Nintendad

[Review] Aggelos – Nintendo Switch

  • Developer: LookAtMyGame, Wonderboy Bobi, Storybird
  • Publisher: PQube
  • Release Date: 24/04/2019
  • Price: £11.99 / $14.99
  • Review code provided by PQube

If It Ain’t Broke…

One adage that is often mentioned with gaming is that some genres can follow a pattern or formula too closely. Gamers are often critical about not wanting to play a game that doesn’t tread new ground or reinvent the wheel, but sometimes it’s okay to follow a formula. Like the old saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Aggelos falls into this category for me. It feels like an ode to Wonderboy, Zelda II, and Faxanadu while still being its own entity.

In Aggelos, you wake up in a small cottage and venture out into the world, only to discover a maiden in trouble. Upon rescuing her, you discover she is the princess of Lumen and must find a way to return her safely to the castle. What follows is an action-packed side scrolling Action-RPG romp to save not only the princess, but the whole Kingdom of Lumen from the sinister Valion. Developer Wonderboy Bobi did a phenomenal job with this game, and thanks to the help of Storybird, LookAtMyGame & PQube, we can now experience this on the Switch.

It’s Dangerous to Go Alone

As stated previously, Aggelos is a side scrolling Action-RPG game with slight metroidvania elements. Your character starts off relatively weak, but you can level up your character by defeating enemies, which gives a minor stat boost. The real meat and potatoes of getting stronger lies in acquiring new abilities, armor and weapons. Abilities can be found in the overworld or in the four main dungeons you will explore. Weapons and armor are simple enough to understand, and once you find a newer, stronger version, the old one becomes obsolete, with a few exceptions like the flame armor.

The game runs about 8 to 10 hours in length, depending on how much exploring you do and if you complete all the side quests. My playthrough clocked in at 8 hours and 30 minutes with a 94% completion rate. I genuinely enjoyed all the side quests except one, which required me to save 999,999 coins to buy the last heart piece. I chose to skip this last quest as it seemed too daunting of a test for one last item. It is possible I missed a crucial piece of dialog that would have allowed me to haggle, but it still did not damage the game for me completely. Yet, the final boss almost ruined the game for me, as it felt like the difficulty flew to the sky for this battle. I’m not saying I wanted an easy fight, but when the previous bosses only took 1-2 tries to complete, this entity took upwards of 10-12. Again, it did not soil the reputation of the game, but I felt like the jump in difficulty was out of place.

Show Us the Secret to Your Power

The art style that was chosen gives Aggelos a feel that is very similar to the Wonderboy and Sega Genesis/Mega Drive era of Japanese Action-RPGs. The imagery is very colorful and full of life. The sprite work is very well done, and every new location has unique and different enemies. For such a small team this is quite a feat. The atmosphere of the game features all the standard beats you would expect in an RPG, you have castle dungeons, deep forests, dark caves, active volcanoes and ancient cities in the sky. Again, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. Each of these areas felt crafted to fit in Aggelos and while they were not the most original, they were all executed greatly.

From the first tune to the last, Aggelos’ chiptune inspired soundtrack is a blast. The music lifts this game to new heights as it feels like the developer found an archive of perfect RPG tunes from the 80’s and transported them to 2019 (or 2016 for the original PC release). These songs feel like they could have been in an old NES or Mega Drive game, and that is an accomplishment. I need to take a moment and praise how truly epic the final boss music is, really a treat and a fitting end for a brutal fight.

The Dragon’s Trap

Aggelos played like a dream when the Switch was docked. While in handheld mode I did notice some slowdown when moving to different locations. It was most notable when using fast travel late in the game. It wasn’t a huge deal as it is still completely playable, but when going from silky smooth when docked to a few hiccups on handheld, it was noticeable. I don’t want to discourage anyone from playing this game in handheld mode though, as I spent the last half of the game in handheld and fully enjoyed it.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, I really enjoyed Aggelos, start to finish. The story of a young adventurer setting out in a dangerous world really doesn’t get old. While it was not perfect, it had great pieces that build a superb package. Fans of old school side-scrolling Action-RPGs need to experience this game. Even if you haven’t played the originals, this game stands up to them and feels more accessible. I cannot wait to see what Wonderboy Bobi does next.

Pros

  • Huge Variety of Sprites
  • Fantastic Chiptune Soundtrack
  • Perfect Formula

Cons

  • Final Boss Difficulty Spike
  • Slowdown in Handheld
  • Ridiculous Final Side Quest

Verdict

Aggleo, while not perfect, is a great modern classic in what is hopefully just the beginning of this developers long running career.

4/5

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