You might have think you’ve seen every twin-stick shooter imaginable, but have you ever seen demonic girls with wings?
Demon’s Crystals follows the story of 4 girls, known as the Urican Demons trying to return peace to their world after 3 mysterious beings upset the order.
Starting in the appropriate setting of a graveyard, you choose your character (mostly down to colour and clothing because there’s no other noticeable differences) and start shooting away at the soon to be appearing horde of zombies and creatures.
Working through the levels, each is split up into a handful of quests, each one will usually require an objective to be reached, either a number of enemies slain or a number of crystals collected, and often both. It’s pretty simple stuff, enemies spawn from the ground and usually aim towards you with melee or projectile attacks, while crystals will randomly appear around the map for you to pick up as you run over them.
It might all sound a little too simplistic, and to be completely honest, it is. but that doesn’t mean it’s bad, because within a few levels, you’ll realise there’s a pretty solid and fun game, that merges our average twin stick shooter, with side-scrolling shooter mechanics as you’re tasked with evading incoming projectiles and enemies, often with limited space. It’s a nice mixture of styles, promoting as much attack as it does defence and dependent on which enemies spawn you’ll have a very different task in taking them down.
Your standard minions will stagger towards you dealing damage if they get too close, but only requiring a few bullets to take them down, larger enemies may move slower, but will deal damage over a much wider area and require more firepower to stop them in their tracks, there’s a good mixture of enemies ranging between melee and projectile based and before you proceed past the first boss and onto the Castle, you’ll be finding yourself retrying levels numerous times and weaving in and out of incoming fire as you try to clear the requirements for your quest.
Graphically it won’t set the world on fire, but there’s a lot going off on screen. Each of the 4 characters use a predictable colour scheme, Red, Blue, Green and Yellow. The relative projectiles each follow the colour scheme of the player, and by the time you’ve picked up a few of the power-ups, you’ll have projectiles flying all over the screen, especially with 3 or 4 payers on at once. This can either be co-operative through the campaign (which is more a collection of levels than a story-line, but there’s also multiplayer and survival mode. Each have their differences, and survival mode is a great challenge, but ultimately game-play feels very similar throughout.
It all moves at a blistering pace, and it’s fair to say any improvement on textures wouldn’t make much difference when there’s so much on screen to take in.
Throughout game-play you’ll have background music and plenty of effects from the enemies and firepower, it’s enough to keep your ears busy, while it might become a little tedious repetitive and underwhelming at times, the sound mostly does a good job of bringing the action to your ears.
Demon’s Crystals is a pretty simple concept, shoot, and don’t get hit, your health regenerates when you do and when your health bar is empty, you have to restart that level from the first quest. It won’t be long before you die, possibly numerous times, thankfully you’ll notice a little white bar next to your health displaying your experience, fill this and your character will ‘level up’ there’s unfortunately very little after the initial on screen notice, but I presume you gain a little extra health and a damage boost.
It doesn’t take long to level up, and you’ll see the numbers increase game after game, but there’s nothing to unlock, no extra powers awarded for progression, just your level signified by a number. I love games that give you the option for persistent improvement on your character, and levelling up is one step, but it does feel like even just a simple skill tree, or allowing a certain weapon when you reach level XX, would have been a massive improvement. Thankfully the fast and frantic game-play does keep you entertained far longer than many games will.