Video games made with RPG Maker can wind up churning out some unexpected cult hits. We've seen the likes of Corpse Party, To The Moon, and Always Sometimes Monsters finding not just a massive fanbase, but also various sequels and even anime adaptations made to some great success. Today, another RPG Maker game is due to hit the small screen with its own anime adaptation: Angels of Death, which just recently got a port release on the Nintendo Switch.

Angels of Death is a top-down puzzle horror game with its own assortment of dark humor to boot. The story focuses on Rachel Gardner, a 13 year-old girl who has no memories of her past. Realizing she's trapped in an abandoned building, Rachel looks around for a way out through some unique rooms. That's when one Isaac Foster (AKA Zack) smashes his way onto the scene, first wishing to murder the child. However, Rachel instead swears an oath with Zack: if he can help her escape, he can then kill her.

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And thus we are treated to one strange pairing, with the cute dead-eyed child siding with a bandaged psycho as they go from floor to floor seeking their freedom. Throughout their travels, they come across some other residents that wish to keep them locked away, or have them die by their hands. A psychiatrist looking to keep Rachel's eyes to himself, a gravedigger madly in love with the girl, one trap-loving fiend wishing to cause harm for her own enjoyment, and a priest seeking to throw judgment at any person deserving of it are who the two will face off against, as they solve puzzles and find out new things about one another as they make their way through. However, as the game goes, the back stories of these two characters aren't truly what they seem.

As you progress through the levels, you'll have to solve various puzzles and get away unharmed by various physical threats. There's a heck of a good challenge that's delivered in each setup showcased, from escaping a poisoned room to flipping the right switches to activate doors. When a chase occurs, the game does a great job making you feel that life-or-death panic as you are frantically trying to escape from a killer's wrath. Fortunately, the challenges that are thrown your way rarely reach frustrating levels, as the game takes a more story-based route with its mechanics rather than make you grind through one mind-numbingly area after another to forcibly lengthen a game time.

The story is where Angels of Death has its greatest strength. What unfolds is one unpredictable and messed up story that will have your jaw drop from every twist revealed. For a game that looks like something from the Sega Genesis era, the imagery and violence that unfolds throughout its six-hour runtime can be often disturbing and mesmerizing at the same time. Even when something is described in such a gruesome way, it'll make any gamer cringe and squirm in their seat. (I would say more about its story, but this is one title where the less you know, the better the surprises that are in store!)

It goes without saying that this is one title that isn't for everyone, as it does that a more visual novel approach to its storytelling. However, what it delivers is one hell of a satisfying tale from start-to-finish. Nowhere in its narrative does it give away the real dirt on these characters, as it does a fantastic job keeping its players in the dark until the shoe is ready to drop unexpectedly. Save for a couple translation errors and spelling mistakes (which can easily be patched up), Angels of Death does an upstanding job with presenting its horror survival tale with a good dose of tension, urgency, and some surprisingly humorous tongue.

PROS:

  • Dark, well-told story
  • Memorable characters
  • Fun, challenging puzzles

CONS:

  • Minor translation issues

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Angels of Death makes a grand debut on the Nintendo Switch, brimming with a great blend of puzzle elements and soul curdling plot twists. Disturbing and humorous in many ways, the tale of Ray and Zack will have you easily marathoning through its four parts until the credits roll and the skies turn black. Here's hoping the anime adaptation can capture the same magic...

FINAL GRADE:

Promotional consideration provided by Meghan Bridges of Playism. Reviewed on the Nintendo Switch.

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