Angel Stone is a dark, high-fantasy mobile RPG where you join a rebellious faction against its demonic oppressors. With stunning graphic work, cross-platform support and real-time multiplayer mode, how can the gameplay hold the promise if its super-shinny package?
Angel Stone is a free-to-play fantasy RPG set in an apocalyptic world. You have just joined the “Resistance”, a revolutionary group seeking to harness the power of the “Angel Stones” – shards of the fallen angels that tried in vain to save the earth from the Demons.
Developed and published by Korean-based team Fincon (which has the successful Hello Hero under its belt), the game is cross-platform –that means, you can use your same account to play on Android, iOS and PC (via Facebook).
The amazing graphics, combined with commodity for the players and a very simple gameplay caused a reasonable hype back in July, and the game received more than 100k downloads on its launching week, majorly thanks to its beautiful CG trailer, which featured a gameplay similar to Devil May Cry (although Diablo comparisons are the most common among people that actually played the game).
You get to choose one of 3 main classes (in either their male or female versions):
- Berseker: The classic melee unit, with big armor, weapons and fat to receive hits. They specialize in 1-vs-1 fighting, and their Rage Skill allows them to access power moves to dish out big chunks of damage.
- Gunslinger: The steampunk guys fight with muskets and revolvers. As you already guess, their domain is distance attacks, and they possess high attack (even more so than Bersekers) in exchange for low defense. While they have abilities that deal with multiple opponents and keep them away, Gunslingers have a cooldown in the form of the Focus Skill, which they must use before any other ability.
- Shadow Mages: The magic users are surprisingly adept at melee fighting, wielding spears and scythes aside from the usual magic wands. With average power and defense, they get a distance close to the gunslinger thanks to their spells, and decent close-combat options like the Berseker. Their Mana Skill regenerates the Mage’s magic energy, but it’s spent in all spells, so watch out not to run out of it.
Leveling up your character is just a matter of grinding and getting Angel Stones to upgrade your skills. Bettering their equipment requires money, certain items, or both. Usual RPG stuff.
Each class has its own set of Skills: buffs, debuffs, healing, poison, etc. All of them require Angel Stone Shards, found mainly in the stage maps, and each shard corresponds to one of your character’s skills.
Once you reach a certain amount of shards for a specific skill, you either unlock it if it wasn’t before, or get the chance to upgrade it. Money can also be used to better skills, but shards are always needed for actual upgrades (Skills can be leveled up by battling, but upgrading gives them new properties and powers, not just better stats).
The gameplay is very basic: you move, you attack, you use special skills, you are done. Moving and attacking is performed in a similar fashion to games like League of Legends, you click/tap in a spot to move, or attack if it’s an enemy. Special Skills are big icons in the screen, each one has its own cooldown time, and you can activate them by either clicking/tapping on them or using the gesture controls (swipe some figure with your finger).
There are special buttons to make things even easier, like “Move to nearest enemy” and “Auto move and attack”, which are self-explanatory. While the combat is generally fast-paced, by using these, your decisions would be limited to skill activation or taking the manual control if you need, for strategic reasons, to target some specific enemies. The game is largely “automated” in the sense you’ll mostly just wait to click a couple buttons once their cooldown settles.
Of course, the more you progress the game and the more difficult it gets, the need to get your hands dirty increases – aside from the “strategic decisions”, you also have to dodge attacks and move around to get better shots and your enemies. Still, it’s not a big gap and the game can be considered too simple for experienced RPG fans or just people that like a bit more involvement.
Angel Stone’s gameplay is divided in story Acts, which in turn contain 10 game Stages. When you begin a stage, you notice the map is divided in a neat 3×3 grid, where you draw your own path from start to finish: this will be your route. Each cell in the grid has its own things going on, from hidden items/angel shards to enemies and boss battles. Once finished, Stages reward you with exp and loot, but drain a set amount of energy – that is, your player energy, and once it’s depleted you must wait for it to recharge before you keep playing.
Every stage has certain areas (cells) you can’t access right away, that change over time and so require you to complete each map multiple times before seeing everything it has to offer.
In PVP duels and co-op mode things change a bit: Acts have only 1 big Stage, with a definite path you and your partner(s) must cross. Enemies are stronger, items are better and loot is bigger, but you must have first defeated the single-player version, and the game limits the multiplayer time by, again, imposing the real player energy rule: you and your partner(s) have each their own energy, and once depleted no more game for that day.
And so we reach the strongest aspect of the game: the visuals are way above average and generally flawless. The game takes place in a dark world inhabited by creatures like demons and undead, full of graves and debris, with some levels adding details with water, lava, buildings and vegetation.
The CG work is astounding (as you might have noticed by the trailers and portraits), and the Skill effects are flashy but fluid.
All in all, the looks department is highly impressive, even more so for a mobile, free-to-play game.
While Angel Stone seems like a fun game, it suffers from the mobile-game syndrome of relying mostly in the package to sell the product. The game spent a great deal of effort in the graphical department for a gameplay that’s reduced to waiting for tapping a couple buttons. It’s still a good choice for more casual players or people that just don’t care too much about mastering more developed systems, but for more seasoned players the game is just bland.
Grinding, the bane of many otherwise great RPGs, is present (as well as needed for progressing), and the player-energy thing might be caused by its mobile game status, but it’s as annoying as ever.
All in all, the game does accomplish what it set for, and that was looking nice and being entertaining. It’s still a decent game for killing time and the animations and details are fun to watch, but that’s about it.
Angel Stone is available for PC, Android and iOS.