First hands on with Running Shadow, coming soon to Android

We recently visited multinational game publisher Game Insight in San Francisco to check out their latest mobile title The Tribez & Castlez, which launched earlier this week. During the visit, Game Insight also gave Android Central an exclusive first look at their next major release: Running Shadow. An endless runner with distinct levels, intuitive combat, and impressive 3D graphics, this one looks like it could be a hit when it arrives on Android.

Running Shadow doesn’t have a release date yet, but you can learn more and see it in action after the break.

A dark city, a ceremony interrupted

Running Shadow screenshot

The game takes place in the fictional, majestic city of Hadrion. The sprawling city has long been split into two parts: the Upper City and the Lower City. The aristocracy occupies the Upper City, while the lower class struggles to get by in the Lower City. Moving between both areas covertly are the members of the Fraternity of Shadows: thieves, assassins, and mercenaries.

At the start of the game, our protagonist (a non-allied thief) stumbles across a dark ceremony performed by the Fraternity. One of their members touches a mysterious artifact and is quickly consumed by it. The uninvited thief takes advantage of the ensuing chaos to grab the artifact for himself. Not only does he survive, but it wraps around his arm like a gauntlet. Soon he must escape from the Fraternity, who desperately want their possession back.

Running on the rooftops and the catacombs below

It’s not just the relatively intricate story that separates Running Shadow from other endless runners. This one is part of that breed that features actual distinct levels – much like the mobile Rayman games. Players have a large map screen to explore, filled with levels to play. The actual number of levels is in the air at this point, but it looks like a good number from what we’ve seen.

After starting a level, the game plays much like other 3D runners. Swiping left and right changes lanes, while up and down will jump and duck. There aren’t any tilt controls, which should please fans of the console-style games that inspired this one. I can live without tilt in most of my games.

Combat uses similarly simple and intuitive controls. When you encounter a standing enemy, swipe up and you’ll perform a jumping slash to topple him. But if the enemy jumps towards you, only a downward slash will take him out safely. Dodging left or right is usually an option as well.

Each level has a specific goal that must be completed before you can leave it. Some of these include killing a specific number of enemies or performing a new technique. Meet the goal and an exit portal will appear. Otherwise, the level loops onward to give players more chances at victory.

Since Running Shadow will be a free to play game, it needs long-term objectives on top of simply completing levels. Character customization is the long-term draw, with numerous weapons and pieces of armor to unlock and purchase from the shop. Whether the hero can equip something other than the outfit from TV’s Arrow remains to be seen. But equipped armor does change his appearance, so it seems likely.

Running Shadow screenshot

Running Shadow is planned for both Android and iOS, but it will launch on Android first. We’ll let you know as soon as Game Insight reveals a release date for it.

Paul Acevedo