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Beta Preview: Dark Lands, a shadowy combat game for Windows Phone

We first mentioned Dark Lands a few months ago. It's an action/adventure game for our Windows Phone that is being developed by Mingle Games and is one of the many projects associated with the Microsoft/Nokia sponsored AppCampus.

Dark Lands is an infinity running game that also has elements of a fighting and RPG game. A battle runner game if you will.

We have been given access to the beta version of Dark Lands and it makes a very admirable first impression. Graphics are well drawn up, game play challenging, and controls nicely responsive. It's a fast paced game that should appeal to many.

Keep in mind that our experience is with a beta version of Dark Lands and the final release may be slightly different here and there.

The main menu for Dark Lands has options to jump into the game, view the information screens, check out your character profile, view your achievements, visit the gaming store, and access the game's settings. Settings cover sound/music levels and the option to display a health bar on the gaming screen.

Dark Lands Character Information

When you first start playing Dark Lands you are sent through a tutorial that will cover all your control gestures and the actions available. After you play the tutorial, you can always revisit it through the "?" symbol on the settings screen.

Game play is straight forward in that your character will be running across the screen and you are tasked with guiding him over/under obstacles, battle monsters and collect bonus items here and there. The goal? See how far you can survive.

The obstacles are a nasty collection of saw blades, spinning blades or death, bear traps, spike traps, and other items that will turn you into a bloody mess. Monsters range from Minotaurs to small dragon-like creatures to plain old enemy troops.

Your gaming controls are all gesture based and control your jumps, defensive moves, slides and attacks. Your movement is constantly forward and you can't slow your character down.

Dark Lands Store

As you play Dark Lands you'll earn gems/crystals that can be used to upgrade your equipment and weapons and upgrade your character's abilities. It also appears that you can purchase gems/crystals through in-app purchases to help you get a jump on things.

Graphics are minimalistic and a little on the dark side (and not as in dimly lit) but look fantastic. The graphics reminds me of the movie "300 (opens in new tab)". Sound effects have a painful tone to them that adds to the game. Game play has a fast pace to it and can be rather challenging. I like the RPG elements where you can upgrade your character and gear.

Controls are fairly responsive but there were times when I slashed instead of jumped or there was a slight delay in seeing the action played out on the screen. Nothing detrimental and likely something that will be ironed out before release.

In the short time we've had our hands on Dark Lands, we find it to be an entertaining and challenging game for both Windows Phone 8 and 7.x devices (in-app purchases not available for the Windows 7.x version). The actual release date is still a few weeks away.  The developers have a little fine tuning to do with Dark Lands and then it goes to AppCampus approval and then Microsoft certification.  We'll keep an eye on things and once Dark Lands becomes available, we'll let you know.

George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.

  • You kind of sound like the main character from the tv show "My name is Earl"
  • Earl then?
  • Hope this game will be available in the launch here in Brazil.
  • I am sorry, we don't  have a certificate for Brazil right now, but we will try to get it for later updates. So stay tuned!
  • Seeing games as sexy as this makes me really think about how bad mine look haha. I'll keep an eye out for it for sure.
  • Xbox Live certification devs, and a full price, none of that freemium bs. Thank you!
  • How can I be a part of the beta program?
  • I am sorry, but we don't have open beta for this game, but we might have for later updates and for follow ups. Please follow us on twitter: @MingleGames or like on FB: we post all news there. Thanks for interest! 
  • No asphalt 8 :( let's hope for next Wednesday...
  • I think gameloft's upcoming game for windows phone is "kingdoms & lords" and then Asphalt 8.
  • F, am I the only one that thinks asphalt 8 should be their priority?
  • +820
  • Yes, I bet Gameloft is still making plenty of cash with 7, and why release 2 elite racing games in the same year? Heck, this years been really good for WP7/8 (more-so 8).
  • I still want my Twin Blades back....
  • Wow, this looks awesome.
  • I love the art style. With or without Xbox this will be a cool game
  • Looks like Outland for XBLA on X360
  • this looks good.
  • I'm really digging the has a retro-mysterious feel to it.
    Any news about it supporting low-end devices with 512MB RAM?
  • Yes, it will support 512MB RAM devices. :-)
  • What phone case is that?
  • Looks a lot like vector on android and iOS
    Hey why don't we don't have it yet ?
  • The shadowy graphics remind me of Limbo.
  • jehugo says:
    What phone case is that?
  • It looks like Nokia CC-3066 (charging cover for L1020).
  • Looks great!  I basically just drooled at the graphics and scrolled to the end of the page to find a download link.  Unfortunately there was none. *Profound Sadness*
  • Hey can one confirm whether it will be freemium or straight down a price??
  • It will be premium (straight down a price as you say), with trial version to try before the buy. There will be in app purchases for WP8 users, but they are not needed for playing at all, it is just for people who wants to speed things up. Game is designed to be playable fluently without it. We are working on levels as well, so there will be two modes in future, infinity run (actual and only right now) and level based run, that are going to be tailored for challanges inside the level. 
    And for sure you won't find any ads there.