There was a period of time where if you told me there was a mobile game being ported to a console, I would have laughed and waited for you to start a genuine conversation. Now I find myself playing more and more mobile games, and the idea of playing one on console that originated in a mobile fashion doesn’t seem like a joke. Demon’s Crystals is one such game. Admittedly, playing it on PS4 made me want to download it on my phone.
A simple top-down, twin-stick shooter, the game is very straightforward. Move with the left stick, aim and fire with the right stick (literally your only two controls,) and shoot EVERYTHING in site. If it moves, shoot it. If it doesn’t move, it might later so go ahead and shoot it anyway. In other words, if you’re not shooting, you’re doing it wrong. And with the multitude of power up you can get, you’ll want to shoot just to see the patterns of the shots you can make. Your basic shots are in fact basic, straights lines. You can get shots that shoot 3 ways, shoot 3 ways angled out, shoot in 8 directions, giant missiles, some that swirl vertically along a 3D plane as opposed to the usual back and forth, which is there also, along with others, like shields, health, speed boots, and even ones that butcher your directions if you’re not paying attention.
There are 4 characters, and a leveling system in the campaign mode. The thing is, the only difference I see between the cast members are strictly cosmetic, and leveling them up boosts their overall damage output per shot. Other than that, from what I found, no real reason to switch characters. It does help during multiplayer, that your character, regardless of whatever power ups you may grab, still fire the same color shots as your character, so you can always see who’s putting what on screen. This sounds a bit bland, but your shots not being too distracting helps you navigate around enemies who seem to have legit strategies and spawn placements to constantly trip you up at every turn. There are a good variety of them as well, and change as you progress through the different areas. There are also boss battles, which helps keep the campaign from getting too comfortable. The difficulty of this game, even on normal, can make hardened bullet hell fans unsure of themselves.
Multiplayer is its own beast, and having 6 different modes (outside of the campaign also being multiplayer) gives you plenty of options if you have a buddy or three to join in the fun. No online play, but shareplay works like a dream. The camera pans out pretty far if you wander away from each other, and even shows the boundaries once they are almost hit. I was surprised to see so many competitive multiplayer modes, some involving series of hordes, and a few where you shoot your friends directly. It even takes into account damage values for different power up types, so some of them don’t seem so overwhelming.
$5. That’s pretty cheap for a game of this quality. The graphics aren’t the best, but they’re not bad, and with multiple people spraying pixels everywhere, I experienced absolutely no slow down. The game is extremely challenging, and extremely satisfying when you make progress. Not too many low points to be honest, and if I didn’t know it was previously a mobile-only title, it wouldn’t have crossed my mind in the slightest.
j8slim has been gaming since the 80’s, and a fighting game fanatic since the 90’s. He loves to be competitive, unless it’s at the cost of having a good time. He’s quick to toss out dad jokes and bear puns. Follow him on twitter @j8slim.