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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Review - Dark Summoner + Tips

After getting my smartphone, I felt the need to play some game that has a progressive aspect that I can play once in a while to build myself up. Naturally, a casual RPG title seemed appropriate, so I tried searching for RPG games that were available on Google Play. What I found wasn't really much of an RPG, but it was also a title that I kept seeing in ads on some of the other games I play. They were Rage of Bahamut and Dark Summoner. Both seemed to share similar concepts, and I decided to give Dark Summoner a try first, to see how it plays out.

The game is less of an RPG, and more of a Trading Card Game, but less about trading, and more about... summoning the cards, and leveling them up by sacrificing cards you don't want. In other words, a "card game", that really isn't a full-blown card game, but mostly just comparing each cards' attack and defense stats to see how much damage you do to each other's cards. It wouldn't be a good game if it was done any other way, like with actual cards, or even as a video game, but for a mobile game, it might just be the thing to keep you entertained for a few minutes at a time.

Gameplay - The first thing you do in Dark Summoner is choose which Guild to fight for. There are three guilds; The Guild of Sin, The Guild of Rancor, and The Guild of Tyranny. From what I have observed, the Guild of Sin seems to be ahead of the other two guilds in points most of the time, while Guild of Rancor and Guild of Tyranny are usually very close to each other in points. I believe the guild that has higher points at the end of the day gets bonus Ally Points, so if you'd like to conform and take advantage of being in the winning team, Guild of Sin may be your better choice. I chose Guild of Tyranny, but even as second place, I get 100 Ally Points for beating the Guild of Rancor. Other than that, there doesn't seem to be too much of a difference, other than what the game tells you about what stat bonuses each guilds have. Guild of Sin gives a bonus to your Attack stat, Guild of Tyranny gives a bonus to your Defense stat, and Guild of Rancor gives a bonus to your Health stat. Although I have no clue how much, or whether if this bonus is inherently active, since I see no mention of this stat boost anywhere in-game.

The first thing to note in Dark Summoner is that you make a deck of 5 cards, with one of them being the Leader card. Leader cards get double HP bonus, and also becomes the card that represents your user avatar as well. If you put 5 cards of a certain combination in, you can activate a Combo Bonus, raising the whole party's stats. For example, having a full party/deck of a specific guild (Sin, Tyranny, Rancor) gives you a 10% boost to both Attack and Defense for your whole party. It is possible to stack other combos as well, like Level Combo where all cards in the deck are the same level. Surely there are other combos out there, but I have yet to discover them.

So how do these stat boosts help with the game? Dark Summoner is a very PVP oriented game, as you have two, separate, regenerating points; Energy and Battle Points. Battle Points are used to summon the creatures on your cards to battle against other players. The more BP you have, the more stronger cards you can summon, or fight more often. Fights are done automatically, where each card attacks once per turn, although I'm not sure what determines the order they go in as I don't see a speed stat on the cards. For the most part, sweeping strategies with fast cards would dominate, if you can figure out which cards are faster. Some cards have special abilities that they can use in combat, which can add to strategic elements, but I haven't seen it be put to good use yet. As far as strategy goes, you can choose which enemy cards to target first, which you can set when creating your deck formation. There are many options, so most likely you will find what you would want in the list. My favorite is "Target enemy with least HP" to quickly whittle down their attacking forces.

Outside of combat, there are missions you can do to gain Summoner EXP and Gold, as well as more monsters and collectable loot. This is what you will be spending most of your Energy in as it is your main source of monsters and gold to sacrifice to level up your cards. By sacrificing cards you don't need, you can level up your other cards. Sacrificing costs gold to do, and Rank C cards has a chance of mutating into a different card when sacrificing one, other Rank C card. The chance of mutation happening is rather low though, so I wouldn't expect it to help out much. Rank A cards on the other hand can Evolve by sacrificing the same cards together, if you have a duplicate Rank A card.

Leveling up as a summoner is important as it gives you stat points that you can put into either Energy or BP. My suggestion is, once you have enough BP to summon the 5 monsters you want to battle with, focus on Energy so that you can become stronger faster. Once you feel like you have enough Energy, you can then build up more BP to allow you two battles with your full party. Keep in mind, the later missions will start costing more Energy to do.

You can gain more of these stat points however by leveling up and adding Allies to your list. In fact, adding allies is highly recommended as allies will help you with fighting raid monsters. Raid monsters can be summoned by collecting all 6 collectable loot in a set, and defeating them will reward you with that monster card, which is an easy way to get an A Rank card. Raids are timed, however, and you only get 2 hours I believe to take its HP down. Each attack will cost 10 Energy as well, so when building up max Energy, it might be a good idea to aim for multiples of tens. If you fail to take down the raid monster within the time limit, the monster will escape, and you will have to re-collect the set of collectable loot again to try again. When you have many strong allies however, this is hardly a difficult task. If you are having trouble, try leveling up to increase your max ally count, as well as your max Energy, and add more strong allies. Having allies will also give you Ally Points which is used to summon more monsters, so it is certainly beneficial to have as many as you can. 

