issue. “Unauthorized app” error provides no feedback and occurs even when unrooted phone has only five installed apps, all from Play store, two of which are this game and Google Play to log in to the game.
  • Dye system is random using non-rechargeable tickets. It’s very difficult to customize an item let alone have multiple customizations for one item (as you can’t duplicate the item for a different dye job). Would prefer randomly unlocking colors for a dye slot and then being able to choose an unlocked color for free or for gold. Would also be like to save various dye jobs on the same item.
  • Lag is very prevalent in true PvP (not fights against AI). I often display the poor connection warning in 1v1 and 3v3. Sometimes abilities are just a little slow, and sometimes I rubberband across the screen into an attack I thought I’d avoided. Or I’m stunned and die from an attack I can’t see by a player not visible on my screen. For someone who already sucks at PvP, this makes GvG even more frustrating.
  • GvG (guild vs guild fights) are only available during certain hours on certain days. Since the North America server uses Pacific time, these hours aren’t incredibly convenient for me. I have to stay up an hour later than I would like to be able to GvG. These hours don’t change depending on the day. If I want to GvG at all, I have to stay up late. Having GvG open a little bit longer, say an extra hour earlier, would make it more accessible to all in North America. Since the only servers are North America, Asia and Europe, it has to be even less convenient for some players.
  • Pop-up ads are plentiful and annoyingly placed with the Buy button over the most likely place for you to click on that screen. (Example: Buy button on pop-up ad is in the same place as the Craft button on the Blacksmith screen.) This happens too often to be coincidence. I dislike the trickery of this tactic. I still prefer the pop-ups to a permanent ad banner, but the option to not see that specific pop-up again for one day isn’t functionally selectable on some of the ads. I’ve even tried on a tablet with a larger screen to no avail. Thankfully, the newer ads don’t have this problem (although they still use trickery).
  • Guild search is practically nonexistent. You cannot search guilds while in a guild, so you must either leave guild or use an alt (who should also be in a guild) to search. You cannot browse guilds using filters. You can only see the top 100 guilds or a short list of recommended guilds selected for you. Recommended didn’t even show up for me last time I was looking for a guild; it just showed a black screen instead. You cannot search using keywords or even wildcards. You can only search for the exact name of a guild. So how do you discover guilds not on the top 100 or probably-blank recommended list? If you find a character you like and you can get into their profile view, you can see what guild they’re in and then search for that guild name. Or use out-of-game means, such as Discord, to find one. That’s what I ended up doing when looking for an active guild.
  • RNG on the highest ranks of gear is a bit frustrating. It’s worse on costumes since you can’t upgrade them to a higher rank like you can with regular gear.
  • Can only buy Adventure Tickets with Friend Points. Need additional things to buy with Friend Points. This currency is underutilized.
  • Guild button doesn’t show a red dot indicating activity is needed unless you’ve completed a guild quest or guild 3v3 is available. It needs to let you know when Attend, Donate (just once), and Send/Receive Cheers are available.
  • Once you reach higher level and have completed each story and adventure quest, things become a bit repetitive. Collecting costumes and GvG are the things I enjoy the most at level 70 (max 80), and I don’t even normally like PvP. It helps that participating is what’s really important, not so much whether you win or lose. Keeps those of us who suck at PvP coming back for more. 🙂

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