Winged Heroes at the Ready in an Improved Sequel!

Armed With Wings 2 is the sequel to the platformer Armed With Wings, which was released in December 2008 by Armor Games and has been made by Sun Studios. The sequel hasn't changed much from the original, but there some key changes in all aspects that make the game a bit more fun to play and don't allow it to become a typical boring platformer. Here are some of the key aspects of this sequel:

Gameplay

This sequel has no eagle, but otherwise much of the gameplay remains the same. There are some major changed in the storyline though. In what has to be the weirdest twist ever seen in any game or movie, the protagonist of the first game is your enemy in this game. The cruel king that you worked so hard to displace is now played by you as you seek to regain your throne. You play Vanheer Lorde, the former Emperor of the realm who must now gain 4 swords, each of which represent one element, to combine their powers and beat the new Emperor and his eagle. The storyline starts out well enough and continues in a way that might put some Hollywood movies to shame in terms of style, but the ending is, well, there's no other word for it, lame.

Armed with Wings 2

As for the game itself, you have the same two modes as in the first game: Story Mode and Survival Mode. Survival Mode basically allows you to face as many enemies as you can and practice fighting, and the Story Mode obviously allows you to play the game according to the storyline. There are three difficulties: easy, medium and hard. Greater difficulty settings not only increase the number of enemies you face or the amount of damage it takes to beat an enemy, they also change the layout of the levels to increase the environmental challenge level a bit more. So the challenge per difficulty level quotient rises manifold.

Now for the biggest change, the lack of an eagle. You might think that that makes the title "Armed With Wings" a bit of a misnomer, but that isn't correct because you can now jump! Yes, that's the main improvement upon the original game. The sequel allows you to jump both low and high, depending on how hard and long you press the up arrow for, plus there are gusts in certain places that allow you to scale huge heights. You don't strictly have wings, but you fly higher than the eagle ever did in the first game, and that is certainly for the better.

Armed with Wings 2

The other changes deal with the variety of attacks. You can punch using the 'Z' key, kick using the 'X' key and use your sword with the 'C' key. You can also make 3-hit combos with them by pressing them in any order you want to. The other part is controlled by the 'A', 'S' and 'D' keys. All three allow you to use sword-based attacks. The 'S' key allows you to throw a projectile, the 'A' key allows you to make a grab, and the 'D' key uses the Sword Special, the power of which depends on the sword you're using. To use the 'A' and 'S' based attacks however, you first have to have energy. There is an energy bar right under the health bar which tells you how much you have left. It fills automatically over time.

Most levels go along the route of 3-4 goon battles, an environmental puzzle, and then a boss. And that is the main problem with this game. It is too short and while not easy to get through, a sliver of luck with the first couple of bosses could see you finish the game within 40 minutes or so. Plus, with the eagle not being around, the interaction with the environment and the novel concept of the first game is entirely lost. And then there's the sliding during movement. One presumes that it is there just to ramp up the difficulty, but the game developers here failed to make the distinction between credible, interesting challenges and frustrating ones. Sliding off of the occasional platform is frustrating and nothing more. This mechanic needs to go. The controls and clunky game physics are ruining what is otherwise a good game. That's the end of that rant.

Armed with Wings 2

For what it's worth, the final boss is likely to take up much of your time. He's faster than you, he can't be blocked, he follows you perfectly even while you jump, can hit you with a shot that sends you down into a spike pit and death any time it strikes his fancy, and your projectile attack doesn't hurt. What could you do then? Fortunately, here's the thing you need to do to get past him: As the level starts, run towards the other side of the platform. As soon as he finishes his combo, run towards him and use the 'Z' key to punch him and then keep going to the other end. If you manage to get a shot on him, you will be able to move to his other side while he keeps using his combo. Keep doing this until he relinquishes his throne and is beaten.

Visuals and Audio

The graphics in Armed of Wings 2 are just as amazing as they were in the first game, and in some cases even more so. They are still sleek and polished and the way your character turns to ashes right down to the very tip of your character's finger when he dies makes for some amazing detail. There's also some color in the form of red lava pools in the Mt. Fuego scenario of the game, but sadly those pools aren't as well drawn as the other things in the game.

Armed with Wings 2

The audio is pretty decent too, even though it's been completely lifted from the Zelda game series and Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Every bit of music suits the campaign right down to the T, and besides the producers acknowledged the original games where they got the music from so there aren't any real legal issues. The lack of originality is slightly distressing, but once you start playing the game with that in the background all will be forgotten.

Conclusion

Armor Game's second sponsored Armed with Wings 2 is both an improvement and a regression upon the original game. No eagle means losing the concept altogether, but jumping is highly necessary for any platformer. The game is definitely interesting initially, but it won't keep you hooked for long. All in all, if you have an hour to spend and love some dark medieval action, go for this game.

Once you have completed this epic fantasy action title there's a third to follow on, so why not have a go of Armed with Wings 3 and enjoy more great story telling and adventure.