Nekki Limited is a developer that’s arguably best known for the Vector and Shadow Fight series, the latter being a popular fighting game that is set in medieval times. Previous versions have mostly stood out for their rich backstories and challenging AI battles, but in Shadow Fight Arena (iOS, Android), you can now compete with friends or against human users from all around the world in real-time battles, collecting more than a dozen Heroes from the Shadow Fight universe. Each of these Heroes have unique abilities and Shadow forms, and these characters include those you may know from previous iterations, as well as all-new Heroes released specifically for this new title.
Those who may have been playing earlier editions of Shadow Fight should know that this game can be quite detailed, as evidenced by the realistic fighting mechanics, stunning graphics, and various modes. That remains very much the case with this new version, and first-time players — or even those who’ve played earlier versions but haven’t had exposure to Shadow Fight for a long while — may be overwhelmed by the game when opening it for the first time.
With that in mind, here is our Shadow Fight Arena guide, which covers a wide range of tips, tricks and strategies that can help you win more fights and earn more rewards, especially if you’re a beginner or intermediate player. Even experts might learn something new in this Shadow Fight Arena guide, so read on if you want to sharpen your fighting strategy and then some!
1. The Basics Of Shadow Fight Arena
If you’ve played previous editions of Shadow Fight, you will probably be familiar with many of the game’s mechanics, which remain the same or similar in Shadow Fight Arena. However, the main difference here is that the game no longer centers on PvE fights and a rich story mode — instead, it’s all about PvP battles against other human users, where each of you would need to have three fighters per team, facing each other in 3 vs. 3 battles.
As part of the attacking team, you will need to defeat all of your opponent’s three fighters before they defeat all of yours. But before we get back to the 3 vs. 3 mechanics, let’s touch on the very basics, for those who may not be familiar with the fighting mechanics of the Shadow Fight franchise.
In this game, each round lasts 99 seconds each, and on the bottom left side, you will see the virtual joystick, which you will use to move your fighter around and modify their attacks. The attacks can be found on the right side, where you can choose to attack with your fists or your weapon (the fist, or melee button), launch a kick at your opponent (the foot button), unleash a ranged attack (the topmost button — the icon may vary depending on the type of ranged attack), or activate your Shadow Form.
Using your Shadow Ability against an opponent breaks through their block, though you should also exercise caution when using it, lest you open yourself up too much to an enemy attack. Staying stationary or walking forward or backward, on the other hand, auto-blocks enemy attacks, except when they’ve got Shadow Form active, as we just mentioned.
Aside from the aforementioned types of attacks, you can also throw an opponent, provided you are in close proximity to each other. Moving forward with the joystick and hitting the melee button at the same time allows you to perform this move, which is especially effective against highly aggressive users who focus exclusively on close-contact offense.
Be sure you choose your first fighter — and the next ones — wisely. You cannot change fighters unless the current one is defeated, and that would also go for your opponents. There is, however, a bit of consolation to be had, given this limitation — after successfully taking out an enemy fighter, your current fighter will get a slight Health boost, which could come in handy if you’ve got 50 percent or less Health remaining and are preparing to face one of the opposing team’s weaker fighters.
After each ranked battle, you will earn coins, though you have the option to watch an ad video for bonus rewards — usually more coins. You can also open prize chests that may contain a number of cards and coins if you’ve won enough rounds, though the number of chests you can open within a certain period of time will be limited — the cool down time is four hours, and if you keep on fighting during this timeframe, you won’t be able to open any more chests!
However, the cards that you earn may include free gems, which are the game’s premium currency, as well as hero shards — collect enough of them and you can unlock new Heroes, or upgrade the ones you currently have in order to make them even more powerful on the battlefield. The option to watch an ad for bonus rewards also applies to any chest you may open in the game.
Aside from all those rewards we mentioned, you can also move closer toward leveling up your account as you upgrade your existing Heroes. Increasing your Account Level results in a 10 percent attribute increase for specific Heroes (for example, Ironclad and Kibo get the 10 percent boost in level 1, Fireguard and Hong-Too get it in level 2), and for even-numbered level-ups from level 2 through 10, doing so allows you to activate new talents.
