Version Reviewed: 1.01
Device Reviewed On: iPad Air
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
For all of its flashy shooting and shiny Unreal Engine 4-powered graphics, there’s surprisingly little going on in Angels in the Sky. Instead of driving the action, players are mostly just along for the ride. It’s not awful, just painfully hollow.
Angels in the Sky puts players in the cockpit of a spaceship escaping oncoming alien invaders. Everything is on-rails, so players just need to worry about blasting foes and staying alive until they reach the end of the course. There are two main weapons: a gun that shoots quickly but periodically needs to recharge, and a cannon that can fire indefinitely but needs to rev up before each shot. The game targets enemies by itself so all players do is tap buttons to take them down.
With so many automated systems, the tension doesn’t come from skillful weaving and marksmanship. Rather, at least in theory, the player’s challenge is to balance using all of these different recharging weapons to minimize the damage they take. Shields recharge as well, but ship damage carries over across rounds unless players pay to fix it. In practice however, there really just isn’t enough for players to do. There are upgrades like spread guns and boosters to unlock, but none of it really increases player agency. Boss fights almost become interesting since players need to clear out enemies fast enough for the game to shift the target to the boss itself, but even then it remains an overly-regulated shooting gallery.
Great graphics have historically been used to mask shallow gameplay, and that’s certainly what Angels in the Sky is going for. But to be fair, it mostly succeeds. While zipping through dense, detailed environments, it makes sense that the game can’t run on anything but the most cutting edge devices. The visuals only impress on a technical level though - the grey and brown canyons get dull after a while.
Angels in the Sky is streamlined to a fault, which is especially weird given how difficult the game actually is. Casual players might be amused by the mildly interactive thrill ride, but for the rest of us, it’s toothless.