Pqube’s Aggelos is the kind of experience thats simplistic charm is put front and center. You’re a young lad living a simple life with a sword, shield, and house to your name. One day however, you awaken to a mysterious calling, and thus your adventure begins.
Aggelos doesn’t stray far from the tried-and-true Fantasy formula, as absolutely nothing will strike you as innovative or imaginative with the story. Saving the princess leads to the ultimate unveiling of a very “Oblivion-esque” problem, that of the imminent invasion of an unforeseen force which can tear the world to shreds. Our silent, princess-saving hero is tasked with finding four elemental stones that will ward off this evil, of course. Does this all sound like deja vu? Definitely, but in this case it is quite alright. Aggelos doesn’t pretend to be anything other than a love letter to our favorite 8/16-bit “Metroid-vania” experiences, and the story is no exception.
Audio and Visuals
Aggelos excels in both its graphics and sound design. The Switch offers more than a few of these “nostalgic” adventures, but I can’t think of a single one that hits a home run – with the audio specifically – more than Aggelos. The MIDI-style tunes are catchy and upbeat, although you will occasionally enter an area that presents you with a calming, ambient track. Sound effects are equally serviceable and proper. To fully appreciate the sounds of Aggelos though, you must ask yourself what the game is setting out to accomplish. Nostalgia seekers will immediately appreciate what Aggelos offers, but I also think that it’s unique enough to provide the player a “chilled” vibe (for the lack of a better term) while playing the game.
Aggelos certainly doesn’t set out to break the mold with its visuals, though its throwback approach certainly deserves some respect. Aggelos is a delightfully colorful game – it appropriately uses colors to make landscapes feel refreshing and unique. Enemy designs are creative, with the bosses – especially the empress – being some of the more impressive offerings at hand. They are large, colorful, and creatively unique. Boss designs seem to be the lone area in which Aggelos cares to really push the limits of 8/16-bit aesthetics. I couldn’t wait to see what the next boss would look like, and it was very interesting to watch their different variations of attacks fill the screen.
Gameplay and Fun Factor
Aggelos is clearly a game developed with pride. The controls are perfectly tight, and it makes combat as smooth and enjoyable as possible. To that point, it’s very unfortunate that our knight has such a horribly short reach. It was more than once that I became frustrated from having to maneuver myself into point-blank range in order to inflict damage on an enemy. This can obviously be a frustrating problem when playing a sidescrolling action platformer. Most players will likely take unnecessary damage due to this, no matter how skilled they become. Fortunately, Aggelos is very forgiving in normal mode. As you progress and level up, you will gain hearts to increase your durability. There are also some basic weapon and armor upgrades available to help make progression easier. Among the features lies a neat bonus to certain suits of armor which will add to your defenses within certain environments (water, heat, et cetera.)
Aggelos will cost you about $14.99 USD and should provide about 6-8 hours worth of content. The value for the end result might seem a bit steep when weighing both factors, but hard mode can extend the return on your investment a bit. There so many games that seem to be vying for the nostalgia seeker’s attention these days, and the Switch is home to many of them. Aggelos joins right in though, even managing to surpass many of the other titles that also strive on that nostalgia factor.
Aggelos raises its head above its competitors with some well designed (but light) puzzling, an addicting mix of combat and platforming, as well as some very clever dungeon-crawling experiences. Perfect controls and a perfectly vintage soundtrack make Aggelos a game that should be enjoyable to anyone that loves the 8/16-bit eras of gaming, and the on-the-go capabilities of the Switch make it an even more attractive title for the console. It’s becoming increasingly difficult for these type of action RPG platformers to stand out, but Aggelos manages to join the likes of solid games, such as Dead Cells and Shovel Knight, as a title that distinguishes itself from the crowd.