Shadow Blade: Reload – Review
Follow Genre: Action-Platformer
Developer: Dead Mage
Publisher: Dead Mage
Platform: PC, Mac (more TBA)
Tested on: PC

Shadow Blade: Reload – Review

Site Score
Good: Fluent controls, Fast and fun
Bad: Lack of overall content
User Score
(3 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.3/10 (3 votes cast)

Shadow Blade: Reload has been released several months ago on Steam, but at that time we sadly missed the release of this flashy ninja game. That being said, with the recent release on Mac’s App Store it was a good time to finally dig into this game and share our opinion. Comic book like visuals and slicing and dicing your way to the end of different levels sounded quite nice, and for the most part it certainly is. We dived into the shadows and prepared ourselves to stain our blades with blood.

shadow blade reload


You are Kuro, a ninja under the tutelage of master Shiro, who belongs to one of the three major shinobi clans that each controls their respective areas. When all of a sudden your peaceful life gets disturbed when the other two factions decide to turn on you, you will have to use your deadly skills to find your master and save him from harm’s way. While you are successful in coming to his aid quickly, he tells you to flee and gives you a mysterious medallion you must guard with your life. Other than the vague partings words: ‘’you’ll know when the time comes’’, you’ll be left to the whimsical moods of fate itself. Several months later you’ll pursue villains in order to know where your master is, as the time has come to set things in motion. Even though you’re following the orders of your master, the medallion has a dark secret and it’s clear that things are not what they seem and that your master did not tell you everything.

The story is brought by comic book panels at frequent intervals, presenting you with a fun way to process things. While dialogues and the plot prove to be very simple, this game thrives on atmosphere, mostly created by said presentation.

shadow blade reload 1


Graphically there are two sides to Shadow Blade: Reload, as on the one hand there are the beautifully illustrated comic book panels that depict the story of the game and on the other hand you’ll find the 2.5D animated gameplay sequences, which are also nicely done, especially in their own way.

Seeing you’ll have a rather zoomed out view of the game, things look rather small and thus some details may get lost in translation, but overall things look rather crisp and clear. Even though there aren’t that many character models, you’ll be treated to enemies that perfectly suit their environments, all accompanied by an arsenal of different traps. Everything has a futuristic vibe that goes well with the otherwise ‘old school’ looking ninja warrior you’re playing with. While the environments are rather generic for each of the areas you’ll find yourself in, things have an appealing look.


The music of the game is quite decent but limited, as many tracks are constantly being repeated. That being said, the soundtrack does the trick, especially when it comes to combining rather modern music with more traditional oriental tunes, making sure the action on screen gets represented as well as the entire ‘ninja’ theme. Sound effects are generic but a game such as this one doesn’t really need anything that special to sound authentic and good.

shadow blade reload 2


Shadow Blade: Reload is an action-platformer where traps and obstacles often pose a bigger threat than the enemies that roam the premises. You’ll be playing through short levels, where you’ll have to navigate quickly and test your reflexes, as speed is a key factor that is rewarded by points at the end of each level.

Stages in both the campaign and challenge modes are pretty much a race from start to finish (even though it only matters for your score whether if you finish the stage quickly). On your way to the finish you’ll encounter enemies and traps, the latter often easily avoidable if you can time your jumps, or approach certain obstacles at the right angle. Enemies often prove to be a bit trickier, especially the ranged ones, as these can pose a serious threat when you’re still trying to tackle another obstacle. Seeing your character can only take one hit, it means you’ll die a lot and have to try other tactics or simply respond quicker. Luckily the game has a lot of built-in checkpoints, allowing you, when you die, to start from the last checkpoint. Other than a few bosses, collecting orbs and kanji, all of the above is pretty much all there is to the game, and truth be told it’s more than enough.

shadow blade reload 3

The campaign mode consists out of seven different areas, each having five to seven different stages. These stages often only take you about three to five minutes to finish, which means the overall experience is rather short, but qualitative nonetheless. The game adds more ‘content’ by adding two extra difficultly levels, that not only make the enemies harder but actually alter the stages themselves by changing the layout or adding extra hazards and obstacles. While cranking up the difficulty level doesn’t truly add story content, you’ll at least be able to keep things fresh and completionists will have a field day as they can start collecting the kanji and orbs once again.

Seeing the game is all about dodging, sneak attacks, quick yet mechanically simple combat and a healthy dose of parkour, responsive controls are very important. Movement and especially jumping and bouncing off walls feel very fluent, making for a very pleasant gameplay experience, allowing even newcomers to get the hang of things rather quickly. Combat is decent, but lacks the same kind of finesse the movement controls have, and this is mainly due to your blade not always responding in time.

shadow blade reload 4

There is a level editor present allowing players to create their own levels, but it’s quite tacky to work with, and there are still some bugs present, making it even harder to get everything to work properly. A fun feature, but it needs some extra work to motivate the current player base.


Shadow Blade: Reload is a fun action-platformer, where the campaign mode proves to be the meatiest part of the game, accompanied by great looking comic book panels. Challenges and extra difficulty options are perfect for completionists, but even those who aren’t looking for replay value will certainly love the style and story of the game, as it combines something modern with classical oriental elements. If you’re a fan of platformers and like a challenge, this one will certainly prove to be a challenge when you crank up the difficulty level.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.3/10 (3 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Shadow Blade: Reload - Review, 9.3 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

No Comments

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.