An evil demon summons hordes of monsters in order to destroy humanity. A warrior stops him and all is well. Then 1200 years pass and he rises again to do the same thing. A set of heroes decide to stop him. Demon’s Tier+ uses procedurally generated dungeons. You attack using a twin-stick shooting mechanic that is always a projectile, even if you have a sword. You lose your main currency and stat upgrades when you perish, but if an escape rope is used you’re able to keep the currency. You use it in town to buy new characters, weapons, and items. While the game is fairly short, there are various tiers of difficulty (up to three) which is what the title references. Will you be able to stop this demonic outbreak and save humanity?
Here’s what I liked:
Your Path is Your Own — Deciding how to tackle the playthrough of the dungeons is all up to you. There are several characters to earn and use, all of whom have various starting stats. As you complete areas, you will be given the opportunity to purchase upgrades. You can mix it up with a lot of variations. There are many cool weapon choices too, as long as you have the means to get them. Overall, it’s about gaining the currency (killing enemies) and spending it how you see fit. While there is some luck involved, completing the game relies heavily on the choices in stats and what you choose to spend the currency on. Luckily it isn’t that difficult to understand and soon you’ll be speeding through the levels like a pro.
Risks vs Rewards — With the element of “lose everything”, you sometimes need to decide if it’s better to leave while you’re ahead. An escape rope can be used to flee the dungeon so that you can spend your currency. Times where you’re low on life means you should probably leave. However, you could decide to chance it to bring home more rewards. I liked having the tense situation where I was unsure if I could survive. Hitting the Y button quickly to decide if it was worth a pricey potion or to just abandon the mission while I could. Luckily, if you die you can go get your stuff back at your grave. You only have one chance to do this and must make it to the same level you died. This can be brutal if you got far. Overall, it made the roguelike aspect quite enjoyable.
Boss Battles — I found the most entertaining part of the game to be the boss battles. Though usually fairly easy, there are some good dodging skills you will need to complete them. Always running and using your block power at just the right time will be needed for success. I never got bored even after facing them numerous times. It’s interesting how their difficulty varies slightly depending on your choice of upgrades, character, and your weapon. Also, saving the prisoners that are on a few levels brings them with you to the fight, so you can be pleased when you do tons of damage. I also really liked how they all felt very different to fight. There were a few stressful times where lots of bullets were shooting in all directions, making it feel like you’re in a shmup based genre.
Here’s what I didn’t like:
Time to Go — Time is sometimes cut short by the reaper. This enemy will slowly glide towards you and it cannot be killed. I had never died from it, but I was forced to leave the level earlier than desired. There were still loot and chests to open, which means I had ot miss out on some possible upgrades. I’m didn’t really like the mechanic, but really have no other suggestions on what could make it better. It absolutely does not ruin the game nor give any reason to dislike playing, but it’s just something that bugged me.
It’s a Trap! — The flow of battle is often interrupted by nasty surprises. Explosive barrels can get annoying since sometimes they are among breakables and treasures. Hitting them on accident while nearby can be devastating to your health. Later on, you’ll be stabbed with spikes on the ground. These are really annoying because though they can be seen. There can be a lot going on and you’ll walk into a series of them. These can really be annoying to encounter and are not used sparingly. The absolute worst is in the Hell-looking level where there’s fire everywhere. A mound of something lays on the ground and can hurt you. I still have no clue what they are, just that this thing damages you if you walk on it. They are small and blend in quite well with the environment. It blocks your path at times too, which is pretty annoying. I don’t mind the occasional trap, but they seemed a bit over the top at times.
Slow Beginnings, Quick Endings — There’s a bit of a weird pace in this game. You start out dying a decent amount, unsure really of what’s going on. You might not even realize you can use a rope to escape in order to keep your hard-earned points. I finally realized this after numerous runs. Suddenly I was able to buy a new character (the archer), get a new weapon for him, then it was smooth sailing from there. From not being able to pass more than a couple of bosses to completing the game in one run. Then with the newly-unlocked legendary character, I was able to steamroll through and buy all characters and was on Tier 3 before I knew it. There wasn’t much “middle ground” to cover. I wish it had me go through with each character so I could experience more of the game and the weapons. After unlocking a legendary character, there’s really no reason to use any other class nor buy any upgraded weapons. I can’t imagine I was just “that good” to complete everything the game had to offer so fast.
I haven’t played any of the other Diabolical Mind trilogy. It was good enough to pique my interest in those titles. My biggest concern was how short the experience was. There seems like a lot of upgrades and characters I didn’t get a chance to experience because it was just too easy after getting the hang of things. It’s not a bad thing to want more of something, but it’s not great when you don’t feel you got enough to begin with. I will probably go back and complete the third tier just to get my last achievement, but after that there isn’t much of a point in playing since unlocking the legendary character after tier 1 essentially negates all other cool aspects of the game. This might be one of the few times I felt disappointed after becoming overpowered early on in a game. Still, it’s a decent little dungeon crawler that should satisfy a good population of people.
Score: Reader’s Choice
Demon’s Tier+ was published by Cowcat and developed by Cowcat/Diabolical Mind on Xbox One. It was released on June 10, 2019, for $9.99. A copy was provided for review purposes.