League of Angels is a fantasy MMORPG published by NGames. As expected, the story line of the game leads players to companion with angels and fight back the agents of darkness in an adventure-filled fantasy world. Like most browser-based games it runs on almost anything and provides a quick, easy way to jump into the game—and it’s published
LoA is a free-to-play 2D browser-based MMORPG with strong fantasy styling and works with a turn-based combat mechanic. Its ease-of-play makes the game extremely casual friendly, and it appears to use a stamina-based system to make certain players can only spend a certain amount of time playing a day like many games of its type. Not to mention, the stamina-system also lengths the time it takes players to go from starters to endgame and provides a reason to access the premium cash shop to get more stamina.
The ogrish reviewers from GameOgre spent several days playing LoA and here’s what they found.
Graphics and sound: Generic fantasy with angels
Graphically, League of Angels is quite well painted, using the 2D MMORPG affect as much as possible to produce interesting looking maps with carefully designed animations. Players will find themselves traversing styled vistas with lush landscapes, cityscapes, and other paradisiacal locales filled with fantastic and horrible monsters.
Animations on NPCs are minimal as are FX during battles, and they’re mostly sprite-based or layer-based effects. Most attacks are either rushing across the painted battlefield to slash, or throwing bolts of magical energy; early angels have giant Area of Effect (AoE) attacks that throw down a carpet of lightning that blinks across the screen. Often attacks are followed by a transparent, giant figure of the attacker.
Although pretty much all battles are automatic, they are not without a little bit of drama as the FX unfold—as early on without following proper level-ups with equipment and skills, it is possible to lose a fight.
A lot of the game is directed towards young men—with the female characters dressed in fantasyesque skimpy clothing, large breasts, and beautiful features and the men strapped into bulky armor displaying rippling muscles beneath piles of clothing. The list of angels who can be brought along are a pin-up board of nicely painted exotically dressed women. If nothing else, the game could be pleasing to look at for the expected stereotypical adolescent male audience.
When it comes to the UI, the game is very hard to follow. The UI elements are tiny, all over the place, and constantly trying to grab attention. Most of them push players towards the cash shop and for the most part the design is loud and obnoxious. There are scrolling words rolling around every which way—mostly talking about the achievements of others. Altogether once a player gets used to the UI, however, the superfluous elements become easy to ignore except for when they’re relevant and it doesn’t do much to detract from the game.
As for much of the sound comes from the UI and in battles.
Battle sounds are fairly generic with swishes, swoops, thumps, and crunches as blows land. There’s bright noises from casting spells and electrical zaps as lightning flies. All of it lends to a fairly generic fantasy expectations but doesn’t really stand out from the crowd.
In fact, I found myself flipping away from battles to read (or write this review) and listening to the battle in the background I could rather tell somewhat of the goings on.
The in-game music sounds like a simple, two-part melody with a plucked string instrument (like a harp) harmonized with a synthesized violin. It’s on a short loop in the beginning, but it’s not distinct enough that the short loop is frustrating. In the next zone there is a drum-loop with a wordless vocal, since the area is desert-based it feels more or less like a bit of a Middle-Eastern song feel. Further into the game
The battle music is appropriately exciting and filled with horns and triumphant melody—and when the battle is won there’s a fanfare reminiscent of the Final Fantasy “we won!” music.
Gameplay: Autopilot, autopilot everywhere
League of Angels is a browser-based MMORPG that does a lot of the work for the player. In many ways this can allow players to soak up the graphical and narrative atmosphere of the world; but it also means that much of the game feels like it’s on autopilot.
From the start, players are introduced to an angel and given a short series of dialogue to read through. Then choose a class from a short list of common fantasy tropes: Warrior or Mage—and male or female of either. The type of class chosen changes combat a little bit, but since the game is mostly played automatically it doesn’t modify gameplay altogether that much.
Quests are all tracked on the sidebar and accessed via a mouse-click. No need to worry about discovering the next target or quest-giver because simply clicking on a quest name (or target) will autopilot the player straight there. From there it’s all about following UI tutorials or clicking through dialogue to get quests completed or head off to do battle against the forces of darkness.
Combat is turn-based and very similar to tactics-styled games such as Warlords and Final Fantasy Tactics. The user has very little input, and battles essentially auto-resolve themselves with the AI playing both sides. In fact, much of this game plays itself—from auto-tracking the next quest, walking there, and engaging the enemy by itself; mostly players just level up, buy skills, upgrade equipment, read narrative, and then watch things unfold.
As enemies die, gold coins fall from their dead bodies during the turn-based combat and the mouse can be used to pick them up (hitting the spacebar as well works.) It’s about as interactive as battles get in LoA.
As with most browser-based 2D MMORPGs, LoA is relatively hands-off.
There are a couple minigames, including watching dragons fly through the air carrying crates. Although the dragon racing minigame feels more like something to waste time to earn more in-game gold than it is anything interactive or interesting.
Towards the mid- and end-game LoA also has a PvP structure that pits players vs. players and guilds vs. guilds. It has an automatching and levelling system that gives players a fairly good fighting chance with the hands-off system.
Freemium: Fairly standard free-to-play freemium modeled game with a cash shop and currency
League of Angels follows a freemium model with a cash shop designed to get players to buy into the game.
The premium currency for LoA is Diamonds starting at $4.99 for 500. Most of the game things cost gold (the in-game freemium currency) but they can also be bought out with diamonds at various costs. For example, right now there is an Easter event that involves smashing eggs—for extremely nice rewards—the lowest cost egg is smashed with a hammer bought for 50 Diamonds (approximately $0.50) the next up is 5 hammers (250 Diamonds, $2.50) and the highest value egg costs 25 hammers (1,250 Diamonds, $6.25.)
It is possible to buy Diamonds in bulk, but it doesn’t seem to confer a bulk discount—Diamonds sell from 50 for $4.99 to 30,000 for $299.99.
The game also sells a VIP subscription at $6.99 a month. This subscription affords players instant rewards (called VIP tiers), a daily pack of useful items and gold, and 500,000 gold outright.
Conclusion: League of Angels makes up for the pitfalls of browser-based MMORPGs with community
The stand out element of League of Angels is not the gameplay or the graphics—I’ve seen similar through my time reviewing MMORPGs for GameOgre and all of that I’ve seen is common to 2D browser-based games. Instead, it’s the high population of players who continually come back to the game. The community in LoA is noticeable, there’s always people chatting, and they’re not unhelpful.
As a result, LoA is a bit of a social game. In fact, an early mission had me randomly reach out and make friends with people who were online. As a result, I met several people who chose to play different minigames with me and tried to pull me into boss encounters and other in-game events.
People who play LoA don’t play alone, unless they choose to just let the game run in the background automatically. The result here is that the automated effect of the game leads to a more potentially social experience with LoA being a sort of background atmosphere that hosts the chat and a sense of competition against other players or just the game environment itself.
Players may not find anything that has League of Angels stand out from the crowd when it comes to browser-based 2D MMORPGs in the free-to-play market, but it’s a solid game of its type. Not too buggy, easy to run on almost any system (that can run a browser and Flash.) With the social aspect being up front and center it’ll give enough entertainment to keep people playing if they’re into this sort of game.