If you purchased Blade Symphony on Steam you can skip this and the next step as Steam will have done this automatically for you.
If you bought Blade Symphony on Humble you should have gotten a key via email. This key allows you to install the game on Steam. If you don’t have Steam installed, head over to steampowered.com to download it for free. Once installed, open Steam and click on the “Library” tab along the top of the window:
Find “+ ADD A GAME…” towards the bottom left. Click this, and then “Activate a product on steam”, and paste in the key you received for purchasing Blade Symphony. The game should then be added to your Steam game list. Double click Blade Symphony in your games list to begin downloading!
Once the game has downloaded, you can launch it through the same “Library” page in Steam. To learn more about how to play with other players and play the game, continue reading!
If you have issues installing or otherwise getting started, don’t hesitate to drop us a line!
Navigating the Menus
After loading up Blade Symphony, you’ll be greeted with the main menu, giving you various options to customize your character or settings, and of course begin playing the game.
This menu gives you various options for how to find opponents to play against.
If you’d like to browse servers manually to try and find a specific server, game mode or map, click “Browse”. If you’d like to host your own server, hit “Host Game”. An easy way to play with a friend is to to host a game yourself and invite them to join via the Steam friends list. Once you are in game you can use the “Vote Options” menu to start a vote to change between game modes: 1v1, 2v1 and 2v2 (duel only) or switch between Hero, FFA (Free/FFA only) and Capture Point as well as various other Vote Options.
The training menu has options to help familiarize yourself with the game. If you’re brand new and want to learn the basics, click “Tutorial”. If you want to create a private game with bots and specific settings so you can test out combos or different characters and swords, click “AI Opponent” to create a game with bots.
This brings up the customization menu, which allows you to select your character, sword and cosmetic features. The character you pick defines your fighting style, and your sword choice can alter how the character behaves. This can all be changed at any time, even while in a game.
The buttons to select your character are along the top-right of the screen. You can click these or use the left and right arrow keys to change your character selection. Below the character icons is some information about the character, as well as some tabs to select a cape, mask and skin for the character, and change your outfit’s color.
The sword list is on the left side of the screen. Scroll the mouse wheel or hit up and down arrow keys to scroll through the sword list. Information about each sword is listed below the sword name (most importantly, the type of sword it is – see more information in the Swords section).
The customization menu is also where you will be able to spend your Notes (Blade Symphony’s currency that you earn by dueling) to buy new swords and gear. Check the Characters section below for more information on the unlockable content in the game.
You can configure your video and audio settings, as well as your mouse and keyboard controls (or setup a gamepad) here.
If your computer is struggling to run Blade Symphony at a smooth frame rate, you can find Advanced Video options under the Video menu. You can find various advanced settings here that you can disable to help the game run better.
Note: These controls are the defaults. Take note that if you change them in the settings menu prior to reading this, you’ll have different keybinds than what this guide refers to.
- W, A, S, D: Move forward, strafe left, back and strafe right. Double-tap these directions to perform a shuffle in the direction you’re moving.
- Control: Dash in the direction you’re moving. If you are strafing left or right, you’ll roll in that direction. If you’re moving backwards, you will backflip away from your opponent.
- Space: Jump into the air.
- Left click: Swing your sword. Hold down left click to charge your attack to increase the tier of your attack.
- Right click: Perform your sword-specific defense ability. This is different depending on what on what sword you use. See the swords section for more information.
- 1: Switch to Fast Stance.
- 2: Switch to Balanced Stance.
- 3: Switch to Heavy Stance.
- Shift: Sheathe your sword.
- Escape: Open the main menu.
- M: Open the customization menu.
- R: Challenge another player to a duel (when playing on a free-for-all map).
- B: Perform a bow.
- V: Taunt your opponent.
- C: Flourish your sword (visual emote only).
When you attack, your position in the string counter determines what specific move you will perform, unless you’re strafing left or right in which case you will always perform a side attack. If you’re in the air, you’ll perform an air attack.
You can alter the direction your swing is heading by moving the mouse left or right. This can be useful to try and follow an opponent who is attempting to dodge, or try and maneuver yourself away from an opponents swing that would overpower your swing.
