IGMC Review: Daemon Detective: Gaiden

in Games

Game: Daemon Detective: Gaiden by Yal

Summary: Daemon Detective is a great platformer crying out for controller support.

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2014 IGMC Winner – Best Non-RPG (1st Place!)

Anyone with fond memories of classic NES platformers will feel some intense déjà vu with Daemon Detective, a highly polished and fun retro experience that justifiably impressed the IGMC judges. The debt the game owes to those old gems (particularly Super Mario Bros.) is obvious and it’s amazing just how well the game’s art captures that 8-bit aesthetic. The fact that it was made in a month is even more surprising.

Like Mario without a mushroom, your character is quite vulnerable when you begin a level in this game. You can jump on a few enemies, but move through the areas too hastily and you’ll be in trouble after one hit. There are two power-ups you can find, one that gives you fireballs and another that gives a Simon Belmont-esque whip. Even with these powers and with infinite lives (phew!) you’ll still need to tread carefully. With all this in mind, the boss battles are shockingly different from the rest of the game. Your character assumes a “Henshin form” and flies through the air, blasting energy at the demonic enemy you’re up against. It’s a big surprise, but a welcome one – these boss fights are absolutely outstanding.

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It never fails. You’re trying to walk home from the museum and there’s a minotaur in the way.

The story is complete nonsense – something about paranormal investigators pursuing demonic art thieves through various dimensions – but you can get away with that in a game like this. The more compelling story is going to be the player’s fight against the increasingly difficult levels. The first few stages are no problem, but this baby starts to get tough around the second world. I’ll take this opportunity to point out the only major problem I have with Daemonit desperately needs controller support.

There are several options in the main menu for keyboard configurations, but it’s hard to imagine any of them helping much in the really tough spots. The games that inspired this used a controller and this one needs it too. It makes sense that the creators couldn’t make this happen within the time limit, and of course there are programs out there like JoyToKey that can take care of this for you, but I hope official controller support is added at some point.

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Thanks, NSA, now everyone thinks they can do it!

Given the enduring popularity of games that conjure up that retro experience, Daemon could have a big future if the creators stick with it. For now, anyone who wants to take a trip down memory lane owes it to themselves to check it out. What did you all think? How was your experience with the keyboard controls? Which character do you think has the best abilities? Tell us in the comments!

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