Game Introduction – Shadow Cities

Shadow Cities is a location-based MMO by Grey Area for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. Take up the role of a techno-mage as you protect your city from roaming spirits. Claim territory and fight enemy magic-users as you wander real world streets. Gamezebo’s Shadow Cities quick start guide will give you all of the tips, tricks, and strategies you’ll need to start your life as a techno-mage on the right foot.

Quick Start Guide

Getting Started

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  • To play Shadow Cities, you’ll need to download the game from the App Store by click the “Play Now” button at the top of this guide.
  • To play, you’ll need to start a Shadow Cities account. Signing up is free, and requires you to enter only a character name, e-mail address, and password.
  • Once your account is created, you’ll need to choose your team from one of two choices; The Animators, represented by the tree icon, or the Architects, represented by the compass icon. There are no real gameplay differences between the factions, however if your friends are playing, you’ll want to find out which team they’re on before you make this decision.

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  • Once your team is selected, your device will request permission to use your location. As Shadow Cities is a game that is powered by your current location, we strongly advise you to allow for this.


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  • Like most MMO’s, combat in Shadow Cities begins with targeting. To target a spirit, enemy mage or tower, simply tap on it with your finger.
  • To initiate an attack, drag down on the downward arrow at the top of the screen. This will reveal a screen in which you can draw your magic spells.
  • To attack, simply draw a “Z” shape with your finger. This will cast an offensive spell on your target, initiating combat. Like all spells, this will deplete your current pool of mana points.
  • Repeat the above steps until the target is dead (unless, of course, it kills you first).


  • As you progress through the game, you’ll unlock missions to complete. These missions will earn you XP as well as other rewards, making them essential in your quest to level up and become the best mage possible.
  • Some of these missions will also serve to introduce you to new gameplay elements.
  • To access your missions, click on the Shadow Cities logo in the bottom right hand corner of the screen.
  • Scrolling will allow you to view all available missions, and will inform you of what you need to do to complete them.

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  • Many of these missions are time sensitive. If you find yourself unable to complete them in your immediate area due to a lack of targets/objectives, don’t be afraid to teleport to a friend’s beacon and try to complete your quest there. (More on that later)
  • Once you have completed a mission, be sure to return to the mission screen to collect your reward, as this does not happen automatically.

Other Spells

  • Healing – Draw a reverse Z. This will restore some of your health points. Healing can also be done on teammates, as well as any friendly towers.
  • Warp – Draw an upside-down U. Allows you to warp to a friendly targeted building or player. (available at level 4)
  • Un-Warp – Draw a U. Automatically warps you back to your current real world location. (available at level 4)
  • Dominator – Draw a backwards L. Summons a dominator building type to your current location. If you are near an Energy Gateway, be sure to target the Gateway before summoning. (available at level 4)
  • Harvest – Target one of your Dominators. Draw a straight line from left to right. This will allow you to harvest energy from your Dominators. (available at level 4)
  • Beacon – Draw a backwards 7. Creates a waypoint that your friends can jump to at any time from the Cloud Map. (available at level 6)
  • Catcher – Draw a circle. Summons a Catcher building type. Catcher’s will capture and hold spirits that attack nearby enemies. These spirits can then be collected, which will help with certain missions. (available at level 8)
  • Ward – Draw a line from bottom left to top right, then straight left, then down to bottom right without lifting your finger until finished. Summons a Ward building type to protect an area from opposing mages. Should an opposing mage enter that area, a Ward will attack whether you are currently logged in or not. (available at level 10)

Refilling Mana

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  • Casting spells will always cost you mana.
  • Mana will recharge automatically over time, however there are certain instances where you’ll want to refill your mana quickly rather than waiting, such as in the heat of battle. At these times you can consume a mana potion.
  • Players will earn more mana potions slowly by levelling up. Also, some spirits may drop mana potions after they’ve been defeated.
  • Players also have the option to purchase more mana potions using real world money. In-app purchases are available, allowing you to buy potions for 99 cents, 35 potions for $4.99, and so on. At the time of this writing, the largest purchase available is 1500 potions for $99.99.

Upgrading Stats and Spells

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  • As you progress through the game, you’ll earn ability points and spell points.
  • Ability points will be earned at regular intervals alongside your XP. They can also be awarded to players after slaying certain spirits or completing certain missions.
  • Spell points will be awarded as you level up your character.
  • To spend either, tap on the yellow character image in the top left corner of the screen.
  • Regarding stats, you’ll have the ability to spend your points in one of four ways;
  • Endurance – increases your maximum health points
  • Intelligence – increases your maximum mana points
  • Vitality – increase the speed of your health and mana regeneration
  • Willpower – increases the strength of your spells, both in terms of damage and healing
  • Regarding Spells, you’ll have the choice of either upgrading an existing spell or unlocking a new spell. Many spells will be locked until your character has reached a certain level.


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  • Campaigns are regular events that take place across the game world, which pit both teams (Architects and Animators) against each other in a competition for points.
  • Each spirit you kill and dominator you harvest will earn points that will contribute to your teams total.
  • To check out the current campaign, when it ends, point totals and your overall standing, click on the Shadow Cities logo in the bottom right hand corner of the screen, and then tap on “Campaign” at the bottom center.

Making Friends

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  • Unlike many social games on the App Store, where the level of friend involvement is often minimal, getting involved with a large network of users is essential to your success in Shadow Cities. Thankfully, the developers have made this incredibly easy.
  • To meet teammates, drag the arrow on the right side of the screen to the left. This will bring up a chat menu. Select team chat.
  • From here, you can simply tap on a player’s name to bring up their profile page and request to be friends.
  • You can also post a message in here stating that you`re accepting friend requests. This will help to get other players to add you who may not be actively posting in the chat.
  • Making friends is a key element to this game, as it will allow you to warp to their beacons and play outside of your local area. Be sure to add friends as early as possible to maximize your Shadow Cities experience.


  • You’ve just completed Gamezebo’s Quick Start Guide for the location-based MMO Shadow Cities. Now you’re all set to become the top mage in your city. Be sure to check back with Gamezebo for our extensive coverage including reviews, user tips, and more!