App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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The forces of good and evil, Heaven and Hell, are constantly at war. This time around, the conflict is being depicted through a kind of mish-mash of match 3, RPG, and Pokemon. It’s got the looks and it’s got the wacky combination of gameplay elements, but does Angel Salvation hold up under scrutiny? Yup, pretty much.
The general gameplay in Angel Salvation is very similar to most match 3 games with one notable exception: a given gem can be moved anywhere on the board - both horizontally and vertically - over any distance. Matching a given set of gems will power-up a team member of the same color and unleash an attack, which varies in strength based on how many gems complete the set. And individual characters can unleash special abilities when charged that run the gamut from healing to massive direct damage attacks. Then there’s all the collecting. Gems earned through combat and help points earned through, well, combat, can be used to earn new warriors that can then be incorporated into the group. And then enhanced with unwanted characters or evolved into stronger forms once they’ve leveled up enough.
Angel Salvation is a good looking game for sure, but it’s the combination of puzzle gameplay and monster collection that kept me playing until the wee hours of the morning. Matching up those gems and seeing them cascade into combo after combo, then watching the ensuing barrage of carnage is always a pleasure. And collecting, leveling, and evolving heroes is a major hook.
The same care and attention given to the visuals and the matching game hasn’t been given to everything, sadly. Menus are set up oddly at times; the way I can’t double-back to the main Heroes menu from any of the sub menus without hitting Back several times or jumping over to a different menu and back again is one example. The way fairly significant information - such as money required for enhancements - isn’t communicated clearly is another. But the largest issue is the need for a consistent Internet connection. Yes, for some strange reason Angel Salvation is an online-only game. Even though the online elements (namely friends) aren’t a major focus. It's still a great game overall, but being unable to play unless online is majorly restrictive.
Angel Salvation can feel unpolished in bizarre ways at times, and the Internet requirements create a pretty substantial obstacle in certain situations, but the game proper is actually pretty great. It combines role playing, collection, and match 3 elements incredibly well and it can be very difficult to put down when trying to earn enough tertiary characters to level up a favorite.