Playing Fallen Angel makes you go through a range of emotions, from elation to devastation in seconds. And it’s great.
Fallen Angel is a 2D top-down ARPG, with rogue-like and true RPG elements, based on the non-canon biblical writings of Apocrypha. You play as Lucifer, cast out and generally pretty peeved at that fact, he seeks to claim his birthright, well as he sees it.
With the goal of confronting his creator, and saying, you know; “Hey fella, what’s your boggle, huh?”.
There is actually a myriad of options for you to choose when starting the game as you can initiate the standard campaign, play in boss rush mode, 1 HP mode and a plethora of other game types that strip away your abilities or options, in a way only masochists would find enthralling.
“Lucifer won’t just be slicing his way through pearly gates and angelic choirs, but strange high-tech constructs, idyllic earth-like plains, cyberpunk nightclubs, floating islands and more.
Each Archangel will have a strong, thematic influence on the environments and creatures the player will encounter in each realm”.
Fallen Angel Launch Trailer
But I’m not discounting that this may just have been due to my hardware, as I admit my processor needs updating. I’ll pop my specs into the summary for transparency.
You can discern between the enemies thanks to the design, which is far from lacking compared to some other pixel art titles. Fallen Angel throws flocks [Is a group of Angels a flock, they fly right? Starting to think it’s a choir…] of your adversaries at you, and thankfully the character design lets you easily pick out the types, allowing you to tailor your assault to maximise damage output.
The levels are well designed, though they can quickly become repetitive and are quite sparse, concluding in you not quite knowing which way to go in the more open areas. Compared to the indoor zones that allow you to try each path and systematically map the area.
Graphically the game won’t blow you away, but Fallen Angel does well to showcase itself and the scope of its adventure through the art style.
The Sound of the Apocalypse
The music in Fallen Angel isn’t bad, with certain moments in the game being highlighted by the music, helping to convey the sense of scale and importance impacting the action.
Attacks have that weight behind them due to the sound effects, with enemy attacks sometimes accompanied by sharp sounds, in an almost nostalgic arcade-style. The various spell effects are sounded well, with the music in some areas giving the tone of differing realms a unique identity.
The bosses have some interesting dialogue, with the voices fitting each character well and even having some funny moments sprinkled in. Specifically the boss you fight in the cyberpunk nightclub being a particular highlight.
Though nothing of note is evident it does the job, which is probably all I can say on the sound of the game.
DMC + Hades Style Gameplay
At the start of the game, you’ll feel utterly powerless against even some of the weaker enemies, which is when you’ll realise the learning curve is particularly steep in this world.
As you start to explore the multiple routes available to you, you’ll encounter totems that will grant you an upgrade to your abilities or grant you new ones. This is where the game comes into its own, giving you the option to upgrade at each sparsely located totems.
Want your stamina to regenerate quicker? Go for it. Want an extra health bar? Take it. This system helps you choose the upgrades to suit your playstyle, so choose wisely, or you’re going to make your playthrough a lot harder.
There is also a multitude of weapons’ to find and acquire scattered across the realms of the Fallen Angel.
Guns will use the ammo shards you find when defeating enemies or in boxes, whereas the spell weapons’ you can collect have a cooldown, but can be way more useful than guns.
Holy Rupture will shoot out an explosive line that will gain power as it travels, compared to the Void bean that will essentially hyper beam your enemies for a few seconds with a powerful yet controllable wave.
I was quite fond of the Justicar Blades, that spin around you, hitting enemies at distance and somewhat defending Lucifer from attack., which as with the better spells, comes with a hefty cooldown.
Fallen Angel also has some brief platforming to reach new areas, which is fairly well done, with only the occasionally enemy stopping you from reaching the next safe landing zone.
A Plethora of Lucifer Builds Available
The mix of guns, spells and melee is fun to experiment with, giving you the opportunity to test what skills you feel comfortable combining into your own combat style.
With the relics, you can pick up adding to the variety of styles possible.
The Ring of The Mad King will allow you to receive back 10% of the damage you deal as health but doesn’t allow you to consume health cores, making this a gamble when traversing the realms. But this can save you using health cores against regular enemies that you can then, in turn, save for boss battles, where there is time to heal.
Some boss battles are more frantic, meaning that the windows to heal are minimal, which could make you switch up your relics per boss battle or during different phases, as this can be done on the fly.
For more demanding bosses you may want to equip Axe of the Berserker, which gives you plus 50% melee speed, but you also take 50% more damage, which can be lessened with other relics, but at a cost to something else.
This diversity in equipment and styles makes Fallen Angel so much more fun to play when you’re constantly looking for new solutions to a boss battle or tough section, and even early on with the bare minimum of equipment and upgrades, there will be multiple ways to defeat your enemies.
Is that an Angel?
The enemy variants are numerous with each having different attack’s and behaviours, even between different types of the same enemy.
They range from general zombie type fellas to strange angelic beasts with wings and one eye, to wings and more eyes, coming in varying sizes and colours, plus eye numbers.
Encountering new enemies is an exercise in systematically testing their defences, as you figure out which attack’s work and what windows to launch your attack’s during, in-between their relentless assaults.
As you journey the realms, the enemies you grapple with change dependent on the Archangel inhabiting that area. Taking you from the woodlands areas to a cyberpunk nightclub, complete with revellers getting in the way of you slaughtering the hordes of enemies mixed in with them.
There isn’t much back story unfortunately as to why the world is in such a state, with machinery evident and technology mixing with the religious iconography of the settings and characters.
A Vaguely Thrilling Conclusion
Fallen Angel by Matrioshka Games is currently available for £11.39 on Steam, which is good value I’d say, though the campaign is short, thanks to the other modes available you can easily squeeze more time out of this purchase.
The combat is simple but varied with different builds to suit any playstyle, and although challenging, it’s never too hard and I always thought there would be a tactic to give me the advantage.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to defeat the last boss before I start Boss Rush Mode.
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The Revenge of Lucy!
- Overall - 7.5/107.5/10
Summary - Probably buy it *shrugs*
- Fun, fast paced combat
- A plethora of build variety
- Great locales
- Varying modes to choose from
- Interesting story
- Minor stuttering (though this could be my PC)
- Retro load times (again, this could just be me)
- realms can be large and sparse in places
- Mobs of enemies used to enhance difficulty
- No background on the state of the world