Switch version tested
Review code provided
In the fight between light and dark, a young knight has been tasked with leading the way through monsters and demons. Demon’s Tier+ is a twin-stick shooter with a top-down viewpoint that feels at home on the Nintendo Switch. Among other Gungeon titles, Demon’s Tier is a worthy contender for your wishlist and I’ll do my best to explain why. Join me in the depths of dungeons to collect D Tokens and slay monsters in this roguelike.
The opening sequence prior to the main screen tells a story of a demon king that had been slain in the past, but 1,200 years later monsters have reappeared. Once the game begins a screen appears instructing the player to use the right stick to shoot your weapon then a hoard of enemies appear reminiscent of Smash T.V. I like that the madness begins immediately, foreshadowing what’s yet to come. Kill enemies to collect D tokens for purchasing upgrades. If you die a tombstone will appear and if destroyed will give one chance to obtain previously lost items and I’m a big fan of that. Finding gold can only be done in dungeons and that’s where it must be spent. An interesting part of gameplay is if you doddle around for more than five minutes the immortal reaper will appear and the only option is to run away. Missions must be completed to proceed to the next area. A load of other bits of information are given but it’s standard and one can simply begin without learning this all at once.
The main village is a bustling area of townsfolk, a tavern, potion shop, weapon shop, and the hole leading to the dungeon. I’m enjoying the calm and cute music, it reminds me of Zelda. Hit the pause menu to alter the look of the game with a high-res or CRT effect, as well as adjusting the aspect ratio. I chose the original aspect ratio and no screen effect as I enjoy the simple and satisfying art style. Demon’s Tier has a polished retro look with a very detailed pixelated style that is right up my alley. Buildings look well constructed and the shading illustrates a depth that doesn’t make the game feel flat. Dialogue between characters is humorous, witty, and the anime stylised look is amazing. Swap characters for a fee in the tavern or stick it out with the main knight and upgrade between levels.
Hopping into the dungeon is filled with light combat at first, opposing what we were originally thrown into at the start of the game. Starting out easier is nice because it doesn’t feel like a massive learning curve is ahead and the game is accessible to those not the best at twin-stick shooters. Be warned because the upgrades chosen in between floors will be key in keeping the difficulty down. I’ve faced the first boss with different upgrade setups and one fight took much longer than the other. Customising your fighter is fun to fit your play style and effects the game immensely. Deciding which upgrade also depends on your willingness to collect coin during and after the mission is complete. Weighing your options is the core of the game and picking the best choices is crucial. I’ve blurted obscenities out loud for going too heavy on chance instead of using a rope to get me out of a tight spot. I may have beaten two bosses, gain a ton of D Tokens and loot but all that goes away with each death. Try to recover your lost baggage next run.
If ever I come across a game that does not display over the top huge bosses then it won’t be too soon. I love when the enemy is larger than life and Demon’s Tier bad guys are BIG. Since the game has a new experience each run it’s fitting that the bosses may differ as well. After a few areas are completed you will come to an open area where you’re greeted by our adversary, be it a judiciously large larvae chucking acid, or a monstrous mosquito hurling it’s young. Dwindle down their lengthy health bar to unlock riches and heart pieces. Completing this task will implode our insect adversary and possibly unlock an in-game achievement which is a nice addition for Switch owners.
Demon’s Tier is a great Gungeon game that feels like an accessible gateway to more difficult titles in the genre. It serves as the base of quality every Gungeon game should be at and it feels satisfying when you achieve the win big. Upgrades both in and out of the dungeon are fun to purchase, unlock, and use in different ways each run. This game sticks out in the genre for me and I can easily recommend it.
TBG Score: 8/10
Platform: PC, Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo
Release Date: 09/06/2020
No. of Players: 1-2
Category: RPG, Shooter, Arcade
Developer: Daniel Fernandez Chavez
Download link: eShop