I really, really love it when something inspiring is done in the Metroidvania open-world genre. Whether it’s putting a loving twist on a Mexican theme like the Guacamelee! games have (good ol’ Drinkbox!), or doing something fun with sci-fi through the Axiom Verge saga. It’s terrific when they’re done right. However, what happens when a game in the genre is done wrong like Demoniaca: Everlasting Night?
The latest from EastAsiaSoft has an inspired enough set-up, one similar in tone to other Gothic adventures. It even has a great story revolving around the corrupted Tower of Babel, and how you have to fight through a number of demons, using their own powers against them. So, what can go wrong with a premise like this? Sadly, everything.
Why’s the Combat So Slow?
When you first start off with the femme fatale, you’re guiding in Demoniaca (by the way, I mispronounced this a number of times and kept calling it “Demonica,” thinking her name was Monica)and you start with very little. However, an interesting character named Boxman (with a box on his hand) grants you new abilities. These include strong punches, as well as other moves.
Sound good? Well, there’s a problem: the execution. The thing about Demoniaca is that the moves come off very slowly as if there’s a timing issue. You’ll even get hit by the smallest of enemies, it’s so frustrating. Even if you think you’ve gotten used to something, the cheap hits just keep on coming.
That’s not even counting the boss battles, which are even more frustrating. You have to time your attacks even better to avoid getting hit, and even then you still fail. What’s more, the bosses are so overpowered that you’ll want to give up before you even take away one of their health bars. Yes, they have multiple health bars compared to your meager, small one. Real fair, right?
Can Anything Save You In Demoniaca? Well…
There’s a decent Soulslink system where you can equip your character with better abilities, but this is flawed too as the stat screen makes it impossible to equip anything. Even if you have something you think can do more damage to bosses, it takes forever to even set it up. One would think you just select a fireball and then, boom, you can throw a fireball. Nope, here you got to go through screens to even partially get that done. Even then, you’re still dead way too quick.
Throw in poor platforming skills (you can’t even jump up walls properly), bland combat, an uninformative tutorial system, and a horrendous difficulty setting that’s beyond even Elden Ring, it’s hard to tell who Demoniaca is for.
A Decent Presentation, But Could Use Cleaning Up
Where Demoniaca (Demonica?) gets things right is with its presentation. The game is a pretty good looking title, reminiscent of the olden days of Symphony of the Night. While your character’s animation is a bit odd, the rest of the game looks pretty good. There’s something about its dark, Gothic theme that stands out, and some of the art shows inspiration. Heck, I’m sure our own Harlechan would kill to have some of these statues in her house.
Unfortunately, there are some flaws to the level design, mainly the lack of save rooms. Even if you’re good enough to make some level of progress, reaching one of these is damn near impossible. This is something that we could’ve used more of, honestly. Maybe EastAsiaSoft can patch them in? Please?
Aside from that, the rock soundtrack is terrific. It fits the theme of the game just about perfectly, so even when you die, at least you can go out to an epic soundtrack. The problem is how much of it you can take since you perish so damn much. Oof.
So, here’s the thing. Demoniaca’s name didn’t bother me. Demoniaca’s visuals didn’t bother me. Demoniaca’s sound didn’t bother me. All of these are spot on and really deserve to be in a better game. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen here. Between slippery, unresponsive and unbalanced gameplay, horrendously tough boss fights and no real sense of reason to stick around, this is one demon you can do simply do without. Shame, it deserved better.
VIBE Rating: 4/10
Streamer and Cosplay Enthusiast