That’s me, pretending I played more than five-odd minutes of Devil Daggers, 2016’s gothic arena chest-hair simulator. It gained immense traction with its collision of deft art direction and lean, mean shooter gameplay. Too crazy for me, but akin to many other folk, it was an easy purchase to make. One to have on the digital shelf, say they were part of, and move on.
But Furious Angels? Now we’re talking.
Furious Angels is a sub-50MB production by Morfeo, an equally tiny Milanese studio. Good things, small packages. This fierce riff on Asteroids has players burning off a high-altitude flattop mothership and staving off increasing waves of airborne aggressors. And that’s it. The gameplay loop steams for a simple but oh-so-satisfying core of lovely physics, two-part controls and score. The arcade roots run deep in Furious Angels.
Mouse, keyboard and joypad direct your little craft about, and a single other button to fire. Mowing down aircraft nets points and upgrades, the latter of which is automatically applied. The longer you survive by clearing the skies around your carrier, the heftier you become. Your dainty little interceptor begins to grow with every bonus. Soon, you transmogrify into a bulky brute, one that can bulldoze enemies into oblivion. That is, of course, anything that survived your fusillade.
I found the mouse actually my control method of choice. Response time is key, being able to one-eighty or jink through a barrage of missiles feels really good with even my horrid old Logitech cheapie. Moreover, the game runs on anything. I went from giving Furious Angels a seeing to on my big gaming laptop to seeing if it’d be okay in a pinch on the Asus T100. No hitches, no fuss. All good.
Daily leaderboards and ranking, plus a refreshed enemy order of battle, help to keep the competitive players on the hunt. And that’s really why you play something like Furious Angels. Like Geometry Wars or the aforementioned Beksiński fever dream Devil Daggers, that upwards climb is the siren’s call. That little extra hold-out against enemy fire, to puncture a couple of bombers for the final push over the line. Furious Angels has that going on.
With the visual sensibilities of Mike Tipul’s House of the Dying Sun, a great minimal electronic soundtrack that seems to ebb and flow with NPC intensity, and that good ol’ fashioned arcade responsiveness, it’s hard to argue against the low system requirements and even lower price.