Dungeon crawlers on the iOS platform can be tricky to pull off. Most games in the genre require lightning quick reflexes and dexterous management of hotkeys to pull off different skills and cast a wide array of spells. Unity Games has just released Archangel on the App Store, a dungeon crawler that seeks to translate the epic, body count-fueled action of what has traditionally been a PC-centric genre to mobile devices.
In Archangel, you step into the armor-clad boots of an archangel that's been sent down from heaven to squash a rebellion brewing among the forces of evil. Yours is a heavy-handed brand of justice; the kind that one metes out with the business end of a cudgel or longsword. The game is split up into different acts which are then separated into chapters. There are 30 chapters in all, filled with demons, magic spells, loot and all manner of celestial beatdowns. Steel yourself, for the forces of darkness do not bend so easily.
But as an Archangel, you have strengths that are well-suited for bringing light to the world and spanking the forces of darkness up and down the scorched earth. Sure, you are armed with sword and shield, but you also get access to a few magical spells that can prove very useful in battle. You can perform actions using gestures, like tapping on an area to move to that spot, tapping on enemies to shoot fireballs, swiping towards bad guys to perform dashes and even tracing a line across the screen to summon a wall of fire.
While the spellcasting and attacking is decent enough, the controls suffer the most when it comes to movement. Since you only tap to move, your Archangel will move very slowly. You'd think, with an army of evil bearing down on him, he'd have a little more urgency in his step, but no -- he likes to mosey. For the most part, this won't be an issue. But if you're trying to get away from an enemy's melee range while trying to attack at the same time, you'll find that you might end up dashing instead of attacking, casting a flame wall instead of walking, and so forth.
It's a good thing that the enemies in Archangel aren't very difficult. All you need to do to be successful is spam your ranged attacks and trace a wall of fire that leads to you, so that encroaching enemies suffer damage over time as they run after you. Later on, you'll learn a spell that lets you resurrect fallen enemies to fight by your side. This is when Archangel gets even easier, especially during the levels that have you facing off against waves of enemies. The downside is that Archangel ends up becoming a little boring and repetitive. You'll enter a level, shoot some bad guys, shamble along slowly and then collect loot that you can either keep or trade in for a chance to gain more experience in the next level.
At the very least, Archangel is a pretty-looking game. It could easily pass for a PC dungeon crawler (albeit one that might be a free-to-play title). The character designs won't blow your mind, especially since your Archangel looks a lot like Dante from Dante's Inferno, but it's nice that you're able to clearly see each new piece of armor that's equipped.
The music and sound quality in Archangel is passable, but ultimately nothing memorable. You won't lose anything by playing Archangel on mute. Still, I have to admit that it sounds pretty satisfying to hear the sounds of my enemies getting hit with fireballs or walking through a wall of fire that I've set forth in front of them.
For the price of $1.99, Archangel is a fair entry to the App Store, though it doesn't really make the cut as a solid dungeon crawler. But if you do pick it up, you'll be glad to know that you can take advantage of the cloud save feature and pick up where you left off on different devices. It's a decent title, but unfortunately, it never reaches the angelic heights of fun that were promised.