Awakening on the shores of Purgatory, you control Lucifer, hell-bent on tearing down the Archangels that guard the aspects of Heaven. It doesn’t take long for the realization to set in that things aren’t quite right in this place as you come across vile beasts roaming the world, chomping at the bit to tear you apart. Quick wits and perseverance will carry you far on your road to God, a treacherous journey nothing like your previously swift descent.

Fallen Angel is currently in development by Matrioshka Games (@matrioshkagames) who generously provided us with an early build that showcases a snippet of the story elements and combat encounters. Spanning three areas, it paints a clear picture of what’s coming down the road for the game.

Traversing the holy lands, you’re pitted against a multitude of enemies that range from meek, tiny things who barely survive a hit to monstrous foes that teeter above you, requiring skillful slaying to survive your encounters. You have a handful of skills at your disposal, including the ability to transform your arm into a blade, allowing for a series of light combo attacks that can be charged into a single large sweep. Verticality is another facet of your toolkit, allowing you to uppercut enemies and chain into airborne combos punctuated by slamming them down to earth as swiftly as you lifted them up to heaven. Of course, no skillset would be complete without some engaging ranged attacks, split between a small shotgun burst and a charged line fire.

Enemy designs are inventive, with a certain flair that makes them stand out.

Many foes will drop ammo, an invaluable boon given your limited carrying capacity for which the rule of 3 is definitely in effect. Managing this resource pushes you further into combat which compliments the game’s pace with moves that have a lot of synergy and flow together smoothly to create fights that are fluid and fast. At times, the game feels akin to a character action game like Devil May Cry wherein you effortlessly juggle multiple foes to stylish success. Its hard-as-nails too; suffering a hit will stagger you hard and leave you extremely vulnerable, forcing the player to retreat and find a new vector of attack. Thankfully, you have a quick dash maneuver that allows you to flit in and out of combat with ease.

Health is broken into three bars where only the bar your health is currently on recharges, stymying any hope that you can simply wait to refill back to full if you drop to the last bar. Thankfully you’ll find large boxes dotting the environment that can be broken with a charge attack; a risky endeavour to pull off during the heat of combat, but with a reward definitely worth taking that risk – a healing item that will fill an entire bar. Each item carries three charges, allowing you to get back to full health while retaining an extra charge, but, given how quickly health drops, you’re sure to put it to use soon enough.

Environmental storytelling reveals a grand lore behind this world.

Altogether, these elements make up a game that is equal parts challenging and rewarding without resorting to cheap tactics that many games in the action genre can fall prey to. Its focus on skillful play provides a high ceiling for those willing to master its systems, dancing between ground and air-based combat with enemies filling the screen. Along with its gorgeous pixel art, charming music, and retro sound effects, Fallen Angel presents a package well worth diving into.

The game is currently on Kickstarter, and should absolutely get funded. Check it out, take in its beautiful world, and hopefully soon you too can take the reins of fate and steer creation down whatever path you see fit. Until then, Godspeed.

Catherine Brinegar is a trans game developer and filmmaker who explores the surreal and abstract in her work. Beyond her creative endeavors she enjoys losing herself inside other worlds, interactive and not. Finding inspiration in everything, Catherine aims to see all the world has to offer, through the continual conversation of art. You can keep up with her on twitter @cathroon.