Who dares wake me from my slumber? Oh, it’s you. Okay, let’s go kill some demons.
Archangel begins abruptly with a short cutscene, very little backstory, and that’s just the way I’d prefer this iOS/Android game to open. Black Tower Studios have crafted a nice looking Diablo–style dungeon-crawler that looks and plays fairly well, but doesn’t wow overall or do anything particularly exciting along the way. Though I did enjoy playing through it.
Mechanically, the game starts out very basically; tap the ground to walk there, tap an enemy to attack with fireballs. As you complete the thirty levels in the game’s campaign, you will learn new spells and tricks along the way, as well as find loot drops to upgrade your character. Each spell is cast by drawing different shapes; draw a “V” for Frost Nova, or an “r” for Meteor. I ran into some minor problems of casting the wrong thing, but the cooldown timers are short enough that it won’t really matter. The spells look nice and have some decent looking physics, as enemies and pillars will tumble off the many floating platforms, which is the only thing you’ll walk on.
Enemies start out basic and get bigger and meaner along the way, as you’d expect, but I never felt like I couldn’t beat the level in one try. In fact, I only had to resurrect myself a couple times throughout my playthrough, and it was on the very last boss. This is largely due to the teleport spell, which is earned midway through the game, and almost breaks it. I couldn’t stop myself from double-tapping all over the screen to jump around like a manic vampire. It’s way faster than walking, it has no cooldown, and it’s the quickest way to dodge incoming attacks.
Each level becomes increasingly difficult, but as long as you explore the full levels and rack up enough kills along the way, your angel will be powerful enough to make it through the whole campaign with no grinding, which is a plus. But a major crutch I have with the game is that it all looks similar; stone platforms start to get old after the first ten levels. There is some variation in the backgrounds and enemy types, but it’s all a bit too much of the same the whole way through. Upon completing the campaign, you’ll unlock an endless mode to continue earning money and finding more gear. But I felt like I was done after the thirty levels, with little desire or reason to return and continue to upgrade my angel.
A lot of the excitement of dungeon-crawlers is the loot drops. However finding loot in Archangel isn’t very rewarding and just doesn’t fit well on the mobile platform. The only cosmetic difference new items make is when some weapons will change your primary attack; armor is strictly a stat boost. The only real goal to shoot for is to complete a loot set, which will yield some type of benefit, such as a meteor shower aura. I just never found myself really getting into this.
Archangel is a fun action-RPG, but it only captured my attention for the few hours it took to get through the main thirty levels. The combat is satisfying, but has some broken elements, such as the unlimited teleport that I couldn’t help but spam once it became available to me. If you’re the type of person who is always after that next sword or shield upgrade, or completing loot sets, you might enjoy this even more. But for a short experience like this, I would’ve liked to see something different, instead of a mobile dungeon-crawler that I felt like I’ve already played before.
[+Visually impressive] [+Solid physics engine] [+Cool spell casting] [+Intuitive touch controls] [-Levels look and feel similar] [-Unsatisfying loot system] [-No cosmetic changes from loot]