If you attack while strafing, you’ll perform a side attack. These are independent from forward swings and will always be the same for each stance. Side attacks are useful when you need a wide, sweeping swing – such as when your opponent is moving in strange patterns and you really need to land a hit, or when you want to perform a tracer parry (clashing your sword with your opponent’s sword as a form of defense).
When you jump into the air, your stance is temporarily changed to the Air stance while you’re airborne. Attacking in the air will cause you to do aerial strikes, useful for swooping over your opponents defenses and catching the opponent off-guard. However, you are a bit more vulnerable in the air, as you can’t use any defenses and if you’re hit, you’ll be knocked back.
Charging & Tiers
If you hold down the attack button, you will charge your attack. While charging, your skin will glow and a sound will play, alerting your opponent that you’re powering up an attack.
How long you charge an attack will determine what tier the attack is. If you just swing without charging at all, the attack will be “tier 1″. All basic attacks are tier 1 by default.
If you charge all the way until the end, your attack will be “tier 3″, the strongest of them all. Hitting an opponent with a tier 3 will knock them down, making them vulnerable for follow-up attacks. It will also go through block if the opponent is blocking.
In the middle of a charge, your character will flash. This denotes that a tier 2 attack is ready, and you can release the attack at any time to perform it. Tier 2 attacks tend to be more interesting variants of their tier 1 version and will often have unpredictable elements to confuse the opponent. A common strategy is to make the opponent think you’re going for a tier 3 attack, but release early with a quick tier 2 to catch him by surprise.
Along with the basic running, strafing and jumping, characters can do an assortment of movement skills including shuffles, dashes, rolls, and wall flips.
To perform a shuffle, double tap the movement key in the desired direction, or hit the key bound to Shuffle. Shuffles cause your character to quickly dodge to a direction. These are most useful for getting out of the way of an attack, fast.
You can dash by pressing the Control key. Normally, you just dash forward, giving you an opportunity to close the distance to the opponent, fast. This can be handy if the opponent was knocked down and you want to get in close quickly to try and get some more hits in.
While holding left or right strafe, instead of dashing forward, you will roll to the appropriate side. While holding backwards, you will backflip a fair distance behind you. While these movement techniques are slower to execute than shuffles, they cover a greater distance, proving more useful for positioning.
If you dash forward toward a wall while holding forward, you’ll run up the wall and flip off of it. You can get some serious air using this and also confuse the opponent by suddenly landing behind him after he’s had you cornered… but be careful not to expose your back for too long!
Sometimes, you’ll get knocked down and get up in a kneeling stance. This is the down state. You can roll around while downed and perform a quick stab attack, or simply hit your jump key to stand up. You are vulnerable in the down state, but the enemy should be wary of the stab you have available.
You can be put into a down state from being hit by a tier 3 attack or after being thrown.
Every character has three unique stances you can switch to by using the number keys 1, 2, and 3. In addition to changing your attacks, these determine the outcome of parries. When swords clash Heavy Stance defeats Balanced Stance, and Balanced Stance defeats Fast Stance.
Each character has a different pose for each stance. Using this, you can determine what type of attack they are trying to use as they begin charging up an attack.
The fast stance attacks are mostly, as you could imagine, fast. These attacks all execute very quickly and usually win in terms of speed, but be careful, as the fast stance is the easiest to defeat when the swords clash and the outcome is determined by a parry. Using a lot of fast attacks is an easy way to let a heavy attack break right through your defenses. However, nothing beats the fast stance when you need to get a hit in right now.
The balanced stance consists of attacks that fall between fast and heavy both in terms of speed and damage. In addition to this, attacks in this stance usually contain the more interesting attacks that can be played to one’s advantage. A character’s balanced stance attacks tend to define their play style.
The heavy stance is the slowest and most damaging stance. Most of the attacks can be seen coming a mile away, so you have to choose each move in this stance with careful consideration. While landing a hit can be deadly, missing one can be just as dangerous, giving the opponent more than enough time to move in and capitalize on your mistake.
Heavy attacks easily crush any other stance in parries, so it’s inadvisable to try and go toe to toe with a heavy attack unless you’re sure that you’ll slip your attack in through your opponent’s defenses.
