Shadow Fight 3 is here, as Nekki has just released the third installment in its popular fighting series for iOS and Android gamers. A lot has changed in between the last release and the new one, and while the modes may have changed in this RPG/fighting game hybrid, the theme remains the same — the game is set in feudal-era Japan, and you’re playing the role of a hero “whose destiny isn’t determined yet.” You can customize your character’s gear, learn new moves, and take part in a variety of game modes, as well as what Nekki calls “three unique fighting styles.”
Nekki also isn’t lying when they call the game “deep and immersive.” This is one fighting game that can get you hooked, but it’s also a game where there are so many things to learn, and so many new mechanics for longtime Shadow Fight players to get used to. As such, we wrote our Shadow Fight 3 strategy guide with new players in mind, but we’ve also included enough tips in here to appeal to intermediate-level players who have fought their share of fights and defeated, or are trying to defeat, a few of the bosses.
1. This Is Not A Game For Button-Mashers
Although learning how to attack in this game is extremely easy, you should not mistake Shadow Fight 3 for being a button-masher where you can just hit any buttons you can get your fingers on and expect to get good results. You need good timing when attacking, and any attack which is 100 percent composed of offense will get you nowhere, unless, in many cases, the difficulty level is already showing as “Easy.” There is a method to the madness here, in other words, and that means setting up your attacks in such a way that they have the best chances of landing. If you remember what we told you in our Shadow Fight 2 guide about how you shouldn’t attack willy-nilly, you should know exactly what we mean.
2. Mix Up Your Moves
In relation to what we told you in the first tip, it’s very important that you add some variety to your moves. In early versions of Shadow Fight 3, it was easy to game the AI, as all you had to do was to hit the punch button while moving back (or going downward left with the controller), and you could easily put your opponent away in any kind of fight. But recent updates now favor a more nuanced approach to things; sticking with the same old move for most of the fight, regardless of how effective it is, will get you beaten in the end. Being unpredictable can help you win fights even when difficulty is at Hard, so make sure that your strikes have variety to them; try alternating the punch and kick buttons, or trying different kinds of strikes with your weapon (as facilitated by the joystick on the lower left and the punch button on the lower right).
3. Fight With The Counter-Attack In Mind
While still riffing on the very first tip, this is the time where we will remind you of that old standby of ours when it comes to fighting games — the best offense is a good defense. Again, it won’t be in your best interests if you’re always on the offensive. Blocking an opponent’s moves is just as easy as standing still, but if you move back or move forward, that’s going to leave you vulnerable to the enemy’s attacks. You should also see what you can do about counter-attacking; take advantage when an enemy misses, and strike them while they’re in the process of trying a follow-up attack. More often than not, you could end up taking out a good chunk out of their health bar, or at the very least, breaking a combo they were trying to string together.
4. How Does Shadow Energy Work?
As we explained in the overview section, Shadow Fighter 3 now allows you to see your character in the flesh, instead of merely in shadow form. And instead of making you string together combos to fill up your Rage Meter and make your blows hit harder each time this happens, the game now has something it calls “Shadow Energy.” How does it work, and what’s in it for you?
If you notice the bluish button next to the punch button, that’s what you’ll hit when you want to activate your Shadow Energy, turn yourself into a shadow for a few seconds, and unleash your special skills, with your regular blows hitting harder. Shadow Energy can only be activated once you’ve filled up the sky blue bar underneath your health bar; typically, you can do this faster by varying your moves, just like we explained earlier. Once you activate Shadow Energy, you can tap on the blue-lit arrows on the joystick (with each arrow corresponding to a different special skill) and the Shadow Energy button at the same time to launch those moves and inflict more damage on the enemy!
There are a few things to keep in mind, however, when it comes to using Shadow Energy. First is the fact that being in shadow mode does not make you invisible, nor does it make you invincible. Your opponent can still see you, and can still inflict damage on you — your being in shadow form merely allows you to launch skills and make your attacks more powerful. Secondly, it’s best to unleash your special skills once you’re at a safe distance from the enemy; launch them too close and your opponent could easily block them by hitting a move of their own. Thirdly, there are some skills that allow you to extend your time in shadow mode; usually, this would only be activated after you’ve received a blow to the head, making this action painful but definitely worth it if you make the most out of the bonus time!
5. How To Collect And Upgrade Equipment
Early on in the game, you will find yourself winning more often than you lose. Things won’t be too difficult at first, and you may win so often that you might lose track of the story. Regardless if this is the case or not, you will always get a card pack after each win in campaign mode and in the side quests — this is the new way of upgrading and collecting items for your character. These cards may either correspond to a brand new item, usually one of higher rarity than the ones you already have, or may be used toward upgrading the items you already have with you. You may also end up with ability cards, which correspond to the skills you can equip on certain items, with existing cards also upgradeable if you get more of the same card the next time you open a pack.
You will also collect more Shadow Energy (the blue unit next to your gold and gems on the upper right hand corner of your screen) as you stack more item and ability cards. Typically, you should only use this resource when it’s cheap to perform an upgrade, say, less than 40-50 Shadow Energy per upgrade. Otherwise, you can keep stacking up cards of the same type, being patient, and improving your equipment and skills that way.
6. If You Run Out Of Time, You Lose
Like in the previous Shadow Fight game, Shadow Fight 3 gives you only general way to win your matches — that’s best of two rounds against most opponents, and best of three against certain ones. And that general way is to win the match before the 99-second time limit runs out. Failure to win before the time limit expires means automatic defeat, and it doesn’t matter if you’ve got far more health than the enemy does — fail to beat them and the round counts against you, with the enemy winning the round instead. It’s not the fairest of quirks, but it’s one of the ways Nekki makes the Shadow Fight series a challenging one to compete in.
