Demon’s Crystals is a twin stick shooter, action and indie game where the player takes control of one of four Urican demons. These Urican demons must stop the three mysterious and evil beings who summon enemy words to destroy the world and test the Urican demons position as top of the food chain. Players can pick up an enormous amount of weapons as they survive. Each level is determined by the amount of hordes (waves) within it, each wave could either be kill ‘x’ type of enemies or a time-attack where players rush to collect the crystals before the time runs out. Published by Badland Games and developed by both Byte4games and Starcruiser Studio; Demon’s Crystals offer a fun twin-stick shooter that gives the player an enormous amount of weapons, decent amount of content and enough variety to justify the price.
However, while the variety of content in game deserves praise. The game suffers from a pain-aching slow pace throughout the first half that devolves it from the hectic enjoyable pace of other twin-stick shooter. Players will find the controls for Demon’s Crystals simple and easy to handle, but the mouse and keyboard are far overlooked by the controller simply because the mouse cursor becomes lost in the sea of visual graphics and eye candy that the game uses. Another daunting experience of the game was the weapon pick-ups; each are numbered but give no significant clue as to what effect they are or give. In example a rocket launcher was number 6 while a multi-shotgun rocket launcher can be 13. Often at times in twin-stick shooter life and death depends on the pick-ups players can find or the needs of the situation at hand.
The gameplay of Demon’s Crystals offers fun, thrilling and challenging gameplay. Often players will find themselves at the mercy of enemy projectiles as they will be required to dodge spawning enemies and enemy projectiles which often become drowned in the players own firepower. There is certainly a mix of gameplay elements as Demon’s Crystals mixes both time-attack and survival in each level. However, one of the biggest flaws of this game is the repetitive nature of the twin-stick shooter. While levels vary with weapons and environments, the gameplay feels overall the same and enemies do not progress much beyond the aesthetic of their environments. Often players will find weapon pick-ups unsure of the purpose of the weapon as they are lazily numbered rather than illustrated as a shotgun/rocket or even electrical wave. Though to give credit where it is due, the developers certainly give weapons some nice effects and satisfaction when wiping waves of enemies away.
One of the most jarring experiences of Demon’s Crystals was the lack of pace or difficulty curve. The gameplay often felt like a roller-coaster of fun, repetitiveness or frustration as waves would either be slow or too brutal. Even on the normal difficulty some levels on the ‘castle’ environment felt much harder than entire bosses. While the game provides the fun in environments such as castle, graveyard and forest; It fails to build a difficulty curve or even make boss fights meaningful. In example, Ghoros the enormous red dragon. This dragon acts as the second boss in the game; While dragon boss battles are always fun, in Demon’s Crystals boss battles barely last a minute due to the fact players can easily pick-up a weapon and wipe a boss’s health away within a minute simply standing beside a boss and holding down the firing button. This was true to the two other mysterious beings Ornak and Sarkon who both fail to challenge players and provide a meaningful conclusion. It’s a disappointment that with such characteristic and artistic trio of characters that the developers fail to implement boss-mechanics that prevents players from simply spamming their entire life bar. Previous levels in castle such as collecting 200 crystals in 1 minute were far harder than any of the three bosses. While the game suffers from the lack of difficulty curve of adjustment. Players will often find the game unfair or too easy even on the normal difficulty simply because the game mechanics solely depend on time-extensions that often or not, do not convey clearly they could also take time away if they are picked up at the wrong time.
Lastly, in terms of graphics the game is visually stunning. The artistic style and direction feels well-defined and suitable to the aesthetic the developers were looking for. However, the anime-looking characters certainly feels out-of-place with both artwork and characteristics as the game-world looks somewhat reminiscent of Crash Bandicoot. Demon’s Crystals graphically holds a unique place amongst Indie-game for great characters and design. However, these are naught for the lack of story or interaction these three mysterious monsters give to the players. Boss battles felt like loss opportunities of interactions with the games antagonists who are well designed and portrayed, but lack any evil characteristic that drives the player to end them.
In conclusion, while Demon’s Crystals lacks story. It does provide enjoyable gameplay that will surely keep players occupied. With arcade mode, multiplayer mode and survival mode; The player has an enormous amount of game modes to select with the arcade (single player) mode providing hours of fun on its own. While the game lack story, Demon’s Crystals is a fun twin-stick shooter that provides good multiplayer with friends and gameplay that is surely worth the price.
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