Title: Angels of Death
Developer: Makoto Sanada
Release Date: April 21, 2021
Reviewed On: PS4
Genre: Adventure Horror
Angels of Death is best described as a horror adventure made using RPG Maker. I am pretty familiar with the engine, so when I saw the presentation, I knew what to expect in terms of gameplay. If you have ever played Corpse Party it is very similar to that. Although gameplay can be somewhat cryptic, there’s a troubling and dark adventure awaiting players in this title.
Angels of Death follows a young girl named Rachel Gardner, nicknamed Ray, and Isaac Foster or Zack. Rachel wakes up to find herself in an unknown place with the option of either being an angel or a sacrifice. After giving some information about herself, she is dubbed a sacrifice. This requires her to climb a tower and face off against different murders on each floor.
Having no choice, she goes upstairs to face the first-floor murderer, Zack. However, she manages to side with him to plot an escape, but only if he promises that he will kill her once they are out. Once teamed up the two ascend the building where each floor is run by a different murderer trying to kill them.
Each floor contains narrative beats that flesh out the characters, which had me hooked on progression. Understanding why Rachel wants to die and why Zack is considered a killer is expanded upon until the conclusion. This is a text-heavy game, and most of your time will be spent reading as there is almost no voice acting, with exceptions being small sound effects like laughing and other minor noises during scenes.
The story is divided into four chapters, each dedicated to a specific floor and killer. Sadly, you don’t find out too much about the other killers or their intentions besides them wanting to kill you. This makes them seem one-dimensional and just obstacles of that specific chapter to be forgotten about after you clear it.
During the final encounters, more about this dark world and the antagonist is revealed. This can be a bit of a bummer, especially if you are interested in seeing how each of the floor masters became a floor master. It is a missed opportunity, especially when looking at the end of the game and the final floors where they tell a small story about the masters of those floors.
Despite these shortcomings, I found myself engrossed in the story as I took my time during dialogue to catch every drop of lore that I could. However, I find very little to compel me to go back as one time through is enough to see every story section. There aren’t multiple routes here either, but the experience is definitely fulfilling even with one playthrough.
Angels of Death revolves around puzzles to satisfy its adventure systems. However, there’s some lack of direction that causes confusion during gameplay. To use an item, you have to enter the main menu using the options button. While you’re told when you need to do this, it would have been nice if the menu pulled up automatically during an investigation.
The puzzles also suffer from needing to be played in a specific order if you want to progress. This means that even though you already figured out the puzzle, you’ll need to trigger a particular scene to solve it. The character will just comment on the item or how they aren’t sure about where to use it at the time.
Further, sometimes I had become stuck on walls when turning too quickly, which would cause some early deaths during running scenes. However, this is a game about death, so expect it to happen. Dying isn’t the worst thing that could happen in the game, which does end up hurting any build-up of tension. If you do die, you’re able to save and reload from where you left off.
Angels of Death revolves around its puzzle gameplay loop complemented by a great cast of characters and story that provides a compelling experience to players. One playthrough will deliver everything you need to know, which takes away from replayability, but makes it a great weekend game. Through its depressing story beats and clever design, Angels of Death wears its RPG Maker horror themes on its shoulder for fans of the genre to immerse themselves in.
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