It doesn’t take very long to see how shallow and monotonous it is playing through Demon’s Crystals. A terrible combination of overly repetitive gameplay, dull level design, and meager multiplayer create a mediocre experience that won’t work for most. Demon’s Crystals is a twin-stick shooter developed by Byte4Games that misses the mark even in its most ideal scenario. Shooting monsters arcade style with three other friends sounds like a fun time, until it stops becoming so from the very beginning. No amount of cutesy anime characters is enough to resurrect this crystalline corpse.
The arcade mode is where you’ll spend most of your time playing Demon’s Crystals, either alone or with up to three other players. Each area you visit consist of eight levels and a boss battle at the end, all of which plays out exactly the same. The camera gazes down to the ground as you eviscerate hordes of monsters and collect crystals around the area to complete a task, which progresses you to the next level.
This can get very repetitive through each stage as you’re killing most of the same enemies for extended periods of time. You’ll have to kill more than 30 enemies in a given stage, followed by collecting a number of crystals, and then be given the same tasks for the next few levels. Nothing exciting added and nothing else to cover up the fact you’re doing the same tasks for a while.
The layouts of each stage change as you go along, but they don’t feel any different than what you play beforehand and offer very little to mix things up. Each of the eight levels in the Graveyard section feel the exact same leading up to the Boss Battle, which is only different because of the larger enemy that appears in front of you. Without it, the level would likely be mistaken for any of the other levels prior to it. You occasionally find variants in destructible objects or traps on the ground later on, but they only offer a minimal difference in the level design that doesn’t impact much.
While roaming around and shooting, dodging enemy projectiles can be difficult because of how easily they blend into the background. Most shooting games have stand out colors and movement patterns that make enemy shots more visible, but not so much in Demon’s Crystals. The times you find yourself dying without warning will be coming from shots that you simply can’t see in front of you.
This can also be said for level traps that you can accidentally walk over without any visual cue of a trap being nearby. It’s very difficult to avoid when you’re constantly having your attention split and have nothing to quickly glance at and see what may harm you.
Multiplayer in Demon’s Crystals is lackluster, with no online connections to take advantage of the game’s six multiplayer game types. If you have three other friends with you locally, then you can try out Survival, Deathmatch, Versus, Crystal Quest, Seize the Large Crystal, and Kill the Enemies multiplayer modes. Each game type involves either killing a set amount of enemies or collecting enough crystals to win the match.
Unfortunately, most if not all of these modes will offer nothing if you don’t have any friends nearby. There isn’t a way to start a game with A.I. bots instead of players, which is a massive disappointment. This makes multiplayer irrelevant with nobody around to play locally, ultimately making it a wasted opportunity with the lack of online support.
Demon’s Crystals is hollow and fetid. Getting together with your friends to shoot down hordes of monsters should be anything but dull and repetitive. The lack of online support and inability to create local matches with A.I. bots make the multiplayer modes irrelevant when playing alone. If you were expecting a fast paced and fun twin-stick shooter, then you’ll be better off looking elsewhere, You won’t find anything but a dead corpse here.
This review was based on a digital review code of Demon’s Crystals for the PlayStation 4, provided by BadLand Games.