There are also bonuses for collecting many different monster cards in the achievements section. By unlocking these achievements, you also unlock some boosts to help you out, like shorter Energy regeneration time, and gaining additional gold per hour.

Graphics - As a card game, graphics is important. If the cards don't look appealing, then there really isn't much to look at in a card game, usually. In Dark Summoner, most, if not all cards have a very dark feel. Some of the cards can be creepy, scary, or simply disturbing. There are cool-looking cards, but I have yet to find any that I really like yet. As of writing this review, I have 149 cards out of the 852 that are available in the game so far, most of which are cards in the C and C+ Ranks.

Aside from the cards, the game features some very impressive-looking, pre-rendered 3D movies, which originally got me to try out Dark Summoner first instead of Rage of Bahamut. Unfortunately, there's only the Intro movie, Summoning movie, and the Sacrifice movie as far as I know. The rest of the game doesn't look anywhere as good as these, and after seeing them for the first few times, you get tired of them and find yourself skipping them.

Sounds - The game only has two or so tracks and quickly becomes repetitive. Thankfully, there is an option to turn the music off. The cool thing about the cards is that they have sounds associated with them as well, although many of them are generic, and many cards share the same sounds. Although, really, who cares about sounds in a pseudo card game anyway?

Overall, Dark Summoner is a decent game for the social, pseudo-card game genre with a dark theme. If you think you can get into this genre, then Dark Summoner may be worth trying. However, the genre itself may not cater to everyone as it boils down to collecting rare cards and leveling them as high as you can. As a short pass time on the go, I enjoy it for what it is.

If you're going to start the game, then you will most likely want to put in a referral code to get additional starting bonuses (on top of the tips and knowledge of the game you have already from reading this review). Using any referral code will be the same for you as a new user I believe, so it would only be beneficial to do so. Unless you have a friend who already plays and wants your referral, here is my referral code so you don't have to go and search for one elsewhere.

User ID: 2763429419

Edit: After a few days of posting this, I'm seeing quite a lot of people with questions regarding the game, so I'll answer some of the common ones here.

Q: How should I prioritize my sacrifices?
A: First, decide on a team; preferably something with a combo bonus, consisting of cards with rank B or higher. Level those 5 cards equally for the Level Combo, and high to be successful. The higher the better, but will also become more costly to raise.

Edit: You may also want to focus on monsters with skills that can help with your team's strategy. If you've decided on a monster with a skill, you will also want to raise the skill level as high as you can as well by sacrificing a single monster with the same skill for a chance to increase its skill level, upgrading the skills' effectiveness during combat. The higher the level of the skill, however, the harder it is to level up. By sacrificing a monster with a higher skill level of that same skill will increase the chances of the main monster's skill level rising.

Q: How do you mutate monsters? Or how do I get more B rank or better cards?
A: I only managed to mutate a monster once, and the chances of it happening is fairly low. For the most part, all I did was sacrifice a single C rank monster to level another C rank monster, and it mutated into a B+ rank monster, I believe. Not sure if there are any combinations that guarantees a certain type of mutation, but I see no evidence of mutations working that way. For the most part, it's a desperate attempt move for getting a higher ranked monster from some C ranks... but you will have an easier time getting B rank monsters from some of the later missions where you can randomly get a Free B Rank Unique Summon instead. Best to get more Energy to speed through missions and get more chances of finding them.

Q: Should I evolve my Rank A Monsters?
A: It depends. If it's a monster that is currently in your formation, you may want to have a temporary replacement until you raise that monster back up in levels, as evolutions will revert the monster back to level 1. However, the benefits to evolving can be more than higher stats per level, as some monsters will gain new skills through evolution. In fact, there are monsters that will change its name and art through evolution.

Do keep in mind evolution alone costs about 30k, and the monster will require some leveling again, costing you more gold, so it can be an expensive investment. So be mindful of whether if what you are evolving will be something that you would like to have in your final formation.

Q: What are some good formation combos?
A: The most effective combos are the ones that give +15% to Attack and Defense. They are usually species combos, such as Brute, Wyrm, Beast, Creation, Mystic, Undead, Crawler, etc. However, there are some other, unique combos that can be done as well, such as Winged Combos.