2. Defense Is Easy, So Don’t Neglect It
As we mentioned above, blocking is done automatically in Shadow Fight Arena, just as long as your Hero is standing still or walking — otherwise, if your back is turned to your opponent, if you’re jumping, or if your opponent is in the middle of a ferocious combo, you are completely vulnerable to enemy attacks. Given how easy it is to defend, it’s also easy to overlook this element of fighting and focus entirely on offense, especially against your first few opponents.
However, you will eventually get to face more skillful opponents with stronger fighters, and that’s when your ability to block their attacks or evade them will come in handy. Take note that blocking an attack does not mean you will not lose any Health! A successful block will greatly reduce the impact of the blow, but you will still lose a few health points in the process.
Instead of going all gung-ho on offense and trying to pin your opponent in a corner — a strategy that can work quite well against weaker enemies — it’s better to observe them carefully and try to predict their moves before charging at them. If you notice them going for the attack right away, stand your ground or simply walk — don’t run or jump — toward them so that all of their moves are automatically blocked.
Don’t get too close unless you’re planning to throw them, and always be on the lookout for whenever they use their Shadow Ability. Enemies in Shadow Form can be easier to attack and more vulnerable, but if you get too close and aren’t able to prepare in advance, that just might be enough for them to turn the tide in their favor, thus resulting in those heartbreaking come-from-behind victories for the opposing side.
Aside from blocking, you will also have the option to use the dodge roll by moving back or forward while also moving the joystick downward. You can also perform some aerial maneuvers to avoid enemy attacks, but instead of moving the joystick down while you go back or forward, you’ll need to move it upward. Such maneuvers are rather difficult to pull off and they could leave you vulnerable in one way or another, so you may not need to use them too often. You will, however, want to mix them in with the standard auto-blocking in order to throw off your opponents.
3. Exercise Caution When Using Your Shadow Form / Abilities
For those who haven’t played any Shadow Fight game before, the blue bar underneath your health indicator shows you how much Shadow Energy you have accumulated during the fight — Shadow Energy is gathered through the attacks that you land on your opponent, and once you’ve filled up the bar, the Shadow Form button on the bottom right side of the screen will turn blue, allowing you to activate it whenever you’re ready. However, you shouldn’t take advantage of this potential boost willy-nilly, because if you aren’t careful, you just might end up on the receiving end of a relentless combo strung together by the enemy!
The first thing to consider when deciding whether to activate your Shadow Form or not is the type of Shadow Ability you can use once this form is activated. Some abilities can be used from a distance while others need to be used in close-contact combat in order for them to work. Others don’t require much setup time at all, while there are some that are especially deadly, but would require you to be at a certain range of your opponent and would take a couple seconds or so before they’re ready to use.
Next, you should also make sure you never activate Shadow Form when you are vulnerable, especially if you are currently being attacked. Wait for the action to die down and wait until you regain your bearings before activating your Shadow Form and, assuming you’re fully aware of your character’s Shadow Abilities, using them to turn the tables.
Lastly, also bear in mind that there are some Heroes whose talents allow them to absorb an opponent’s Shadow Energy — among the more common characters, Kate is a classic example of someone who can drain Shadow Energy if she’s on the battlefield.
4. Take Advantage Of Those Combos And Defend Against Them
Although we are advocates of defensive-oriented fighting in games such as Shadow Fight Arena, that doesn’t mean the best offense is always a good defense. On the contrary — we have mentioned combos quite a few times in this guide so far, and these are a great way to swing the momentum in your favor, as long as you find the right opportunity.
Normally, the best time to launch a combo would be at the very moment your opponent unleashes an attack, provided you’re within their range. Once you hit the enemy, just keep on hitting the melee button repeatedly and you’ll probably be able to string an eight to ten-hit combo that should drain a lot of Health from your opponent. This should be especially true if you string the combo together while you’re in Shadow Form.