The last stance is the air stance, which is activated automatically whenever the player is in the air. Air attacks are useful for getting over an opponent’s defenses, or trying to get close to someone and pressure them. Be careful though, as Air stance is the weakest stance in tracer parries and will always lose to the other stances.
The String Counter
While playing, at the bottom left corner of the screen, you’ll find the string counter. Every time you attack, the string counter increases by one point. Your position on the string counter determines what attack you’ll do next. When a string completes, it resets back to zero.
Changing from one stance to another does not affect your position in the counter. If your character has 3 balanced attacks and you want to do the third one quickly, you can do 2 fast attacks, and then switch to balanced attack to perform the 3rd attack in that characters balanced string.
Side attacks are never affected by the string counter, as they are always the same, and performing a side attack does not increment the counter.
When your sword collides with your opponents, you will cancel each others attack out with a parry.
Using parries can be a very effective form of mixed defense and offense. Using a heavier stance while parrying will give you an advantage in the parry. If your stance outweighs your opponents, you can break through their parry and if your positioning is close enough, score a hit.
For example, if two players attack each other – one using the balanced stance, and one using the heavy stance, and their swords collide; they will parry each other, but the heavy stance user will break through his opponents balanced stance. While his first hit will be absorbed in the parry, any remaining hits will damage his opponent. This effectively defends against the opponents balanced attack and potentially scores some free damage in one move.
In addition to sword techniques, players can also perform throws. This can be useful against a player who is being overly defensive, as there is no counter to being thrown. After being thrown, you’ll be in a down state, so it’s especially dangerous as not only does the throw do considerable damage, but you are vulnerable after getting up as well.
To throw, click both attack and defend (left and right mouse buttons) at the same time, or press the Grab bind as defined in the options.
Phalanx has a wide array of fencing techniques such as thrusts and lunges. Boasting many straight but long attacks, Phalanx requires a fair bit of precision, but a player who can use his immense reach to their advantage can be very successful in the arena.
- Fast: Phalanx’s fast stance consists of a series of narrow thrusts. Charging them can result in differing amounts of range, making Phalanx jump towards his opponent or poke at them and then hop backwards. His side attacks consist of short swipes for when he needs a quick parry or is in close and needs to hit his opponent.
- Balanced: His balanced attacks are slow to start, but swing very fast and do great damage. He starts with two close swipes, followed by lunges that are great when used as follow-ups to other attacks. He also has a two string air stance with a deadly air stab attack.
- Heavy: Phalanx isn’t the best with heavy attacks, and his stance is a bit cumbersome, but when he needs the power he does have a two string heavy stance available to him. His forward heavy attacks are very slow, but very painful, while his side attacks are a bit more conservative but are easily punished if missed.
Judgement, tall and clad in metal armor, prefers big and powerful swings. He has the most damaging heavy stance in the game, and even his faster stances are fairly slow compared to the other combatants. He makes up for all of this in being the most punishing fighter in the game if his opponent is foolish enough to let his swings get through.
- Fast: Judgement’s fast stance is a bit cumbersome, being slower than the other fighters, but offers decent damage for a fast stance. He has several overhead swings, and close ranged swipes for side attacks.
- Balanced: His balanced stance is slow, deliberate, and powerful. His forward attacks are all powerful overheads, with extra stabbing components when charged – great for catching the opponent off guard. His side attacks are wide swings, and he isn’t afraid to get in your face and show you how damaging they are.
- Heavy: Judgement’s heavy attacks are in a class of their own. They’re absolutely brutal if they land, but are some of the slowest attacks in the game. If you see Judgement winding up a heavy swing, stand back. It’s about to get real.
Ryoku blends his sword fighting with elements of breakdancing to form a unique style, reminiscent of capoeira. He spins and flips while striking at his opponent, causing confusion and making players wonder where he’ll strike next.
- Fast: His fast stance consists of six attacks, all blinding quick, allowing the player to dart about the arena poking at the enemy.
- Balanced: Ryoku’s balanced stance defines his personality, and is wild and free. His forward attacks offer some interesting swings and moving thrusts when charged, but his side attacks are where he really shines as he rolls about, dancing around his opponent and striking from every angle.
