Warlocks vs Shadows – Review
Follow Genre: indie action-RPG
Developer: Frozen District
Publisher: One More Level
Platform: PC, Mac, Linux
Tested on: PC

Warlocks vs Shadows – Review

Site Score
Good: Challenging levels, great music, good variety of characters
Bad: Some levels are rather difficult to complete, not an original storyline
User Score
(1 votes)
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Who doesn’t love a bit of nostalgia? With a game that has buckets, as well as plenty of action and magic, Warlocks vs Shadows is a welcome blast from the past- showing Frozen District have obviously been inspired by arcade-style games gone by. With this in mind, we gladly jumped at the chance to try.

Warlocks vs Shadows logo


You begin your journey on the planet Folara- or more specifically, an area called Greenlands, where you see a ‘meteor’ charging through the sky. Little does everyone know that it is actually the Shadows coming to infect the world! No need to fear, however- the Warlocks are here to beat the Shadows and save the day.

Although the story in Warlocks vs Shadows is rather standard for an action RPG, it doesn’t hamper the game in any way. Instead, it rather more adds to the nostalgia of games that you might have played in the arcade until your money ran out, and would come back to play when you had some more.

Warlocks vs Shadows 1


As one might have expected, the graphics in Warlocks vs Shadows again echo that of the classic 8-bit retro games from the 80s. Despite being simplistic, there is lots of detail in the character sprite designs and backgrounds- making it feel almost as immersive as a title with realistic graphics, especially since it has such bright, engaging colours. The characters themselves are nicely varied in shape, size and appearance, which is nice to see in a title like this. To sum up, the graphics are nothing short of charming.


If there’s one word that comes to mind when you hear the music for Warlocks vs Shadows, it’s definitely epic. With different themes for each part of the game, especially with the boss fights, the variety is wonderful and really endorses the nostalgia that Frozen District are bringing to the fore. You’ll certainly find yourself humming the main theme as you beat the Shadows. One other fun thing about this title is the Street Fighter/ Tekken style voiceover of character names. This is a welcome addition the whole arcade atmosphere, as it just makes it that more amusing. Overall, sound in this game is really well done.

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Warlocks vs Shadows is an action RPG that really feels like an arcade game (and not in a bad way). It has three modes for gameplay, which are ‘Story Mode’, ‘Versus Mode’ (where you can play either ‘Deathmatch’ or ‘Try Your Luck’) and finally ‘Horde Mode’ (where you fight as many waves of Shadows as you can). All of these modes have options for single player, local and online multiplayer. Unfortunately we could not test the multiplayer option as no one would join a game, however this is probably due to the fact that the title has not been out for long- and this should improve with time.

It has some interesting (read this as ‘weird’) controls, although fortunately these are customisable if you click the options button at the start. The default keybindings are the directional keys for movement, with the up button being ‘jump’, which are pretty standard. However, where it gets strange is the buttons that make up your abilities. These are: ‘S’ for health potions; ‘Z’, ‘X’, ‘C’ and ‘V’ for your warlock powers; ‘E’ for stats, and finally the spacebar to upgrade your abilities when prompted. Whilst these are all keys that are obviously close in proximity, one might prefer to change them to make them a bit more accessible.

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With 11 characters available (although you have to unlock 5 of them as you progress in the story), each character has a different fighting style, and this can impact how easy it is to progress through each level as some characters’ powers require more skill to use than others (for example, Kheera the Shaman is more difficult to use than Jake the Pyromancer, as the former does not have as many powerful long range attacks).

Levelling up in Warlocks vs Shadows is not difficult, as you simply need to kill Shadows to gain experience. To improve an ability, the game prompts you to press the spacebar, followed by the key assigned to the particular skill, which then highlights a little yellow box above it to show how much stronger that ability is (each can be upgraded 4 times). However, improving your skills can be a bit of an annoyance as you have to do so whilst in the midst of battle. Especially when you are surrounded by hordes of Shadows, it can make you press the wrong key and you end up upgrading a skill that you didn’t want to- so be careful. The title also offers procedurally generated loot and merchants to ensure that you have the best gear as you advance in the story.

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Another great thing about this title is the boss fights. Coupled with their own awesome music, these are challenging levels which allows you to unlock new characters on occasion- although the attacks do become predictable (as all boss attacks do) to give you a chance at beating them. When you’ve been faced with so many Shadows in the previous levels, you’ll be glad you only have to fight one of these bosses at a time!

One criticism of the gameplay though is that the many waves of Shadows can feel a tad overwhelming at times, especially when you’re just starting out in the game. However, if you have a competitive and determined spirit like we had whilst playing, you will beat them in no time when you’ve got used to your character and have figured out the controls!

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Warlocks vs Shadows is great game that returns to the original arcade action RPGs with flair. Perhaps the story is not particularly inventive, but the challenging gameplay and music make it really gratifying, and the design for the backgrounds and characters really take you back to the good ol’ days. One can only imagine how much more fun it would be to play with friends, so make sure to try that out (whilst you cackle in satisfaction when you beat them). Frozen District should be proud of their creation; we will certainly keep replaying it.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Warlocks vs Shadows - Review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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