Some of the best combos you can unleash are the ones where you’ve got your opponent cornered against the extreme left or right side of the arena. As long as you’re quick with your attacks, it will be hard for them to break the combo, and if you’re able to knock them down, you can just keep going to town on them and taking a huge chunk out of their Health.
Of course, it will be inevitable for you to be on the receiving end of a combo — such are the breaks of the game, especially if you’re playing a title such as this where you will mostly be facing human-controlled opponents. Technically, you cannot block a combo once it has started, but you can definitely break it — one common way to do this is by throwing your opponent to the ground. Wait until the combo has ended, then if you’re close enough, hit the melee button and move your joystick forward at the same time in order to grab your opponent and throw them.
5. Integrate Some Kicks Into Your Attacks
It’s very tempting to rely solely on the fist/melee button when attacking opponents in Shadow Fight Arena. If you’re using a weapon, the common thinking is that this would do a lot more damage than you would if you’re using your feet or your fists — the latter being your only option with the melee button if you’re using a hero such as Ironclad.
However, kicks can be deceptively useful, and if you come to think of it, they can do a fair bit of damage if you know when to use them at the right time. You may still prefer using the melee button, which is fair enough, but don’t make the mistake of being a one-dimensional melee button spammer. In the best interests of keeping your attacks varied, those kicks will do you more good than harm once you get the hang of the timing.
In addition to using straight-ahead kicks to the head or to the midsection, a well-timed foot sweep could be a momentum-changer if you hit it at the right time and trip your opponent. That’s doubly true if it turns out to be a critical hit! You could also use this as a fairly effective combo-breaker in many situations, thus allowing you to regroup and get back on the offensive after sustaining a great deal of damage.
6. When Should You Use Your Ranged Attacks?
Likewise, it’s also easy to forget that ranged attacks exist. As we mentioned, different characters have different attacks they can use when at a good distance from an enemy, and while they may not deal as much damage as even a short melee combo, they can be quite underrated. When can you use them to your advantage in Shadow Fight Arena?
If you notice that at the start of a round, your opponent isn’t moving toward your Hero, you can get the First Strike by launching a ranged attack. You can also use them in the middle of a round, usually following a dodge roll backward that would allow you to get that much-needed spacing.
Conversely, you should not use ranged attacks when you’re in close contact — that would just be impractical and wouldn’t do you much good, considering that it takes some time to set them up. Don’t use them either if your opponent is making an aggressive move in your direction, and do not fire them if you’re too far off. And take note that ranged attacks have a cool down time and could be modified depending on the Talents you have activated.
One important thing we should mention is that you can roll away from projectiles but you cannot block them! This should be incentive enough for you to take them into consideration when fighting in the arena.
7. Beware Of Overconfidence – Low Health Doesn’t Weaken Opponents
In the real world of fighting, an opponent with low health should ideally be weaker than someone who is relatively unscathed and still in good physical shape. However, in the Shadow Fight universe, enemies with just a sliver of health remaining are just as tough as they were when their health was at, or close to 100 percent.
Yes, it may be tempting to get especially aggressive against an ostensibly dying enemy fighter, but remember that they can still deal out the same amount of damage and are still just as fast, quick, or strong as they were at the start of the round.
Based on our experience, it’s those low-health fighters that could prove to be especially surprising, especially once they activate their Shadow Form — one poorly timed attack could lead to them stringing together a lengthy combo or using their Shadow Ability successfully. As we said, you don’t want to be on the losing end of a come-from-behind round.
8. Know Your Heroes, Especially Their Talents And Shadow Abilities
Now that we’ve gotten the fighting tips out of the way, let’s go back to Shadow Fight Arena’s main screen and one particular menu you should regularly visit — the Hero Library. You can access this by tapping on the shield icon — the bottom-most icon on the left side of the main screen — and once you’re in the menu, you will see the three active Heroes on your team, as well as all of the available Heroes in the game, regardless whether you’ve unlocked them or not.
