Demon’s Crystals is the new top-down twin-stick shooter from Byte4Games and BadLand games, in which the player chooses between four demons and sets out on a quest to retrieve their stolen crystals, and tear shit up in the process. The story goes that these Urican demons were kicking it for like centuries living peacefully, and then these three gnarly boss-like guys showed up and turned everything upside down. Suddenly our Urican friends no longer live in harmony, and there is some very bad mojo destroying the place. This is where you choose from the demon ladies I mentioned earlier, start wrecking these warmongering monsters and take back your world.
Choosing between these four demons doesn’t seem to matter much for the gameplay. Other than color, there isn’t a difference between the characters. You’ll zip around at the same speed, pick up the same weapon upgrades, and even the controls are the same as well - left stick moves your demons, right stick shoots your guns. I feel as though there are four playable characters only to distinguish who is who in multiplayer modes, which is fine. You’ll start off on the early levels with typically two objectives to complete within a set amount of time. These objectives are always the same though, get so many crystals, kill so many enemies. In the later stages, they sometimes throw the third objective in there, but it’s more of the same.
There are three unique worlds for you to conquer in order to complete the game. Each world will throw different levels at you, and if you’re able to survive the frantic onslaught of murdering, you’ll go one on one with one of the great three bosses that started all this chaos to begin with. In each world, the level design is somewhat varied, but many of the graveyard areas start to blend together.
Enemies will change as you progress, getting harder as you level up and advance further into the game. Some will charge at you looking to duke it out melee style, others will stand back and shoot at you, some will even fly up and try to perform an air-strike on you. As you’re killing enemies and gathering crystals, the game will drop weapon upgrades for you. Many of these are pretty freakin’ cool, and there does seem to be somewhat of a strategy involved in which weapons to use at which times in which scenario. The pace is always intense, and you’ll barely have time to breathe in between rounds. Thankfully, you’re able to pause at any time, which is helpful if you tried to review this game with a child hanging off of your shoulder.
As I mentioned, your character will “level” but leveling up only seems to be there for posterity, however. I didn’t see anything that could/would change through leveling, although mentally I always felt that the higher the level I became, the more badass I was. That’s just me though, I need that validation in my life.As far as game modes go, there is the standard arcade I’ve been speaking about, where you’re able to play multiplayer, and there is also a standalone solo survivor mode, which I tinkered with, but I didn’t find much fruit on that particular tree.
The art and sound design deserve a nod as well. Artistically, I really dug the shading and character design of the monsters and levels. Granted, most of the time you’ll be running around like a banshee trying not to die, and you probably won't be able to take in the sights, but when I did have a moment, I enjoyed what I saw. As for the soundtrack, it’s fasted-paced and kinetic as you’d expect, and the sound effects of the bullets and monsters are spot on.
Overall, Demon’s Crystals is cool. It’s cheap, it’s entertaining, and if you like these types of games, there is just no reason no to pick it up if you need to pass some time. Get on it, folks!
*Note: A copy of the game was provided for the purposes of the review
Final Score: 7.5/10
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