Beebz is a young and plucky demon set to overthrow the Demon King; the only problem is that she has to get through the other demon lords first and claim dominion over their turfs. Demon Turf is a 3D platformer with its own unique 2D aesthetic art style. Developed by Fabraz (Slime-San) and published by Playtonic Friends (Yooka-laylee and Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair), Demon Turf shows a lot of promises and expectations are high from Playtonic's first published 3D platformer.
Rather than opting for the sandbox approach, Demon Turf has gone with a mission-based structure à la Super Mario 3D World. While fans of the genre may tend to opt for the former approach, Demon Turf adopting the latter works to its favour here as you're greeted with more concentrated, bite-sized challenges which are perfect for its style and for the on-the-go play style.
Within each mission, you'll be tasked with reaching the end to collect the battery. Sounds easy enough but along the way, you can opt to collect three optional sweets which can be used to upgrade abilities in the Hub area. These sweets are often in places slightly off the beaten track and if you click in and hold the left analogue stick, an arrow will appear that points you in the direction of the nearest one; this avoids aimless wandering without shining a beacon on the collectible and simplifying the process. Lastly, for all you speedrunners out there, each level has a trophy to obtain if you reach the end within the suggested time. I only collected a few throughout my playthrough and nothing happened besides a little applause, so I can't say if they actually amount to anything aside from online bragging rights.
Whilst making your way through the levels, you can opt to put down flags to mark checkpoints. However, you are limited to how many you can place in a single level (three but can be upgraded to four) and this creates a level of strategy and a sense of risk-reward. It's a great spin on the checkpoint system that has been a mainstay in linear platformers and one that I wouldn't mind seeing implemented more often.
Demon Turf has style coming out of its wazoo! It screams late 90s/early 2000s cartoons and its music has a similar funk rock groove that you'd expect from the Splatoon franchise. In addition, the 2D aesthetic choice in a 3D platformer creates its own unique style and dares to do what other entries have not and for that, it has to be respected.
- A fitting mission-based structure
- Plenty to collect
- Set-your-own-checkpoints system
- So much style!
I was hoping that after a few hours in, the 2D models in a 3D platformer would begin to feel more natural and it would then seemlessly blend together. While it does this to an extent, the odd juxtaposition occasionally resulted in mistimed jumps or not being able to correctly judge the distance between Beebz and her surrounding enemies.
The combats zones are nothing short of mind-numbingly infuriating. The hit detection feels wonky; you're often tasked with hitting your opponent with your charged hand blast attack and knocking them into spikes (and this is less than satisfying in so many ways); the camera struggles to keep itself consistent, especially when you're forced to use the hookshot which brings up my other qualm; the Z-targeting is automated, making it all feel horribly primitive and resulted in attacking wrong objects and enemies. I dreaded every combat zone I would see looming in the distance.
Despite my earlier praise about Demon Turf opting for smaller, bite-sized, linear levels, it does act as a detriment to the game's world-building. If one was to look back at the Nintendo 64 classic Banjo-Kazooie, the open sandbox world coupled with a breathing overworld provided that sense of personality and grandeur. On the other side of the coin, the bite-sized levels often felt empty and like obstacle courses, rather than open spaces that had meaning and depth to them.
- Distracting 2D models
- Infuriating combat
- A sense of repetition
Final Score: 5/10
Demon Turf is way too ambitious for its own good. While it lays down the fundamentals of a 3D platformer well, its less than practical choice of art style and wonky combat controls make many aspects of the game a chore. I would have liked to have seen this game scaled down in terms of scope, focussing more on what it does well and not on trying to do too much and shooting itself in the foot.
Thank you for checking out our Demon Turf switch review, thank you to Playtonic Friends (via Renaissance PR) for providing the review code and thank you to our $5 and up Patreon Backers for their ongoing support: