21/06/2017

☆ Review: Demon's Crystals "Enter The Rainbow Graveyard!" ☆

Share This Post On Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share This Post On

Demon’s Crystals - PS4

One of our Resident Reviewers Bethany has had some time with the PS4 Video Game Demon's Crystals. 

Read on to see what Beth and her family thought of this colourful twin-stick shooter.
Upon first playing Demon’s Crystals, I was thrown into a colourful graveyard (after selecting an anime- inspired demon to be my character), and immediately wondered if I had somehow missed a tutorial or instructions on how to play. I had not, for the record, as there are no instructions and no tutorial on how to shoot or what the objectives are.

After running a few laps through the graveyard while nondescript monsters chased my character, I figured out that none of the controls on the Playstation controller was necessary but the two sticks (hence, dual stick game). Hopeful but not expectant, this ended up being the majority of my experience with Demon’s Crystals: confused, somewhat entertained, but ultimately left disappointed.


When the game is first started, a narrative tells the player that demons lost crystals and they’re needed to be regained for lifeforce. With a tenuous plot device at best, the player is brought to a character selection screen to choose between four demons to play. 

The colours of the characters are yellow, red, blue, and green, and while intuition and experience may indicate that the colour of the demon will give some idea of their abilities or powers (blue for ice, red for fire), this doesn’t really seem to be the case. Each character played the same, and while power-ups across the levels are different, none of them seemed to really affect the gameplay of one character versus another at any given time.


I have a few complaints about the game, and they aren’t just centred around nondescript characters with varying chest sizes and corsets to differentiate who is who in the game. While your character is running around the map picking up crystals and shooting monsters with abandon in a bizarrely rainbowed graveyard, there are also power-ups you can pick up to potentially enhance your damage or increase firepower. Some of the more effective ones involve freezing all enemies on the map, growing your character to a giant size so you can simply walk over the enemies, or “bullet time”, which slows time for enemies and gives your character the ability to rapid fire triangle- shaped ammo into the slowed enemy monsters. These are neat, to a degree, but the rarely available health boost would be much more useful to players, because once you’re down, you must restart the level from the beginning, with no save point in between. 


If you’re lucky enough to find someone to play this game with you, sometimes your co-op partner will be able to revive you, and sometimes they won’t. This seems totally arbitrary, and only a small amount of health to your character will be restored upon resurrection.

At some point in the level you will see “Level Up!” on the screen as if your character is levelling up, but again, that doesn’t seem to be the case, as health goes unrestored, firepower speed and strength remain the same. Just like character choice, power-ups, and picking up crystals, there doesn’t seem to be any point to levelling up. Some time after this, I would see a message about all enemies being eliminated (even though there would still be enemies on the screen) or all crystals had been retrieved (there would still be crystals on the ground) and the match would end. My confusion persisted from the time I turned the game on until I turned off my Playstation and walked away, wondering what I’d just spent my time on.


In an attempt to see how this game stacked up to the standards of the rest of my family, my husband and I played with our five-year-old son. It could have been that the game is intensely visually busy, or there was no rhyme or reason to running around and shooting monster enemies, or that the controls were unfamiliar, but my five-year-old lost interest in less than five minutes. The adults played co-op arcade later on, and we commented on the rapid loss of health with little indication of such, the confusing visuals, and the lack of variance in the gameplay. We begrudgingly made it several levels in, losing our characters’ slain bodies in the colourful graveyard before being able to revive one another. Level one felt the same as level nine, and to what end?

Summary:
Confused about why someone would play through this game, I asked others who are bigger fans of dual-stick shooters than I am. The cartoonish influence of this shooter gives it a feel that varies from some other dual stick shooters, I was told, and will agree. It has a less serious feel to it, and while the graphics are by no means poor, the visuals harken back to the 90s in terms of colour, movement, and style. This is a game that can be hopped into or out of relatively easily, which I would say is another positive feature for Demon’s Crystals in a world of immersive, time absorbing titles.

Is Demon’s Crystals my cuppa? No. Is it someone else’s? Absolutely.

Dev Link: Byte4Games, Star Cruiser Studios
Game Link: Steam













Beth

"Stay Frosty!"