Our Rating: 5/10
Fallen Angel was originally funded through a Kickstarter campaign in October of last year. Philadelphia-based developers Matrioshka Games, V Publishing, and Surefire Games, have now launched this pixel art RPG style, hack and slash game.
Fallen Angel, inspired by John Milton’s Paradise Lost, puts players in the shoes of Lucifer himself. He’s got a bone to pick with his creator, and he’s taking it to the skies to make his point. He will need to fight his way through purgatory and beyond to regain paradise. Lucifer will fight his way through seven different realms of heaven as he battles his way to the top. You’ll discover that each one of them is ruled by a powerful archangel. It’s up to you to defeat them.
Lucifer rips through hordes of angels, knocking them into the air and smashing them into oblivion. This will delight fans of fast-paced top-down action RPGs. When Lucifer’s pride meter is full to the brim with unholy rage, he can unleash the beast in addition to his normal attacks.
Lucifer’s attacks are influenced by aerial combat games like Bayonetta and Devil May Cry. There isn’t much of a plot. The game presents dialogue options now and then, but they have no direct effect on you. As you defeat some of the archangels throughout this biblical world, you will receive several item drops as well as new abilities.
Fighting different archangels have unique patterns. You’ll have to learn and study their skills and movement carefully so that you don’t take damage and survive the stage. The game doesn’t have any character customization. Just a basic skill tree that gradually unlocks more abilities as you progress further into the game.
You’ll gain wings early on, which will aid you in moving around the various locations. Off the beaten path, you’ll find some ability upgrades. Others are more obvious, so you’ll have to do some exploring. It is somewhat up to you how you explore this world. Several branching paths will lead you in various directions. There’s also a co-op mode to take advantage of.
The GOOD, the BAD, and the OVERALL GAMING EXPERIENCE
The art style is instantly engaging. What initially looks very basic, soon becomes beautiful in its simplicity with some clever effects and gorgeous pixel artwork. With a combination of sword and gun attacks and an ecclesiastical theme, the combat is inspired by Devil May Cry. However, it didn’t feel anywhere near as fluid polished, or responsive as Devil May Cry. Most of the advanced combat moves, as well as dodging, require stamina given that you are regularly trying to weave dodges into your attacks.
At times, it might feel like you don’t have enough stamina to execute effective or satisfying combos. It is fun for a short while to explore levels for upgrades and consumables, but levels make little sense overall and seem to be thrown together without a reason. It doesn’t feel like a real cohesive world.
You will notice that a lot of the assets in the levels are copy-pasted. There are even some boring empty stretches as well which is disappointing. Don’t expect strategic combat, as this is more of a bullet hell type of game, so good reflexes are mandatory.
Fortunately, controls for jumping, dashing, hacking, and slashing are tight. The problem with the combat doesn’t come from the controls or from the way that the levels are designed. Rather, the 2D from the side artwork makes enemies look obscured by obstacles in the levels. Therefore, you don’t see them coming and they hit you out of nowhere.
You can also get stuck between enemies and objects in the environment quite easily. This makes it hard to get out of a bad situation. It can also get frustrating when a dodge cancel never seemed responsive or effective. Oftentimes, the character just continues to slash his way forward in the direction he was facing. This ultimately led to a basic and repetitive playstyle of running, hit once maybe twice, dodge back out and repeat.
The game does a good job of familiarizing you with the controls and basic mechanics. Steadily ramping up the number of enemies on screen as you progress and become accustomed to the controls. Then all of a sudden, the game just starts giving you unexpected scenarios and throws you into the middle of an arena with several waves of tougher enemies followed by a boss fight.
The difficulty ramps up from a casual 2 or 3 to a full-on 9. A very steep curve. Once you unlock the death-from-above-style dive bomb, the game becomes a bit more Super Mario-like. You just bounce on the heads of enemies and wait for your stamina to replenish.
Performance-wise, it’s a pixel art game and shouldn’t tax any machine with specs greater than a potato. Although there are a certain amount of screen tear and no in-game v-sync option, enabling v-sync via the Nvidia app and capping the frame rate at 60fps helped with this a lot. But it was far from a perfect fix.
The music is also noteworthy here with some well-composed backing tracks pushing the action along. At first glance, the game looked a lot like Children of Mortar but soon, added gameplay elements that set it apart while it pedals the usual fare of upgrades, ammo, health pickups, etc.
Overall, Fallen Angel is a decent game both pretty to look at and fun to play. Not one for those easily put off by a steep difficulty curve but a rewarding hack and slash nonetheless. A full playthrough will take you approximately seven hours and there isn’t an awful lot of replayability value past that. The game is available on Steam.