In 2012 Malicious made its way west to the PS3, underwhelming many. Then later that year the expanded version made its way to the Vita with more content under the name Malicious Rebirth, yet still failing to make much of a splash. In 2017 it has made its way to the PS4 titled Malicious Fallen, but this time it’s worth a look.
Malicious drops you into a vessel which is either male or female, where you need to beat the malevolent bosses. There is a plot which is explained via the backstory menu option but it is boring and easily forgot. Fortunately, reading that is completely optional as the game is purely about fighting bosses.
Your vessel gets dropped into an exciting grey and white world with a companion to give you tutorials. Doing these is essential and to be honest bad. There is an image of a controller to the side, labelling the buttons you need to use but explains very little, which is frustrating. Powering through all this is worth the effort as it provides you with the only chance to beat bosses.
From that riveting white and grey area you can enter any of the stages, each of which drops you in front of a boss. Each boss is surrounded by other enemies, who generally don’t put up much of a fight but killing them allows you to build up your Aura. Aura is a number in the corner which builds up as you fight and which can also be used to make stronger attacks, assist with healing and other factors.
Building up Aura is about their only purpose the serve, as the Boss in front of you is the entire emphasis of each stage. The bosses have huge health bars and can kill you very quickly if you don’t take the time to learn how and when they attack. This is the charm and fun of the game, no faff in the levels, the point is the bosses and that’s it. You can choose which boss to fight and when, but some are easier early on, while others are easier once you gain the abilities from beating other bosses, a la Mega Man.
Where the Malicious game fell over before was due to its terrible camera angles and controls. Malicious Fallen has fortunately fixed these issues so now the game is fun to play. The graphics have been tidied up but they do still look a little like a remaster in that the design of the stages and enemies looks great, but a touch dated.
Despite the removal of all the faff of levels and jumping straight to the bosses, the game can still get tedious due to the boss’ huge health bars. At first the process of trying to figure the boss out without dying can be fun, but the huge health bars become a grind at times.
7/10 – Despite the previous two versions of the game being sub-par, Malicious Fallen is worth your time. Its brilliant art style and huge overhaul of the camera and controls makes it worthwhile for anyone put off by this in the past. Though the game consisting only of boss fights may make it a bit niche, it’s worth trying for anyone interested.