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“Dark Flame is a solid retro-style ARPG that can easily appeal to any fan of this genre”

Dark Flame is a modern 2D ARPG that borrows elements from the classic and retro ARPGs of the past; it takes clear inspiration from Castlevania: Symphony of Night but it was also influenced by current games such as the Dark Souls series. The game includes platformer elements considering this is a 2D side-scrolling game, and it also allows for the creation of diverse areas that reward players for returning to them.

Currently, there is only a pre-alpha demo available which means that features are missing, and the final release version might be quite different to what can be seen right now. This is important to keep in mind when having a look at the demo or reading reviews about Dark Flame when it gets closer to release date.

Players control Taharial, a knight who has been tasked with investigating a horrible event that may have unleashed a terrible evil back into the world. The aim is pretty simple, fight through the monsters that have begun to appear and defeat the bosses to progress through the game. Sadly, the plot isn’t really mentioned in the alpha as it focuses more on the gameplay so don’t expect to see much of the storyline just yet.

The tutorial at the start of the game is good; it teaches the basic mechanics of the gameplay to help the player get started on their fight through the dark medieval world. There is room for improvement with the tutorials in the game, however, especially when the Pyre Concept and teleportation is introduced later in Dark Flame. It’s still only a pre-alpha demo, so this will probably be changed later down the development line.

Exploration and combat are the two key features in this demo where players are encouraged to collect new equipment to progress through different areas; enemies respawn whenever the player returns to that screen, so it’s also possible to grind a few levels before attempting to take on the boss.

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Combat in Dark Flame has some clear Dark Souls inspired elements and works very well; players are faced with a variety of interesting enemies which each have their own forms of attack and movements. Each type of enemy will always behave in a certain way which makes it possible to learn, predict and dodge their attacks. There’s enough variation to keep it engaging and challenging while also making it entertaining and satisfying.

Dying will happen often, and the game features a handy death counter on the stats screen; respawning works in a style similar to Dark Souls which suits this game perfectly. On death, players will drop all of the money they collected and need to go back to their point of death if they want to re-collect it all. Death points are marked on the map which is incredibly useful for finding the right room again and the large gravestones pinpoint where the money has been dropped.

Like with other RPGs, players can level up their stats in a way that suits them; there are no set classes in Dark Flame which provides players with quite a bit of freedom as they customize Taharial. While the Pyre Concept hasn’t been completely added to the game just yet, it will allow players to further customize their weapons and skills to suit their play style.

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It’s difficult to play Dark Flame without noticing how smooth the retro-style graphics are; they suit the old-school RPG genre and give the game a much darker atmosphere. The graphics are great, but the music in the game is just as strong. The soundtrack suits each point in the game and works nicely with the graphics to form the atmosphere for the game.

Dark Flame is a solid retro-style ARPG that can easily appeal to any fan of this genre; the game is currently in a pre-alpha stage, so there is still plenty of work to do. Overall, the game is entertaining, difficult and features a lot for players to explore. While there are a few things that need some extra work done, these are things that would typically be added to the game as its development progresses.

More information on the game can be found on the Dark Flame website.