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Shadow Fight 3

App review by
Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media
Shadow Fight 3 App Poster Image
Fantasy fighting game takes patience, pushes purchases.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

Learning controls and gameplay is easy, but strategic combat and item upgrades take patience and skill to be successful.

Violence

Combat is the name of the game, but it's not bloody, and defeated characters are KO'd rather than killed. 

Sex
Language

Very infrequent use of the word "ass." 

Consumerism

Campaign mode encourages players to purchase upgrades in in-app store; players can watch ads for additional rewards. Latest installment in Shadow Fight franchise.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Shadow Fight 3 is a fighting/role-playing game (RPG) for iOS and Android devices. A sequel to 2013's Shadow Fight 2, it contains ads and an in-app store, and players are encouraged to purchase in-app currency, energy, and items to make progression faster and easier. It contains an online versus mode, but no player chat or friends list. Combat's the main thrust of the game, and players are shown fighting humans using swords, axes, crossbows, and pikes. But combat is bloodless, and defeated opponents are KO'd rather than killed. Once in a while, dialogue contains mild swearing (like "ass"). Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

SHADOW FIGHT 3 is a freemium fighting game/role-playing game (RPG) set in a fantasy world where three factions (Legion, Dynasty, and Herald) fight for control of a force called "Shadow Energy" that lets warriors perform powerful attacks. Players start as young soldiers within the Legion faction. Tasked with fighting the Legion's enemies with ranged and melee weapons (like crossbows and swords), players fight their way through a Story mode that acquaints them with the other two factions. As players progress, they receive new weapons and armor, which can be upgraded with in-app currency. Aside from single-player mode, two-player Duel mode lets players face off online and earn currency and special items. At level four, players can participate in themed events for special armor sets. 

Is it any good?

This 3D fighter is a definite upgrade from its 2D predecessor, with detailed characters and easy controls, but its weak story and ad-focused push keep it from being a perfect action title. In Shadow Fight 3, you're thrown into a three-way conflict as a young soldier without knowing who you are or why the conflict matters to you. Various characters blurt random information at you, but in the end, it's easier just to ignore them all and get to the fighting. Combat is the app's strong point anyway, with good four-direction controls, visceral one-button attacks, three different fighting styles (one for each faction), and a 2D format that makes it easy to target your opponent. Shadow Abilities make things even more fun, since they can help you do tons of damage or even stage a comeback when you're about to lose a fight.

On top of entertaining combat, Shadow Fight 3 offers you the freedom to use whatever weapons and armor you want, regardless of fighting style. Granted, upgrading items is still a chore. Upgrades take Shadow Energy, which can only be earned by replaying fights or by performing repetitive side missions. The process is pretty slow, but you can make it bearable by playing Duel mode (there's considerably more satisfaction beating real opponents than AI) or skip it altogether by buying Shadow Energy in the in-app store. Whichever you choose, the app's beautiful sound and visual effects are free, and themed seasonal events like Cherry Blossom and Menace of the Swamps offer a change of pace and the chance to fight special bosses and earn special weapon and armor sets. If Shadow Fight 3 offered a more straightforward story, its gameplay would have more meaning; even without it, though, you're in for hours of shadow-fighting fun. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Shadow Fight 3 affected by the lack of blood and gore shown in battle? Would the impact be intensified if combat were more realistic?

  • Do games that constantly push ads to gain progress make you want to purchase the products or apps they market? Do these seem more annoying or necessary because you're not paying for the game in the first place?

App details

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