“I don’t care what happens to them, but unlike you, I was at least trying to save humanity.”
-Reza, Angels With Scaly Wings
“The following is a guest post by the Final Fourteenth Mage.”
Angels with Scaly Wings is a unique twist to the visual novel genre; incorporating science fiction elements into a slice-of-life dating sim where your suitors just happen to be humanoid dragons.
The human world is in peril. Years of rapid technological advancement and dependency would be humanity’s downfall as a catastrophic event left them on the brink of extinction and nothing more than scattered groups of people trying to survive in a now dystopian society. Time is running out and humanity is dependent on a newly discovered portal linking them to an unknown world.
You, the main character, are an ambassador for the human race and find yourself being chosen to enter through a newly discovered portal to a world filled with intelligent human-like dragons. As humanity’s ambassador your goal is to trade a PDA device containing information on humanity’s technological advances in exchange for the dragon’s generators. You are the second ambassador sent to this strange world; the first is a man you went to school with who immediately tells you that there’s something unnerving going on in this world. This sets the scene for the game as not long after you arrive a brutal murder takes place and you end up being roped into helping solve the case.
From this moment the game become more akin to a detective game as you become immersed in the unfolding drama. You in all of your budding detective glory spend your time interviewing witnesses and scouring the obscure world for any clues that might lead you to the murderer. Romance, whilst still apparent, takes more of a backstory than what you’d usually expect in a dating sim.
That said, the four dragons that you can become emotionally involved with are Remy, Bryce, Adine and Anna. Each dragon has a good and bad ending with the bad endings being particularly heart wrenching. At first I was unsure how seriously I could take the characters but by the time I got my first bad ending I realised just how invested I was! It’s not only the dateable dragons that captivated my interest however as the secondary dragons also have such varied and in-depth backstories that I felt that they could have easily been romantic interests also.
As with any visual novel the game is very dialogue heavy, boasting a script of over 175,000 words. Angels with Scaly Wings offers an interesting look into the world of science fiction and many academic topics are often discussed due in part to the main character having a major in biology. Science fiction fans will have their fill with the detailed text about not only the portal but time travel and traversing numerous timelines. Angels with Scaly Wings also includes a lot of game specific lore which can be discovered through conversations with other dragons, exploring the environments and reading the many books throughout the dragon world.
All things considered Angels with Scaly Wings is a brilliant and intelligent dating sim. You would be doing yourself a disservice if you let this title pass you by.
The 8-Bit Review
Visually the game is average. Whilst tolerable, the games visuals are nothing to write home about. With a limited amount of locations you are often subjected to the same background numerous times. Visually, the dragons themselves are fine until you compare them to their introductory cutscene artwork or the artwork that appears when you become closer to one another. I thought those images were quite nice and found it a bit jarring to come back from that to the in game visuals. For instance, I thought Adine was rather strange looking but once I viewed a scene of her where I helped her in the shower I completely changed my mind. Whilst understandable, it’s a shame that the art couldn’t have been used throughout the game.
Angels with Scaly Wings’ gameplay is very consistent with its genre. You as the main character make choices in regards to both dialogue and actions that affect the outcome of the game. It’s the video game version of a ‘choose your own adventure’ book only there’s more courting dragons than I remember in those books as a child. I enjoyed the simplicity of the gameplay as it allowed me the freedom to do numerous things at the drop of a hat whilst coming back to the game when I was able to.
I really enjoyed the story in Angels with Scaly Wings. It’s so fascinating. I could talk about it with literally anyone and if I omitted the fact that in between discussing the existence of multiple timelines I was banging dragons, I am sure they would be more interested. It’s hard to talk about how spectacular the narrative is without spoiling the story too much. The beauty of the game is how much more is revealed with each subsequent playthrough and it’s more intelligent and dark than I anticipated it to be.
The themes that Angels with Scaly Wings incorporates into it’s dialogue are really interesting. I don’t consider myself a huge science fiction fan and I was intrigued by the ideas surrounding portals, wormholes and time travel to name a few themes in the game. Everything is explained even down to why the dragons are intelligent humanoid creatures. It’s a really interesting take on a future for humanity that is potentially a possibility.
It’s no secret that dating sims aren’t particularly hard as far as video games go. The only challenge is choosing the correct choices to coincide with the ending that you are hoping for. In regards to Angels with Scaly Wings I found the choices to be straight forward and easy. Each dragon has their own obvious personality which makes it evident which dialogue response you should or should not choose depending on the ending that you are aiming to achieve. Out of all of the dating sims that I have previously played I found Angels with Scaly Wings to be the most straight forward.
Dating sims are all about replayability. Witnessing each character’s good and bad endings are an absolute must. Especially in a game such as Angels with Scaly Wings where each ending is vastly different to the next. Not only in terms of your relationship with the dragon you’ve pursued but the state of the entire world. Angels with Scaly Wings makes replaying the game a breeze as you can automatically skip any dialogue you have seen on previous playthroughs. This makes subsequent playthroughs much shorter and stops the game from dragging as you witness the multiple endings.
What can I say? Angels with Scaly Wings is incredibly unique. There’s not too many games out there that have you wining and dining humanoid dragons. Going in blind I expected a generic dating sim… just with dragons. I was so surprised by the fact that the game was more of a sci-fi detective game than anything else. I don’t think I will play another game with such a unique yet engaging storyline as Angels with Scaly Wings anytime soon.
My Personal Grade: 8/10
I personally really enjoyed Angels with Scaly Wings. Visual novels are the only genre of games I tend to enjoy playing through numerous times. The intense story captivated me from the beginning and it felt like with every playthrough I was slowly chipping away the layers to reveal more and more lore. I originally decided to play through Angels with Scaly Wings but I was kindly given a key from the developer and I am so glad that I had the opportunity to play the game. I’ve been telling both friends and family about it as it deserves more recognition.
Aggregated Score: 7.4
The Final Fourteenth Mage has the weight of her backlog on her shoulders as she scours the internet searching for her next favourite game. You may know her as Priscilla Cullen and can read more of her musings at Cilla vs. Games.
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