7. The Only Thing You Can Grind Are The Duels
Talking about the all-important topic of grinding, Shadow Fight 3 is little different from Shadow Fight 2, mainly in the sense that you cannot replay campaign levels you have already completed. The game comes with side quests in lieu of the mixed-reaction Survival mode, and those too cannot be ignored either. You can’t grind them once you’re done, and you’re only allowed to complete a certain number of side quests every few hours or so.
So how are you to grind if you need that 1,000 coins to buy the most basic of card packs in the game? As we’ve seen, the only grind-able feature here is Duels, which pit you against another human player’s character. You can keep dueling and winning chests, as is the reward for all duel victories, though you can only have a maximum of four chests queued up. But other than chests, duels can earn you some coins if you end up victorious. Take note, however, that Nekki appears to have tweaked the matchmaking system on the last update! In most cases, you’ll be facing a human player’s character of greater strength, so be careful — losing will cost you some duel points, which are used to determine the “league” you play in and consequently the quality of the items in the chest.
Unfortunately, you won’t get any XP by winning Duels or Side Quests. The only way to earn XP is by beating an AI enemy in campaign mode, and since you should only take on these matches once difficulty has gone down to Hard or easier, you may need to do a lot of Duel-grinding, in order to get there. And have a good chance of winning.
8. How Do The Side Quests Work?
Side Quests, as previously mentioned, should not be ignored. While their completion is not essential to the main storyline and its own completion, playing these quests is a good way to earn yourself some extra coins and/or gems, the latter of which are the game’s premium currency.
The term “side quest” doesn’t mean you should take your enemies lightly. Traditionally, these would come with challenges, such as forcing you to play as another character, and to use their weapon instead of the one you’v got equipped. You may also have to deal with certain restrictions, such as getting hit with poison once the enemy lands a blow on you — this means you’ll gradually lose life as the round goes on. You may also have to fight without weapons, or limit yourself to certain types of attacks. These fights can be quite a handful to deal with if you’re not ready, but do not treat them as being merely optional!
9. Take Advantage Of The Free Stuff
Shadow Fight 3 isn’t shy about giving free stuff to players, and that, for starters, includes the free cards you can redeem every four hours. Granted, you might have to settle for common item and ability cards, but at least there’s still a chance of getting some gold. The game will also ask you if you want to watch an advertisement video after opening a card pack or a chest, with the reward for watching a 30-second video being an extra card. Make sure you take advantage of these opportunities as often as possible, as you’ll never know if that free card could turn out to be a real game-changer!
10. Other Basic Fighting Tips To Keep In Mind
Aside from what we had already told you above, we believe it’s also important to conserve your moves. Each attack potentially leaves you vulnerable to one from the enemy, so you want to focus on avoiding their attacks, rather than initiating them for the most part. It’s also not a good idea to move too close to the enemy, as that could leave you a prime target for a throw, which could take out a good chunk of your health. Likewise, you can also wait until an enemy is close enough before going for the throw, as that’s sure to hurt them, while also keeping them at bay. And don’t forget those evasive maneuvers! Your dash (quickly tap the forward/back button twice) and your dodge roll could be helpful as you try to stay away from trouble.
Lastly, it’s also very important to avoid any situation where you find yourself painted into a corner. This could leave you ripe to some embarrassing defeats at the hands of your enemy — either a come-from-behind win for your opponent, or possibly a “perfect” win for them with you getting no offense whatsoever!
11. Boss Battle Tips – Deng Rao
We’re going to wrap up with a couple of boss battle tips for you, starting with Deng Rao, who is the very first boss character you will face in Shadow Fight 3. Early on, this character will taunt you for your friendship with June (the NPC who pretty much serves as your “tutor” after your actual tutorial fight against Gizmo), and that’s going to lead to a boss fight. We’re not sure what you call Deng Rao’s weapon, but it appears to be a cross between a bo and a long spear, making it a great weapon to attack from long range due to its reach.
What you’ll want to do here is to narrow the gap by taking him on in close contact. Watch out for his shadow skills, which include the ability to teleport, as well as the ability to twirl his weapon rapidly, easily stringing together a multi-hit combo that could wreak some havoc on you. It’s best to avoid him when he’s in shadow mode and launching his skills, but otherwise, you’ll have a good chance against him by going toe-to-toe.
12. Boss Battle Tips – Gizmo
Gizmo is, as the name of the boss battle suggests, an old friend of yours, and we did mention that he’s the guy you’re up against in the tutorial stage. At some point, however, he’s going to betray you, and that’s going to set you up against him in the second boss battle of the game. While small of stature, Gizmo appears to pack a lot of power in his attacks, with his special skills including one where he grabs you and repeatedly punches and knees you while holding you up, and another that’s quite reminiscent of a football tackle. (Or a spear, for the wrestling fans out there.) In short, Gizmo is small but terrible, and you shouldn’t let the fact that he doesn’t wield a weapon make you underestimate him.
Unlike Deng Rao, it’s best to fight Gizmo with weapons with a long reach, such as a long sword or a spear. Getting toe-to-toe with this guy is a recipe for quick defeat, but if you stay back and know how to time your strikes, you should be in good shape. Just don’t forget to mix up your moves to avoid getting “read” by the enemy!