Take note, however, that I have gotten the White-Winged Combo, as well as (Any) Winged Combo, but they both do not activate at the same time. On top of that, both Winged Combos only provide +15% bonus to attack, which was disappointing, finding 5 monsters with white wings. As cool as it is to have a more specific, unique theme for your formation, it will not provide any more bonuses than the normal species combos.

Q: What is the max level for monsters?
A: The max level depends on what rank the monster is. Here is a list of the max levels by ranks.
  • C - Level 20
  • C+ - Level 30
  • B - Level 40
  • B+ - Level 50
  • A - Level 60
  • A+ - Level 70
  • AA - Level 100
  • AA+ - Level 150


  1. So I wonder. If I'm in giuld if sin, should my cards be guild of sin too?

    1. No,go with your best combo. keeping 3 good sets (1 from each guild) will help on some specials.

      player id:1488537014

    2. Yes, going with your own guild monsters give you more of a bonus then using say a team from tyranny or rancor. So try out sin demons. Very good team.

  2. you can get a bonus for that. also if your leader is sin and your guild is sin some monsters will give you a bonus. for example im covert and when i set sky dragon as my team leader the team gets a hp bonus. im guessing with the right leader sin gets an attack bonus but im not sure.

  3. I have heard the bonus for your specific guild is very slight at best. It's better to focus on a solid group. Even though I'm tryanny (purple) I could put together a very good impulse team and it not be detramental to me in battle. First team I put together was All purple As no A+s. This gives a 20 percent bonus to both attack and defense. As soon as you can try to get all 1 species as this is the biggest bonus. Level bonus is only 5% not great, it seemed far better to have a really high level party leader to take advantage of double HP.

  4. I had a question about leveling skills, I've gotten to about level 7 and have wasted a lot of skilled monsters trying to get higher, I rank up my sacrafice to skill level 2 and still don't level my good monster. Is there good advice about what level you need to move up your sacrafice to be most effective at leveling your good monster?

    1. Yes raise your sacrifice lvl higher...use lvl 4 sacrifices to get to lvl 20 which is max.

  5. Best time to Join!
    Enter my ID and we both get one the most powerfull cards in the game. ID:2659279381

    1. thats a lie you get really terrible cards and i have all ex monsters almost all the way leveled up

  6. My ID is 2990364952, enter it when you begin the game and we both get 3 free summons! Plus you get to start out with powerful monsters because I'm level 69! C: Basically we get free stuff lol :)

  7. My is 2324908022..we both can use the summons

  8. Put in my player ID 2960689202 and get 3 FREE RANK A SUMMONS. Also, if you message me and tell me you did it I will GIFT YOU SOMETHING. I have a lot of Rank A monsters to give away right now...

  9. Hello, u can also try my ID for great rewards and energy potions after lvl 30 :) ID: 2184924534

  10. Join Dark Summoner and get free stuff by using my ID:1641721450!!!!!!!!!! :)

  11. 'Kell' D'aarMarch 18, 2013 at 7:12 AM

    Guild: Sin.
    Player ID: 1995528127
    When you start the game and input my Player ID above, you will receive 3 Ally Invite Summons and some other bonuses.

    Lost City Sinners (Lvl 46)
    Clan ID:62054427
    Looking for Active players (pref. Sin)

    1. 'Kell' D'aar
      should read
      'Kell' D'aar
      My DS character name

  12. How come if you have a formation of the same 5 type AA+ it gives you no combo's such as impulse, beast, level etc?

    1. That is because you cannot make a combo using the same monster in a team. If they are A and A+ ranked, then you can get some combos, but if they are both A or A+, or AA and AA+ for that matter, then your team won't qualify for a combo.

      This keeps the game a little more interesting with variety instead of having one, heavily sought after monster that can be a 5 Combo team by having 5 of them.

      So you'll have to find a different type of monster that can qualify for the combos you want in your team.

  13. I was interested in your giveaway my id is that2640993020 the name is doin if you have any monster limit plus left also what are the lord cards good for, i know souls are good for leveling up, what is soul of skills and soul of evolution used for

    1. Souls are used for good leveling. The more BP a monster has, the more XP it will give when sacrificing. That said, souls with high BP will give monsters a lot of levels. I did some calculating, and 10 Souls of Philosophy+ will get you over 150 levels for a monster, but they're super expensive. 10 Souls of Wisdom + are crap, and don't give you shit. 10 Souls of Enlightenment+ give you around 45 levels, so they're decent, and cheap too. Souls of Skills are used for raising skills of monsters. You usually wanna save these for EX monsters or if you have a monster whose skill won't go up easily. Evolution Souls are souls that let you evolve monsters instead of using two of the same monster. I think, so far, they only have up to AA, though.

  14. I just downloaded dark summoner on my andriod and the game won't let me commit my first summon. can someone please help me!?!

