Demon Turf Review
Demon Turf is a retro 3D platformer from Fabraz and Playtonic Friends that follow the ambitious demon Beebz as she fights her way in the demon world securing turfs held by powerful demon bosses to face off against the Demon Lord.
I’ll admit that my first impression of the game isn’t exactly good as the visuals of Demon Turf really doesn’t stand out even as a retro indie game. However, with games like Psychonauts 2 embodying that old school look, it’s never fair to really judge a platformer by its aesthetic.
Does Demon Turf win me over by its gameplay and retro charm or what we see is what we get? Lets get into it!
As Retro As It Gets
Demon Turf‘s retro Parappa The Rapper inspired aesthetic may seem a little dated, but has adapted a modern style for the modern gamer. It was quite the norm back in the 90s to have 2D hand drawn sprites blend with a 3D environment, especially during the PS1 era, but now anything done in this style will definitely be seen as retro.
The dialogue as well as the story also feels very 90s. The same conventions used in cartoons: the precocious kid that takes down adults while being mean spirited in their tone is used a lot in the way Beebz interacts with her surroundings, which gets quite old and cringe-inducing after a while. I’m just glad that she doesn’t do rap battles and just sticks to platforming.
The aesthetic might take a bit getting used to because the visuals are quite uniform. There are a lot of warm colors like red and orange that are used a bit too much. The visual variety changes in some turfs, but that red-orange-violet palette doesn’t change much as you go through with the game and gets quite repetitive.
Demon Turf’s camera is default to Auto, but switching to manual allows for better peripheral vision to clear certain challenges with ease. Issues occur when the area gets really tight because the camera moves in a way that you won’t be able to see Beebz, making it a big problem during some boss fights.
A Modern Platformer
However, one thing that the developers focused on is its strong platformer mechanic throughout. The controls in Demon Turf are tight and there is very little input lag to speak of, allowing you to jump, double jump, and hover to your heart’s delight. Each turf has different levels to engage in and complete, and once you’ve completed its initial run, you can take on even more randomized challenges to keep it fresh.
One thing we cannot underestimate in Demon Turf is the level design in each area. Once you get used to its look, there are different ways you can combine your basic platforming moves for traversal purposes. In some ways, you can surprise yourself on how much you can clear difficult jumps by combining several moves. Once you think that you’ve cleared every platforming challenge the game has to offer, they add another obstacle to the mix besides the regular pitfalls and traps.
There is some combat you can engage in your quest to be the top demon because fighting different demon boss minions are also part of the platforming challenges. You can punch or deflect enemy projectiles as well as stun enemies with your spin attack and as you continue your quest, you gain helpful tools such as the hookshot that allows you to throw smaller enemies about.
Boss battles work in a similar fashion to many games of its type, combining tool usage on their weak spots as well as using platforming techniques to topple their many different forms.
A Lot of Value
While Demon Turf can easily be cleared on a weekend with 7-10 hours to collect the necessary batteries to be able to challenge the Demon Lord, there are many other activities to engage in to make the most of the game.
There are photo challenges available in Demon Turf, essentially making the game into a scavenger hunt of sorts to collect extra sweets. You can also take part in several mini-games like Soccer Golf and Retro Arcade games with different cartridges found in your journeys.
Demon Turf has a bunch of different quality of life features that make it a bit easier to play through. There’s a DIY checkpoint system where you can put 3-4 flags throughout a level so you’ll know where you’ll start off if you die or get stuck. The many sweets collectibles you pick up in a level can be traded for extra skills to make your traversals and even extra batteries to collect in order to skip some bosses and levels.
Once you beat the game, you can test your mettle on the additional levels as well as take part in speed run challenges on the normal levels. There are tons of extra activities like this to keep you entertained while keeping Demon Turf short and sweet and ready to be played whenever you feel like.
What We Liked:
- An easy to play retro platformer minus the input lag.
- Semi-open world allows for exploration.
- Quality of life features such as level skips and DIY checkpoints are convenient.
What We Didn’t Like:
- The visuals are dated and the 2D drawings on 3D backgrounds are awkward to look at.
- Story and dialogue is also dated and cringey.
- Awkward camera on either manual or auto can be disorienting.
Verdict: Buy It
Don’t let the retro exterior fool you. Demon Turf, for all its quirks, is a fun and challenging platformer to pick up if you like platformers like Psychonauts 2 and even if you’re looking for a replacement for Balan Wonderworld. Extra points if you like the 90s cartoon aesthetic and style and while I might find the story cringe-inducing, others may find it endearing.
What won me over is how easy this game can be picked up but also how it slowly challenges you to take on its many platforming challenges as well as giving you a variety of levels to play through. Don’t like a level? Skip it! You’re also given the power to choose where your next checkpoint will be, so how easy or hard you can make it for yourself will be your choice, something you don’t really see in similar titles.
I enjoyed Demon Turf more than I thought I would when I first tried it, and it goes to show that you can’t judge the game by its visuals. With a friendly price point, it’s something to pick up while waiting for the more pricey platformers to go down in price if you’re on a budget.
*Demon Turf was reviewed on a PS5 with a review code provided by the publisher.