Demon’s Crystals is an Arcade twin-stick shooter developed by Byte4Games and published by BadLand Indie. It is only available on Steam for $9.99 (€8.99) that has yet to come out on Android, iOS, PS4, Xbox One, and WiiU. Even though it makes you think it’s a bad port from Xbox arcade. There are 8 game types all are able to play to a max of four players.
The story is pretty interesting as you are one of 4 demons who draw their power from crystals. Then three monstrous bosses stole your crystals and took away your power. You have to go through mobs of enemies to get back your crystals and defeat the three bosses in revenge.
This game almost feels like a bullet-hell-game mix with a twin-stick shooter. As the game has so much mostly you going on the screen. As you pick up power-ups and fire your gun the screen gets very cluttered and your bullets will be what color you are. The color of the bullets might cover up enemy projectiles and they end up hitting you. There are two male characters and two female characters to choose from. There is no difference between them except for a level difference.
The leveling up is the least influential part of the game. Leveling up increases your damage and health only a little. This is not directly told to the player as it never tells you what you leveling does. Level almost does not matter since on the last level I brought a level 1 to help me beat the last boss and I was level 90. The level 1 was able to fight with no problem against the enemies as well as I could.
The enemies are thrown at you without having any idea what they do. Which would not be a problem without that each enemy type has three different move sets and there is not differentiation between them. There is their melee, range, and a suicide set. They spawn and they are stuck on one single combat style. An easy fix to this is that they make each move set a certain skin of that enemy, each enemy has about three different skins each.
The power-ups are not explained at all until you pick it up. The different power-ups are gun modifications, support orbs, modifications, and curses. Gun modifications and support orbs remind me the most this game being a bullet hell game. The gun modifications are tied to numbers 1-20 to tell you how ‘helpful’ they are. As they modification stays only for 15 secs then is gone until you pick another one up. The damage they do compare to each other is non-existent except for two that shoot out missiles rather the usual colorful bullets. The support orbs will only shoot out these colorful bullets as they fire when you fire and again they stay for about 15 secs.
The modifications add a different gameplay to the game but there are only four. The mushroom that makes you bigger and can stomp on the enemy, but be careful, as it won’t allow you to fire your gun. There is another mushroom that makes you smaller and fast, but again can’t fire your gun. Winged Boots make you go faster. Then there is an hourglass that adds 30 seconds to the timer, but be careful, if an hourglass turns black, it will take away 20 seconds. The other two curses are one that confuses you and one that hurts you.
The game has many modes such as Campaign, Survival, Deathmatch, Versus, Crystals Attack, Capture the Crystal, and Kill the Enemies. The Campaign involves two modes kill all the enemies and collect the crystals. Kill all enemies is exactly what it sounds like as you have to kill a certain amount of enemies in a certain amount of time. Collect the crystals is just like kill all enemies except you have to collect a certain amount of crystals in the time given. There is mostly kill all enemies missions compare to the 7 collect the crystals mode.
Survival is like every other survival where you try to survive as long as possible. Deathmatch is to be the last one surviving to win. Versus is the same as Deathmatch but with teams. Crystal Attack is the Collect the crystals mode in the campaign, but trying to get more than the other players. Capture the Crystal is a just like crystal Attack but you have to destroy a shield around your colored crystal and pick it up. Then Kill the Enemies is like Crystal Attack but you have to kill instead of collect and if you kill a gnome then your points rest.
There is a very obvious Xbox port feel the game gives off. As the title screen immediately is set for Xbox controls and not PC. I don't know if they are not caring or that they actually know how difficult it is to play a twin-stick with the controller so they set it to Xbox controls.
If you are not playing this game with a controller, then this game absolutely won’t be fun. As the controls with a mouse will not fire the gun in the right direction. Also, the game keeps the mouse cursor on the screen even though you plug in a controller and are using that. So get used watching your mouse cursor going across the already cluttered screen.
The Graphics of this game is a result of the cartoonish 3D engine that allows the game to seem silly, but nothing is done with this silly aspect that is given off. Other than that, it's a good looking game that is well worth the look. Everything is colorful and funny. Sometimes the game is too colorful as the colors are very bright and acid. The menu has a small number of options. That is expected for graphics engine of the game that is a twin-stick shooter.
Music is okay, it’s nothing great but it’s not bad as well. I’d say it’s your average soundtrack. I think the music could be better. It also gives off a silly feel and is very fitting of an area you are in. Whether it is a graveyard or a forest village, the music just fits so well in this world. As for the options, there are only two sliders. You can adjust the volume for music and sound effects.
Demon's Crystals is a very fun twin-stick shooter. Graphics are beautiful in my opinion and the gameplay is pretty fun as well. If you plan on playing this with friends, you will really enjoy it. I think the price to fun ratio is pretty good in this game, you’ll definitely get your money’s worth.
Sometimes the game throws some unnecessary spikes of difficulty in like the last level. As it changes its game mechanics around and makes the game harder for no reason. This game is very much a couch party game and should focus on that more than placing in a complete campaign. This game is worth the buy if you have some extra controllers and able to get the friends around your computer to play.
One gripe I have with this game is the time limit in arcade mode. I honestly don't like time limits. After playing a bit of this mode, I really don't see a point in it.
| + Beautiful graphics|| - Sudden difficulty spikes|
| + Fun gameplay|| - Time-limited arcade mode|
| + Good price-to-fun ratio|