You can view information for all Heroes, unlocked or not, by tapping on their icon then tapping on Details, and this will be very important in helping you formulate your fight strategy. After all, isn’t it much better to use a character in battle that you’re familiar with?
On the left side of each Hero’s screen, you will see their Unique Abilities — using Ling as an example, his first Unique Ability is Slashing Strike, which allows you to break an enemy block and deal critical damage with the third strike after two successful katana attacks. His second, Ling’s Flask, allows him to drink from his flask and exhale its content toward enemies in order to deal out damage.
You will also see each Hero’s Shadow Abilities and controls — for Ling, move the joystick to the right and hit the Shadow Form button in order to perform the Piercing Lunge. Underneath that, you’ll view your Heroes’ basic stats — Attack (how much physical damage you can deal in regular form), Defense (how well you’re able to take damage), and Shadow Power (how much damage you can do in Shadow Form).
The right side features three separate sub-menus, starting with Talents, which are passive improvements to a character’s stats or abilities — for Ling, you can choose between Powerful Slash to increase his Slashing Strike damage or Improve Flask to make his flask recharge faster. Other Talents can be unlocked as you level your Heroes up, and you can switch between Talents simply by tapping on the one you wish to activate. It’s best that you experiment with all your Hero’s available Talents at any given time, then stick to the ones that fit your playing style the best.
The Customize sub-menu, on the other hand, allows you to equip different skins for your Heroes, while How to Play may be the most interesting, as it features Nekki’s own tips that could help you use the character in question more effectively. We’re still sticking with Ling as our sample hero here — as suggested in his How to Play sub-menu, you should use him defensively for the most part as he’s someone who “doesn’t like to rush,” but string together combos with his katana once you sense that an enemy has made themselves vulnerable.
In addition, the How to Play section shows you a Hero’s rarity, their class, and their degree of difficulty/learning curve — Ling, Kate, and Ironclad are among the Heroes considered as “Easy” to use, Shang is an example of a Hero with Normal difficulty, while Jack Bulwark and Emperor are among those with a Hard learning curve, so make sure to practice frequently with those guys (and other “Hard” Heroes) before adding them to your team!
9. Hone Your Skills By Fighting In The Unranked Modes
While ranked battles are the heart of Shadow Fighter Arena, there is a way for you to practice your skills in lower-stakes settings, particularly if you’re trying to while the time away during the chest cool down period, coming off a rough stretch where you’ve lost several fights in a row, or facing tougher and more skilled opponents in general.
By that, we mean the other game modes, which you can choose by tapping on the green button above the Fight button on the main screen. By default, all fights will be in Ranked mode, where you can challenge other human players for trophies and rewards. However, you can also opt to play Unranked battles against other users, AI Only battles against, well, computer-controlled opponents, or VS Friend battles against people you may have added in the game as friends.
Regardless whether you choose Unranked, AI Only, or VS Friend, the stakes are lowered and you can practice your moves and your strategy without anything on the line, and with much less pressure involved. The catch here, of course, is that you cannot win any rewards — these are unranked battles, after all — but it’s a good way to kill some time or to get your technique back after a frustrating stretch!
This also serves as a great opportunity for you to test newly unlocked characters, practice their basic attacks and Shadow Abilities, and see how well they could fit in your team of three.
10. Keep Fighting Ranked Battles In Order To Move Up From Arena To Arena
Although you can only fight so many battles and get rewards within a four-hour period, as we had mentioned above, there may be times when you may consider fighting some more even if you won’t be getting any prize chests to open once you’ve won enough rounds.
That’s because each victory will earn you around 30 trophies or so, thus bringing you closer to moving to the next arena in the game. (Losing a battle will result in some trophies getting deducted from your total, usually less than ten.) New arenas will bring different backgrounds, but will also pit you against tougher competitors, so make sure you’ve gotten enough experience and honed your technique and strategy before graduating to the next arena!
