Matrioska Games reels you into a “symphony of pixel art and demon-slaying.” Play as Lucifer, whom rises from the depths of Hell and sets out to to defy God. Learn new skills and attributes as you go. Set in a semi-nonlinear world, Fallen Angel is a 2D pixelated action game with some basic RGP elements and beautifully drawn sprites and landscapes. It’s easy to pick up and play and offers a decent amount of challenge.
Awake.. Arise.. Or Be Forever Fallen
Fallen Angel has a clean introduction that shows you the basic controls. It’s presented thematically as Lucifer climbing out of the depths of the fiery inferno to reach the heavens above. The player will learn basic attacks, dodges, jumps, and how to use the equipped secondary weapons. Dodging is the most important; enemies can surround Lucifer and do some pretty hefty damage in the early game as you figure things out. There are a few minor bugs and glitches here, but nothing game-breaking. After trying with a mouse and keyboard, it feels so much better using a controller. It’s even stated in the opening credits. Moreover, a console port would come in handy, and aid in sales. Many Steam players may not have a controller to use, and will be turned away from buying a $20 title.
After defeating the tutorial boss, Lucifer reaches a Hotel area, where there are no monsters. It’s a safe haven, with a later unlocked item shop that will be of use. Afterwards, the game opens up in a few directions. It won’t take long to figure out which is the proper way once you discover how difficult the enemies are in each direction. It’s almost as if the game is dictating which path to take. The saving throw is that the areas are colorful and vibrant. Landscapes transition well enough and there are a few hidden things to find, which makes the exploration more rewarding. With that being said, Fallen Angel feels trapped between wanting to be a truly non-linear game vs. a straightforward playthrough.
Conversations and Biblical References
There are a few people to interact with. Peter runs the hotel that Lucifer can return to hang out in and Mary has items to sell. Chill music welcomes you after a rough boss battle. Lucifer can trade ammo points for upgrades to increase your damage, defense, etc. For some of these items, you will need a lot of ammo to spend, which may not be all that worth it. Having more bullets to hit bosses from a distance, and not risk losing health trying to close in, may be worth more than a +20% melee damage powerup. This also depends on the type of player you are, of course. Personally, I do love my ranged attacks.
Upon challenging Nebuchadnezzar, or other evangelic deities, there are a few dialogue options and retorts to pick from. This doesn’t add anything to the outcome, but lets you determine whether Lucifer is snarky, overconfident, or chaotic. These one-liners feel a bit flat and the overall voice acting is rather dull. Sometimes you can’t hear them speak very clearly over the BGM. The voices and dialogue choices could have been done away with altogether, and it wouldn’t have hindered the experience in any way. However, the source material is represented well and it’s fun to be the bad guy for a change. It’s cool to the the developers creative versions of Abdiel, Uriel and the other holy seraphs.
As previously mentioned, Fallen Angel looks beautiful. The color palettes are sharp, and the world is fun to explore. Whether jumping from could to cloud, or dwelling in underground caves, the environments are drawn and colored neatly. The music is a nice touch as well. You never feel in a rush to progress, and a lot of that can be credited towards the atmosphere. It’s fun and rewarding to explore new areas and find bigger and tougher enemies to fight as Lucifer progresses. Lucifer is colored in a bright scarlet cape, which pops out nicely from the background colors.
The enemy design, aesthetically, may be the best attribute to this title. There are a lot of angels, knights, and demons to dispose of. They have their own attack and wind up animations to allow you to find your entry points in combat. The action never feels dull, and the sound effects are crunchy and heavy. The boss sprites are huge and very detailed. Some even take up large portions of the screen real estate. It’s incredibly satisfying watching them all go down in a spray of pixelated blood.
Fallen Angel, for a retro revival title, feels very close to being a game that came out in the fourth generation. The developers added a few things to keep it modern, such as the voice acting, but the extra effort feels a bit unnecessary. There also could have been a little more attention given to fix some of the small glitches. The game’s biggest flaw is that it lacks mechanical polish. That’s not to say it’s a bad playthrough; it’s quite enjoyable and breathtakingly beautiful. Just make sure you have a controller or it won’t be as good of a time. A Nintendo Switch port would do wonders.