- Heavy: Big, strong swings are not Ryoku’s forte, and he only has a single forward heavy attack. His side swings, like Phalanx’s, are more traditional style attacks and easier to land in a pinch, but should not be his primary focus.
Pure’s combat style is largely comprised of Wushu sword fighting techniques. She is agile and acrobatic, performing cartwheels and flips as she attacks. She has a variety of moves that allow her to outmaneuver her opponent and sneak by their defenses.
- Fast: Pure’s fast stance has quick pokes interlaced with flourishing twirls that can hit an opponent multiple times. Her fast stance requires more finesse than other characters, but can deal good damage and easily catch opponents off-guard.
- Balanced: Like her fast stance, Pure’s balanced stance is composed of both more traditional basic attacks along with some more extravagant techniques. During the latter, she will integrate cartwheels or butterfly kicks into her swordplay. These attacks can be difficult to use properly, but can hit multiple times for terrific damage, and can be very hard to properly defend against.
- Heavy: Pure uses her heavy stance to show that she is not all agility and elegance. Her heavy attacks are fast and lethal, and can be especially good at countering an airborne opponent. However, her heavy attacks don’t have the duration or length as other characters, so it may be more difficult to parry incoming attacks. Her string 1 tier 2 heavy attack is especially deadly.
Vanguard a Murai Knight, defender of the Black Rose. Her attacks derive from ancient Miao Dao forms. Vanguard can advance upon her opponent with a fury of upward and downward slashes, while her side swipes would be enough to take down a charging horse.
- Fast: Vanguard’s fast stance consists of quick horizontal slashes and uppercuts that allow her to pressure her opponent and force them into a defensive position.
- Balanced: Generally Vanguard reserves her balanced stance for punishing her opponents mistakes, good footwork and timing is the key to executing her long roundhouse attacks. Her Balanced stance lacks the speed of her fast stance but can deal much more calculated damage, like the fast stance Vanguard’s is also equipped to lunge towards her opponents if necessary.
- Heavy: Caught on the back foot Vanguard can turn the tide of any opponent’s assault. With little space needed to maneuver she can deal some powerful strikes that will leave her foe something to contemplate.
You can unlock items to customize your characters appearance using the in-game currency called “Notes”. These are earned by participating in duels.
- Masks: You can buy new head slot items that change a characters mask or helmet. You can find these under the “Masks” tab on the Customize menu.
- Skins: Skins change a character’s body appearance. Change Judgement from looking like a traditional knight to a futuristic riot cop, or Phalanx from his royal
In addition to skins and masks, players may also find capes to wear by defeating certain opponents or completing secret objectives. These are elusive and rare, if you find one, be sure to show it off to your friends!
There are a variety of swords you can unlock in Blade Symphony, either by purchasing them with Notes or unlocking them through special means. In addition to looking cool, each sword falls under a specific weapon category and changes how combat works slightly. Don’t worry: you’ll start out with a basic sword of each type so you will never have to unlock a weapon for gameplay reasons, only cosmetic.
The Katana is one of the most complex and rewarding swords in the game. While having average or below average statistics all around, the Katana deals double damage after a successful parry. Just when you think you’ve got a duel in the bag, a well timed Katana attack can break through your swing and decimate you.
- Defensive maneuver: The Katana can feint attacks. Upon pressing the defend button, you will perform a fake attack, allowing you to lead your opponent into believing you are committing to an attack.
Swords classified as Foils require elegance and patience. They do extra damage with thrusting attacks, but cannot multi-hit at all. The foil cannot break through a parry, but it recovers from parries the fastest, letting you capitalize on an opponents mistake much more easily.
- Defensive maneuver: Foil swords have a moving defensive technique called “Guard”. While holding the defend button, you can move around slowly and defend yourself against the next incoming attack. Guard also lets you punish an opponent more quickly than other defensive options. However, if an opponent’s attack would hit you a second time after the initial attack, it will go through your guard and hit you. Maintaining the right distance is key for mastery of Guard.
The Jian is all about speed. Landing an attack with a Jian sword lets you perform a subsequent attack much more quickly, creating long combos of attacks that the other swords couldn’t dream of. The Jian suffers in doing less damage and not multi-hitting as much as the Katana.
