Demoniaca: Everlasting Night – Nintendo Switch Review

Overview – developed by AKI and eastasiasoft, with publishing handled by EAS, Demoniaca: Everlasting Night is a Castlevania style action adventure, with a unique combat system set in a dark gothic world. Take on the horrors of the corrupted Tower of Babel, defeating the lords and their minions in order to wreak vengeance on those who caused you pain. This title is available on all console platforms, links to each version of the game will be at the bottom of this review.

Disclaimer: before I get into the review, I would like to thank eastasiasoft for providing the copy of Demoniaca Everlasting Night that was used for this piece. The provision of this title has not influenced the contents of this review, all thoughts and opinions contained within are my own.

Mature Content Warning: this title has been rated Mature, this is due to graphic violence, blood and gore, sexual themes and nudity being present. If you are under the recommended age for this title or are uncomfortable with the content present, please proceed at your own discretion.

Now with the introductions out of the way, let’s get into the review. I will be skipping the story segment as I feel it should be experienced first-hand, so I will be moving directly into gameplay. I will only be covering the basic gameplay mechanics of the game as to not spoil the surprises that this game has for players.

Gameplay – Demoniaca: Everlasting Night is a gothic Metroidvania title, with a strong emphasis on the Castlevania part. The game takes place within the confines of a large castle called the Tower of Babel, filled with horrific monsters, traps to avoid and secrets to uncover. Each area that the player must traverse is filled with different paths to explore, hidden treasures to collect and NPC characters to interact with.

Being an action title with an emphasis on exploration, there is a lot of fast paced movement and action that occurs as the player moves through the different spaces. This requires intricate platforming, with a lot of movement and jumping between platforms. Early in the game, the only option for maneuvering from point to point relies on the standard jump and a wall jump. When the player jumps at a wall, they will automatically latch on to it for a moment before letting go or jumping to the next.

Some of the platforming can be frustrating, with the possibility to miss a jump by a hair, leading to a sudden fall and potentially taking damage from hazards/enemies. This is a frustration that can be alleviated later, but it can be an irritating when trying to get to pass obstacles and reach different areas. Luckily, more options will be made available as the game progresses, making it easier to travel through the tower.

As the player explores the different areas of the tower, they will encounter NPC characters that will progress the story via dialogue and creatures that will attack when the player gets close to them. To fight back against these monsters, there is a unique combat system that gives this title its own identity. Rather than use a traditional battle system with swords or whips, there is a complex fighting system where the player has a light and heavy punch/kick that they can use.

This system allows for a much more free flowing combat experience, where combos and strategy come into play when fighting the different monsters. When starting the game initially, there is a limited moveset that the player has access to, with standard attacks and little in terms of special moves. However, as progress is made new moves and abilities will be unlocked, expanding the arsenal of attacks that can be used to fight the hordes of the damned.

The standard attacks will be the most useful tools for the player, as there is a power gauge that regulates the use of special attacks, with each skill requiring a different amount of energy. The energy to perform special attacks can be replenished in several ways, but it will be filled most often by dealing damage to enemies or naturally over time. It is important to monitor the energy meter, as some obstacles require specific skills to bypass, which can slow the player down.

Since this is a Metroidvania title, there is an RPG style leveling system that allows the player to get stronger over time by defeating enemies. Each time an enemy is defeated, experience is gained which will level the player up at specific milestones, increasing the overall stats like health and energy. As well as the leveling mechanic, there is also an item system that lets players equip different gear to boost their stats and recovery items.

Items can be dropped by enemies, treasure chests and even bought from vending machines that us a currency called souls. These souls are dropped by enemies and environmental objects when destroyed, adding to the total that the player holds. The also fill a meter on screen, that activates a special powered up state when filled, bestowing additional power upon the player for a limited time. But the power-up isn’t the only status effect in this game, as there are several negative effects that can occur.

During combat with enemies and from the environment itself, there are negative effects that can affect the player, which include turning the player to stone and poisoning them. These effects can be devastating as petrification leaves the player open to attack and poisoning can drain health during tense sections. If the player is hit by one of these penalties, death can occur quickly and dying can be a significant setback at any time.

While in the tower, there are save points scattered through each area that allow the player to record their progress during the game, refreshing the health and energy of the player at the same time. Upon death, the player will usually be returned the most recent save. However, if the player has moved to a new area before saving, they will be sent back to the start of that zone. Both of these scenarios can lead to a significant amount of time loss, which makes saving the game regularly very important.

At specific points there are boss enemies for the player to fight, separated into two types, main and sub bosses. The main bosses are the story focused enemies that must be defeated in order to progress the game, engaging the player in challenging large scale battles, usually with multiple attack patterns. The sub-boss enemies are very different, as they are unique enemies that can only be battled when the player is strong enough, making them an optional challenge.

The last part of the gameplay is the support/co-op system that is available in this title. During the course of the game, the player is able to unlock a demon familiar, which will assist in combat by taking damage and attacking from a distance. When playing alone, this is fully controlled by the system itself, but if the player wants to work with another, there is a co-op mode where player 2 can control the demon, but be aware that it can die so do not rely on it too much.

Now with the core gameplay covered, I will be moving into the other aspects of the game, starting with the controls.

Controls – this release has a unique control layout, with all attacks tied to the face buttons and the jump/guard buttons tied to the triggers. The movement is tied to the left thumbstick and d-pad, with inventory and map inputs bound to the front shoulders. The inputs are smooth and intuitive for the most part, with almost zero delay when trying to perform combo attacks and multiple wall jumps. This title plays well with all controllers, but is best played with the Retro-Bit Sega Saturn/Genesis controllers.

Difficulty – this is a challenging title when played on the classic difficulty (there is an easy option focused on story over challenge). The diversity of enemy types and hazards present mesh well with the combat, making for a tough but fair challenge. Unfortunately, one of the setbacks for this release is the potential for significant time loss upon death, due to the limited save points scattered through the game. However, all of these elements combine well to create a unique experience, pushing players to their limits.

Presentation – Demoniaca has a visual style reminiscent of the classic Castlevania titles on the PlayStation and Game Boy Advance, with detailed pixel art sprites and expressive animations. The environments are designed with the gothic aesthetic present throughout, creating an atmospheric world enhanced further by the cutscene interactions. There is a limited use of voice acting, alongside a soundtrack that uses a mix of styles to create an exciting and engaging overall product.

Final Thoughts – I went into this title expecting another Symphony of the Night clone, but I was pleasantly surprised. While this game does have all the trappings of its inspiration, it manages to set itself apart with an engaging story to experience, combat that has a lot of depth to it and well implemented world design. But that doesn’t mean that the game is flawless, it does unfortunately have some minor issues that impact the experience.

The difficulty of the standard mode can be absolutely brutal, punishing the player for any mistake made, which isn’t helped by the limited save points and instances of overly difficult platforming. However, even with these slight flaws to the product, I can recommend this release to those who are looking for a unique Metroidvania experience. There are even references to the inspirations of this release, with the line “your words are as empty as your soul! Mankind ill needs a savior such as you” appearing early on.

In the end, I give Demoniaca: Everlasting Night a final score of 4/5. This game may feel like a Symphony of the Night clone on the surface, but the depth of the gameplay, the world building and the overall experience on offer allows this release to stand out as its own unique thing. If you want to check this game out for yourself, links to each version of the game will be available below.

Link to Nintendo Switch version (HERE)

Link to PlayStation 4/5 version (HERE)

Link to Xbox One/Series version (HERE)

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