Having only recently been in the argument of your eternal life with God almighty, you finally got the smack-down you deserved sending your husky armored self hurtling down to the earth below. Seeing this disagreement as a political opportunity, the forces of evil held a fundraising rally and are now marching toward Heaven’s gate. Your only choice now (since God ain’t answering your calls) is to prove your devotion by slaying loads of evil minions. The game’s afoot.
In Archangel, you play (take a wild guess)—an archangel—who has way too much time on his hands. Stranded in some terribly bleak environs rife with old marble pillars and gangs of evil minions standing around playing dice, you have nothing better to do than to start laying thine smacketh down. And lay thine smacketh down thou shalt by using various screen gestures to unleash waves of flame, launch fireballs, shield bash, and teleport about the landscape.
A God Among Men
A decent tutorial walks you through the ropes of combat as well as loot management. This is certainly an action/RPG title in that you will be killing mobs and garnering loot. Unfortunately, the enemy AI is pretty dim-witted. As you wander about the medieval structures, you’ll encounter small clusters of black-cloaked minions who tend to stand in one place until you’re within detection range. It’s fairly easy to take your time in this game, stopping here and there to launch a “maxed” fireball from a distance and then teleporting in for the kill. Combat over all felt a little disconnected to me when it came to me taking damage (represented by a health bar at the top of the screen) as well as dishing it due to a lack of clear, obvious, and immediate feedback. But, the game is fairly simple and easy so taking damage shouldn’t be much of a concern. Hey, you’re an archangel… Whadyou expect?
When you have a spare moment, swiping little trails around the screen will light the areas on fire and burn any enemy that passes through. Tapping an enemy will launch a basic fireball and doing so repeatedly launches several in quick succession. Tap-holding charges a big fireball that deals major splash damage, and swiping from your character towards an enemy performs a sliding shield bash (seems to only work some of the time). There’s plenty of combat maneuvers in your repertoire, most of which start feeling like fluff once you realize just how numb-skulled the forces of evil really are.
I Want To Go… There!
Teleporting, for better or worse, is what gave me the most joy out of this game. The moment I simply tapped another area on the screen and appeared there was the same moment that I wished every single goddamned Android action/RPG let you teleport. It feels like freedom. You’re no longer constrained to the linear path of face smashing that every one of these clones shoves you into when you can dart to and fro at a whim. I’ll probably give Archangel +0.5 points simply because you can teleport. Huzzah!
Loot For The Compulsive Gambler
Other than a large arsenal of spells and the ability to teleport, there’s loot. Archangel encourages you to assemble sets of items (see Diablo) that collectively confer a smattering of bonuses. If you’re not using a set, no bonus for you. At the end of each level, you have the opportunity to gamble away all your hard earned items—which are nowhere near as plentiful as Diablo or Eternity Warriors—for the chance at some better ones. Or, you could lose them all. That’s why it’s called gambling, stupid.
A Heavy Load
One thing that should be noted is graphical performance. Archangel suggested that I run the “effects” setting nearly at the bottom of the scale on my 1st gen Nexus 7 tablet (which ran just fine). I tried maxing out this setting just for kicks and freezing, stalling, lagging and crashing happened. Frequently. This is a visually demanding game, though… not to be a snot about it or anything, but I simply wasn’t wowed by the visuals for such a high performance bar. Eternity Warriors 3, an action/RPG I recently reviewed, ran just fine on my Nexus and it seemed much prettier to the eyes. My eyes, granted, but then again I’m the one assigned to this review so I gots me some street cred. Soundwise, meh. Most of the effects seem a bit tinny and amateurish to my well developed cochlea, and certainly not up to par with the visuals.
With the funky fresh addition of teleportation, Archangel is one of the first action/RPG games in a long while that actually gave me a feeling of space; I actually felt as if the world was bigger than one long hiking trail full of baddies to kill. This was certainly refreshing. But teleportation aside, Archangel sadly feels like just another action/RPG clone with some shoddy AI, low budget sound effects, and a smaller pool of loot. Sure it’s fun to swipe fireballs at your foes, but it really takes the fun out of it when they just stand there taking it. On the plus side, I don’t recall ever encountering any freemium content.
+ Feeling of being in an open, dynamic space
+ Minimal IAP invasiveness
– Dimwitted enemies
– Disconnected combat
– Repetitious environments