  15. Play Dark Summoner together!
    Guild : Sin
    When you start game Enter my Player ID: 1854259742
    You can get three monster card
    and we both get one the most powerful cards in the game

    Guild: sin Player ID: 1854259742
    PS.please comment to me when you ally request to me (i can't identify you at game)

  16. If you start a new account in dark summoner, enter my ID 2130285595 when creating it.

    That way we will both get 5 free monsters each as well as some other free stuff :)

  17. what combo i get if i put 5 same card in 1 deck?

    1. Unfortunately, having two of the same monster (of the same rank) will void you from having any combos. You'll have to have all different monsters to be able to make a combo.

  18. Would any body help me out and gift me an as monster my Id 2127528502 and ill help out when I can

    1. Try checking out my Monster Giveaway 4 page. I'm currently giving away a lot of my monsters, but it's one per person, and first come first serve. Also, as good as higher ranked monsters are, it's a common misconception that higher ranks are better. In fact, BP cost might be a better measure of how strong they are, but even then it's only a rough estimation. If you want to build a strong team, it's best to focus on a strategy now, like the Speed+ and high Attack to take your opponents out quickly before they can harm you, or out-lasting your opponents with high health and defense, with poison breath to weaken them over time. Going for a team bonus is also a good idea, and depending on what bonuses you want, you'll want to look at the ranks and types of monsters you want to have in your team, as well as what skills they provide.

  19. 2228000645 my id add me

  20. im lvl 124 have several strong monsters such as the new EX monsters wich can be evolved 5 times and this game stays fun because of all the events

  21. I see this thread is very old, and will explain new things he didn't. First, if he didn't mention, you can get more free normal monster summons three times a day. Two are time specific, and the third is just for logging in that day, and you can get up to 3 free regular summons if you connect with facebook and twitter. At this time, there are C, C+, B, B+, A, A+, AA, AA+, AAA, AAA+, and EX monsters. Almost all AAA monsters require 100 BP to use, so they're very hard to use unless you're high level. The higher a monster's BP, the higher their stats will be at the end of their leveling. A+ monsters reach max lvl of 70, AA+ reach max of 150, AAA+ reach a max of 300, and EX are... weird. I won't explain those, it'll take too long. However, one thing i will say is, they're a new type of monster that is evolved using flesh stones and raising to max level per evolution. Their final form also has skills you can currently only raise with Souls Of Skills. AAA+ and EX teams are VERY close to each other in strength, but EX cost half the BP AAAs do, and AAAs are really hard to get and use and raise and everything. As for combos, there's a few i know of: Whole-team species combo, mixed species combos, rarity combo, BP combo, guild combo, level combo, winged combo, and grand (for EX only) combo. Loot sets you find during missions summon rA dark lords, and there are currently 39 of them. Each one increases in energy cost per attack, and get tankier, too. If you do not use your Dark Lord summoning crystals, there are daily exclusive raid bosses you can attempt. These usually give you rank AA or AAA monsters, and are very hard to kill. You are also not guaranteed a monster like you are with your first time killing a normal Dark Lord. Save your Energy Potions and Battle potions, cuz you will need them for the monster trade market. Only use 100 BP/EP pots, and My Energy/BP pots. Depending on what you're raising, only sacrifice monsters of A rarity or lower if you're raising AAs, or AA and lower if you're raising AAAs. Some AA and AAA monsters can cost a lot, so don't sacrifice them, use them in the trade market. The trade market's gold standard is Potions. There are new items called relica, they give your team small stat boosts, and can be crafted at lvls 40, 60, 80, 100, and 120, i think. There is a monster cage to store monsters for a bit, and an emporium to use small gems to buy items with. And newly added is a clan wars function. Google that for more information. Lastly, events are a great way to gain level, money, souls, and other great stuff. Most events cost energy to do, but some require BP. I usually don't spend money on the events, since they only last about a week or two, but i have spent a bit on raising my EX team. You can spend money to buy potions, event items, or Dark Summons which give you A monsters or higher. If you spend money on potions, i highly recommend you use them on souls in the market to raise the strongest team you can get. Don't waste them on AAs with no skills. On a scale of 1-10: Monster Count: 10, Monster Coolness: 8, Monster Obtainability: 7, Graphics: 6, Number of things to do: 10. And very lastly, i have 5 EX monsters, two are fully raised, one can be raised from third form, one can be raised from second form, and the other is a low level second form. When i get enough souls, i will be very strong, so add me if you like, as a referral or whatever. I'm part of a clan, and in the rancor guild, so i'm building a team of Felias. ID: 1441524008.

  22. So if you use the same type of monsters as your guild is it really all that better than using monsters not of the same guild??