- Defensive maneuver: Jian swords can intercept incoming attacks by pressing the defend button. Upon a successful intercept, you’ll have a slight advantage over your opponent. However, intercepting attacks requires timing and can be dangerous if you misjudge an incoming attack as they lock you in place for a fairly long length of time.
With low base damage and extremely high multi-hit rate, Scimitars excel in maximizing each attack’s potential. The more your sword is inside the opponent, the more damage it will do. In addition, the Scimitar has some interesting properties: it charges attacks much faster than the other swords, but it’s tier 3 attacks can’t break through defenses. This isn’t all bad, however – this means, also unlike the other swords, the Scimitar can actually multi-hit with tier 3 attacks, opening up a world of possibilities.
- Defensive maneuver: Like the Katana, the Scimitar can block all non-tier 3 attacks by holding the defense button.
The Longsword is the master of cutting. The more your blade intersects someone, the more lethal it becomes. When hitting an opponent, a slice with a Longsword will do more damage than any other sword, as the Longsword is capable of more multi-hits while the blade goes through your enemy.
- Defensive maneuver: Longswords are able to block attacks by simply holding the defend button (right click by default). Be careful, though: if you attempt to block a tier 3 attack, the opponent will break through your block, damage you and knock you down.
Here are an explanation of the terminology and details used in this guide:
- Air Stance: After jumping, while in the air, you’ll be temporarily in the “air stance” and perform air moves. The air stance is equal to balanced stance for parry strength.
- Balanced Stance: The medium stance with moderate speed and damage. Beats Fast Stance and loses to Heavy Stance in parries.
- Block: The katana allows you to block. Hold block to absorb all hits. Tier 3 attacks break block.
- Customize: Pressing M or selecting “Customize” on the main menu will bring up the customization menu, allowing you to choose your character, sword, and cosmetic options.
- Dash: Players can dash forward, roll sideways, or backflip by pressing the dash key while holding a movement key. Dashes increment the string counter by one.
- Down State: After being hit by a tier 3 attack or throw, you will be in the down state. While in this state you can only roll around, perform a desperate stab attack, or press jump to stand up.
- Fast Stance: The fastest stance with quick attacks. Loses to all other stances in parries.
- Feint: The Feint technique is available to the Foil sword. It allows the user to perform fake attacks, in effort to confuse their opponents.
- Foil: A type of sword. Excels at stabbing attacks and parrying but can’t multi-hit. Performs feints with the defend button.
- Heavy Stance: The heaviest stance in the game, with slow but damaging attacks. Beats all other stances in parries.
- Intercept: Jian swords have intercept available as their defensive ability. Time the intercept correctly to nullify an opponents attack, potentially leaving them open for your own attack.
- Jian: A sword type that excels at combos. Can perform intercepts with the defend button.
- Judgement: A character with a focus on heavy, high damage but slow attacks.
- Katana: The basic sword type, deals lots of damage with each attack with many multi-hits. Blocks with defend button.
- Notes: Notes are the currency in the world of Blade Symphony. You earn them by dueling, and can spend them on cosmetic features such as masks, skins and swords.
- Parry: Parries occur when two swords collide. Each players stance and sword determines what happens in a parry.
- Phalanx: A character who focuses on stabbing and thrust attacks in a fencing style.
- Ryoku: A character who focuses on breakdance style attacks.
- Shuffle: By quickly tapping any movement key twice, players can shuffle in that direction. Shuffles decrease the string counter by one.
- Stance: Which stance you’re in determines what attacks you’ll do when you attack. The available stances are Fast Stance, Balanced Stance, Heavy Stance, and Air Stance.
- Steam: The platform that Blade Symphony is played on. Steam is a downloadable program that must be installed to play Blade Symphony.
- String Counter: Found at the lower left corner of your screen while playing, this shows you which attack you’ll perform next, as well as what stance you’re in.
- Throw: Players can perform a throw by clicking both mouse buttons (attack and defend) at the same time. Throws by pass all forms of defense and leave the victim in a down state.
- Tier: The tier of an attack is determined by how long the player charges. The higher the tier, the more powerful the attack. Tier 1 is the fastest attack, Tier 2 is after charging halfway, and Tier 3 is fully charge and can knock your opponent into a down state.