Dawn of Darkness: Glory Calling! is a new Facebook-based massively-multiplayer online role-playing game from IGG. The game is currently enjoying an advertising push through Facebook’s sidebar modules.
Dawn of Darkness describes itself as a “side-scrolling turn-based RPG.” Players choose one of six different characters — three different classes, with options for both genders — and are thrown into the game world alongside other players. Progression is determined largely by completing quests for characters in the main “town” area. The quests follow a linear path of gradually-increasing difficulty and reward players with various pieces of equipment along the way. Every quest follows the same format — go to quest area (referred to as a “dungeon” even if it is outside), defeat all the waves of monsters, return to town.
The vast majority of Dawn of Darkness runs on autopilot. Accepting a quest causes the player’s character to automatically run to the destination. Clicking on an enemy to engage in combat causes a “hands-off” combat sequence to play. Upon returning to town, clicking on the on-screen quest log causes the player’s character to automatically return to the questgiver for rewards. This makes the game very friendly to those who are new to role-playing games, but those who prefer to take full control of their hero may be somewhat disappointed.
The game gradually opens up in complexity as the player increases in levels. First it becomes possible to recruit allies, then the opportunity to use special formations that affect various statistics becomes possible. Next, players gain the ability to spend earned skill points on “Talents,” which unlock new skills and formations. Following this, players learn how to train their companion characters and eventually gain the opportunity to battle other players in a PvP Arena or cooperate in a Guild.
Dawn of Darkness is well-presented, with smoothly-animating side-scrolling graphics and unobtrusive (if repetitive) music. The interface is very cluttered, however, with on-screen information regularly overlapping and becoming somewhat difficult to read. A full-screen option would go some distance towards fixing this problem, but there does not appear to be one. It is, however, possible to hide other players if they are getting in the way of questgivers and other useful characters in town, which is a welcome addition.
In terms of social features, Dawn of Darkness is more like a traditional MMO than a Facebook game. A real-time chat interface occupies the lower-left portion of the screen, with several “channels” allowing players to talk to the whole game world, just new players or just players in the local area. Players may also send private messages to one another, add them to their in-game friends lists or block them if they are being abusive. At no point is a player’s Facebook profile revealed — all social interaction is done in the game itself using the character names that players have chosen for their avatars.
Dawn of Darkness is a solid enough game but it would have been nice to at least see the option for players to take manual control of their characters during combat. As it stands, there is little in the way of actual strategy or the necessity of quickly responding to dangerous situations — players simply equip their heroes with the strongest equipment they have and then watch the battles unfold. In many ways, it’s like a much-better presented version of the “card-battling” games that are immensely popular on mobile devices at present — those, too, feature “hands-off” combat and linear progression as well as player-vs-player combat. The difference here is that Dawn of Darkness more closely resembles a traditional “game” whereas many of the mobile “card-battling” titles are text-heavy and look more like poorly-designed websites.
Dawn of Darkness will likely pick up a modest audience over time, made up primarily of people who enjoy RPG-style progression but perhaps find more strategy-heavy games challenging. It could use a little work — a full-screen mode in particular would make the game experience much more pleasant — but as it stands, it has the makings of a title likely to enjoy a modest but dedicated community.
You can follow Dawn of Darkness: Glory Calling’s progress with AppData, our traffic tracking service for social games and developers.
A solid game, albeit one that practically plays itself for the most part.