Shadow of Death 2 is what a mobile 2D hack-and-slash should be [Android Game of the Week]

Shadow of Death 2
Shadow of Death 2 (Image credit: Android Central/Jordan Palmer)

Sometimes, you stumble across greatness while digging through the Play Store. This happened to me late last week when I was trying to come up with an idea for this article. I found Shadow of Death 2, an Early Access title and sequel to Shadow of Death (obviously). It's a side-scrolling 2D hack-and-slash with a shadowy aesthetic and RPG elements. Intriguing!

All of that sounds cool, but this game was obviously designed with a mobile gamer's short attention span in mind. Each of the levels is often pretty quick to complete, so you can finish one while waiting in line or whatever, and pick it up again later when you have another free moment. While I wouldn't say this game grips my attention as thoroughly as Titan Quest or Anima do, it's definitely a great way to kill some time.

Shadow of Death 2 picks up where its predecessor (a game I never gave much thought to) left off. I remember picking it up a few times to try it and, while I had some fun, I couldn't justify the time investment considering I had other games to play and other responsibilities to deal with.

And like Shadow of Death before it, Shadow of Death 2 is a freemium game, with microtransactions ranging from $2 all the way up to $100. You buy a currency called Soul, which is then used to buy Blood. I'm not the biggest fan of this theme, but it being an Early Access game, we might see things change when the game fully launches. I won't hold my breath, though.

So what do I like about Shadow of Death 2? Well, I'm glad you asked.

First, I love the art style. Though not quite as shadowy as Limbo, Shadow of Death 2 sports an interesting variation of minimalism that I like a lot. The protagonist's only flashy element is his massive sword, which he wields with ease as you power through equally shady enemies. When that sword lands, red blood splashes out, adding its own flair to the otherwise bleak environment.

When it comes to this type of mobile game, my favorite is probably still Grimvalor, but it doesn't do the bite-sized levels that Shadow of Death 2 does. It's better for sitting down and playing for several minutes or hours, whereas Shadow of Death 2 excels at being a quick to pick up diversion. Controls are tight, and each level I tackled can be completed in less than 60 seconds — in fact, that's one of the challenges to complete for each one. So when I say you can play some of this game quickly, I mean it!

As you progress, you unlock new characters to play with, each of which plays differently than Maximus. There's loot to be had, character skins, and an RPG-lite progression system. There's enough here to keep you interested as you mindlessly slay the shadows. And if you fancy it, you can engage in PvP battles.

So if you're looking for a new game to play, then maybe check out Shadow of Death 2, bearing in mind that it's still in Early Access. And if you're still craving more mobile gaming action, then be sure to check out the previous Games of the Week and our roundup of the best games for Android.

Jordan Palmer