All in all, there are ten arenas available in Shadow Fight Arena, and in order to make it to Arena X, you’ll need to have at least 3,400 trophies — you will, however, receive a free Hero Chest, which contains 29 cards (eight guaranteed Rare, one guaranteed Epic), and 500 coins! There are also several other rewards that you can collect once you reach certain trophy milestones, though we’ll be discussing those in a little more depth in the very next tip.
11. You Can Choose To Fight AI If It Takes Too Long To Find A Human Opponent
Shadow Fight Arena may have been designed to bring PvP mechanics to the popular franchise, but your ranked battles likely won’t exclusively be against human opponents. If the matchmaking system takes more than 30 seconds to find a user with a similar team rating and/or account level, the option to face an AI opponent will appear.
If you’re able to defeat the AI opponent, you will still receive trophies, and if there are free chests to open for winning a certain number of rounds, the rounds you won will be counted as well. Likewise, you will lose trophies if you aren’t able to beat the AI’s enemy fighters. In short, ranked battles against AI work exactly the same against those against human-controlled opponents.
While there seems to be a better chance of facing a weaker opponent in terms of rating if you choose the AI option — to say little of how AI enemies tend to have more predictable strategies — you won’t always get a cream puff team! Computer-controlled opponents can be deceptively tough to knock out, which means you should still be bringing your A-game regardless of who’s controlling the enemy team in ranked fights.
12. What Freebies Can You Collect In The Game?
Even if it’s just for a few seconds, you’ll still want to log into Shadow Fight Arena and open the app in order to collect your daily rewards. At first, you wouldn’t be getting much — for day one, you will get 300 coins, and for day two, you’ll get 20 gems.
However, you will get 30 cards on your third daily login, possibly allowing you to level up one of your higher-ranked fighters. You’ll get more of the same, as well as prize chests, until the 29th day, and by day 30, you will get a brand new Hero Chest, all for free! And that’s just the daily login rewards, which do not force you to start back at square one in case you miss one day.
By tapping on the fourth button from the top on the left side of the main screen, you will be able to view the different rewards you can collect while playing the game. In the Arena, you can pick up rewards, including coins, chests, and cards, once you reach a certain number of trophies. For example, you can get an Apprentice Chest once you reach 400 trophies and 20 cards once you reach 500. Getting promoted to Arena III (Ancient Temple) once you get 600 trophies will also allow you to open a Warrior Chest.
In the Account section, you can view the heroes who will benefit from the aforementioned 10 percent attribute boost at each given level, as well as the percentage increase for those Heroes’ attributes for leveling up. Finally, Fight Pass also allows you to collect more rewards once you reach certain milestones in terms of wins — these include Fighter and Victory Chests, which respectively come with 16 cards/170 coins and 25 cards, as well as new Emotes that you can use in battle to psyche out your opponent. You have the option to upgrade your Fight Pass to Gold, though that’s going to entail a monthly fee of about $11 USD or its equivalent in local currency.
13. Make Sure You Have A Stable Connection
Being that it’s a game that is centered on PvP battles, Shadow Fight Arena requires that you have an internet connection to play. Not having a strong Wi-Fi or cellular connection won’t be a problem if you’re competing in those low-stakes fights against unranked AI or human opponents.
However, if you’re in a ranked battle, where trophies are on the line and there are coins and other rewards to be won, you run the risk of getting kicked out of the fight if your connection drops! This results in what the game calls a “technical defeat,” which essentially ends the battle regardless of how many rounds are remaining once someone has been kicked out due to a loss of connection.
If it’s any consolation, you will still be credited for any rounds you have won before getting kicked out, when it comes to the free chests you can unlock. However, it’s certainly disheartening to get booted for something that isn’t technically (no pun intended) your fault, so with that in mind, you may want to stick to unranked fights if you’re having internet problems at home or on the road where your cellular connection may not be at its best.
And this is where we end our guide for Shadow Fight Arena. If you happen to know more tips or strategies for the game, feel free to drop us a line in the comments below!