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". 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 Ponder

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.