Demon’s Crystals
Gameplay 5
Graphics 7
Sound 5

Take control of one of four Urican demons and blast away enemies in this twin-stick shooter. Unfortunately, the colorful visuals and non-stop action cannot hide how shallow the gameplay is and how repetitive everything becomes after only a few rounds. The inclusion of local co-op and multiplayer modes adds some fun to the game, but there are much better options available for this genre.

Gameplay: Action-packed, but very repetitive and grindy.

Graphics: Colorful, but sometimes too chaotic for its own good.

Sound: Very average

Summary 5.7 Above Average
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Summary 0.0 Terrible

Demon’s Crystals

Developer: Byte4Games | Publisher: BadLand Publishing | Release Date: 2016 | Genre: Action / Twin Stick Shooter / Indie | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

The world in which Demon’s Crystals is set used to be a peaceful place with Urican demons living it up at the top of the food pyramid. Unfortunately for them, the arrival of three mysterious beings throws things into disarray. Not only are the once peaceful inhabitants of the world now aggressive and destructive, but the Urica demons have become the focus of their ire. It’s not much of a story, but it does give players an excuse to pick one of four Urica demons and blast everything in sight.

Demon’s Crystals is a top-down twin-stick shooter that can be played solo or with up to four friends. Players start each level with very basic firepower and must then grab the different weapons and power-ups that spawn on the map to stand a better chance of survival. These weapons and power-ups only last a very short time, so players must stay on the movie if they want to avoid enemies and grab more.

The game has a couple of different modes with “Arcade” being a good place to start. In this mode, players pick their character and then battle enemies across three worlds with nine levels each. The last level in each world is always a boss battle and each of the previous levels typically has three rounds. These rounds either require players to kill a certain number of enemies to progress or collect a certain number of crystals before a timer runs out. Along the way, players can earn experience points and level up, which increases the health bar of their chosen character. Unfortunately, that’s all there is to the arcade mode. This means that it becomes very repetitive as the game continues to bump up the number of enemies to kill and crystals to collect on each level. Players also have to redo the entire level if they get killed or run out of time, even if they managed to reach the final round.

According to the Steam Achievements for the game just over 10% of players even bother to play as far as the very first boss, which is not a good sign. This drops down to just over 5% for the second and 3% for the third. The developers clearly designed the game to be very grindy, judging by the achievements for defeating 100,000 enemies and collecting 150,000 crystals!

Outside of Arcade mode, players can try out the survival mode, complete with online rankings, which is for solo players. The game also has six multiplayer modes for two to four players with things like Deathmatch, Crystal Attack, and more on offer. These are entertaining but limited to local multiplayer only.

Visually, Demon’s Crystals looks decent, but not spectacular. The levels are all split into graveyard, castle, and forest themes, but after a while, they all just blur together. Enemies also consist of rather generic things like zombies, skeletons, and bats. To be honest, the game has a very mobile look and feel to it, which might also explain why it is so grindy. One area where Demon’s Crystals overcompensates visually is with the lighting effects, which are everywhere. While it looks pretty, it makes the already cluttered visuals even more chaotic, and spotting enemy projectiles in time can become a real chore. This is further exasperated by the rather tiny levels that cause the game to feel claustrophobic. Throw in hard to see floor traps, annoying “power-downs” that spawn all over the crystals you have to collect, and enemies that can detonate huge explosions in tiny areas and you have the perfect recipe for frustration. It is not possible to tweak the visuals either as there are only two options, namely high and low, along with the ability to set FXAA on or off.

Demon’s Crystals can be played with a keyboard and mouse or controller, but the latter is definitely the better option. Thanks to the chaotic visuals it is too easy to lose sight of the mouse cursor, which is annoying. When playing with a controller players only have to push the right analog stick in the direction that they want to shoot, which is much more comfortable than also having to hold down a button. The audio in Demon’s Crystals is present but very unremarkable. With so-so sound effects and music that will be forgotten as soon as you switch off the game, there’s nothing here that makes much of an impact.

It really is a pity that Demon’s Crystals is such a middle-of-the-road title as the twin-stick shooter genre is capable of delivering hidden gems. Unfortunately, the colorful visuals and non-stop action cannot mask the deeply repetitive nature of the game. The lackluster leveling system means that there is nothing new to aim for and even the four different characters are purely cosmetic choices with no impact on the actual gameplay. It is definitely a game that is more fun to play with friends, but even then the limitations will become very obvious very quickly. If you are a fan of the genre and don’t mind the repetitive gameplay then there’s still enough fun to be had in Demon’s Crystals to justify the relatively low asking price. For everyone else, this will be a game that they pick up once or twice and then never again.

*Review based on version 1.1.4 of Demon’s Crystals.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10
  • Processor: 1.5GHz processor
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: DX9 – 256MB VRAM
  • DirectX: Version 9.0
  • Storage: 410 MB available space
  • OS: Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10
  • Processor: 2GHz processor dual core
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: DX9 – 512MB VRAM
  • DirectX: Version 9.0
  • Storage: 410 MB available space
  • OS: OS 10.6+
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Storage: 410 MB available space
  • OS: Ubuntu 12.04 or later
  • Processor: 1.5GHz processor
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 256MB VRAM
  • Storage: 410 GB available space

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