Review – Aggelos

Aggelos doesn’t look like an impressive title at first. You’re initially greeted with a default language option set in Japanese, overly simplistic controls, and a cookie cutter story featuring a poor English localization. Thankfully, this is a great case of “first impressions are deceiving”. What could have been yet another bland retro-infused indie game turned out to be a great love letter to a specific series from 30 years ago.


Aren’t you the bossy type?

Aggelos looks, plays, and feels like the Wonder Boy games released way back in the Master System. That means that this is, at its core, a simple action platformer set in a pseudo-open world, basically paving way to what the metroidvania genre would become years later with the release of Symphony of the Night and Super Metroid.

Weirdly enough, games paying homage to the horrendously underrated Wonder Boy series aren’t as uncommon as they used to be. We did receive a remake of The Dragon’s Trap way back in 2017, as well as a magnificent unofficial sequel in Monster Boy in late 2018. Those games were widely praised for their modern cartoonish visuals, as well as a handful of new gameplay elements. However, Aggelos doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel and that is for the best.


Come at me, Yogi.

The best aspect of Aggelos is that it doesn’t try to look or play like a new game. You’re basically playing a new Master System title in HD. The combat is basically Wonder Boy. The world exploration is basically Wonder Boy. Talking to NPCs and finding secrets scattered throughout the world feels just like Wonder Boy. Even the soundtrack sounds just like what you would expect from a game from the Master System era, albeit nowhere near as iconic.

The only time when Aggelos tries to deviate from being a Wonder Boy is when you’re exploring dungeons. That when this game becomes Zelda II. Similar dungeon layouts, similar types of traps, and a similar emphasis on collecting keys until you find an item inside the dungeon to help you defeat the boss located at the end. It’s a nice change of pace and it surprisingly fits perfectly with the game’s Wonder Boy-esque gameplay, as if both games were meant to be together someday.


Those rats look so stupid. I love them.

As a retro blast to the past, Aggelos gets the job done, but that doesn’t mean the game doesn’t feature a few issues. The biggest offender of all is something that plagues not only Aggelos, but basically every game in the Switch’s library: the damn joycons. Neither the analog stick or the godawful d-pad featured on the joycons provide the precision that Aggelos requires during some of the game’s precise platforming sections. You also have to cast spells by combining the A button with a direction on the d-pad and that’s easier said than done when you’re also trying to jump, run, and kill an enemy all at the same time. This is will often result in you running out of magic power or enemies that you can turn into platforms, forcing you to leave and re-enter a room multiple times in order to solve a puzzle. Sure, you can play the game with a Switch Pro Controller, but given how this game was basically made to be played on-the-go, playing it on docked mode on a big screen feels almost redundant.


Wow, fascinating.

What I liked the most about Aggelos is that it doesn’t try to be groundbreaking or very innovative. Its main goal was to emulate the look, gameplay, and feel of a traditional Master System platformer and it gets the job done with honors. Its simple mechanics, nice retro visuals, and fair difficulty are a perfect match for the Switch’s portability. It’s great to pick it up and play it for a few minutes at a time. If you’re craving for more Wonder Boy antics, Aggelos is for you. Just don’t think it’ll do anything else outside of its comfort zone.


Graphics: 7.5

Some of the sprite animations could have had a little extra work, but for the most part, Aggelos does succeed at emulating the look and feel of your traditional Master System game.

Gameplay: 8.0

Aggelos suffers from the Switch’s lack of a decent d-pad, especially when casting special moves. The controls themselves aren’t bad though, they are simple and responsive enough.

Sound: 7.0

You can notice some clear nods to Wonder Boy‘s soundtrack in here. There are some really tunes in here, but for the most part, the soundtrack is best described as “serviceable”.

Fun Factor: 8.0

It borrows a lot from the Wonder Boy games, as well as a bit from the underrated Zelda II. It’s a simple and fair game, just occasionally hindered by a bland story and some control issues and some trial and error segments.

Final Verdict: 7.5

Aggelos is available now on PC and Switch.

Reviewed on Switch.

A copy of Aggelos was provided by the publisher.