Scythe of the Abyss is a fun little action platformer starring Death himself as he takes up his trusty scythe to harvest the soul of a king. The king in question must be rather important though because a host of angelic abominations is determined to guard his life at all costs.The designs for this cross-faced angel enemies are great and I particularly like how they become gradually more alien in nature over time; the very first angel you encounter is a fairly ordinary humanoid one, but then you are introduced to miniature ghost angels, spider angels, and eventually angels which more closely resemble artificial machines than anything else. Death’s defenses against these heavenly monstrosities are rather limited as his only abilities are a close-range scythe slash and a dash which can be used in the air and allows Death to pass through enemies and projectiles, but the invincibility period is extremely short so it needs to be used with precise timing.
While this description may make this game sound difficult, it’s actually on the easier side of things (with the exception of the boss at the end) in large part due to the health system. Death’s health is represented by three skulls near the top of the screen and getting hit by enemies takes off a quarter or half of a skull and even falling into a pit only removes one full skull. Damage can wrack up quickly if you let yourself become surrounded or become careless around some of the stronger enemies in the game, but each of the three stages has a checkpoint and you can harvest the souls of civilians wandering around to heal a full skull per soul. I think the boss fight here relies too heavily upon memorizing its attacks and I wish there were a few more instances where the dash was required for platforming purposes since it’s a fun ability which can largely be ignored for most of the game, but Scythe of the Abyss is an otherwise solid action platformer with a neat premise.