Developed By: COWCAT Catagories: RPG, Roguelike, Dungeon Crawler, Shooter Release Date: 06.09.2020
Demon’s Tier + feels like a game made by people aiming for fun as a general mood. As if the small team all put a bunch of fun ideas they liked in a pot and stirred it together, seemingly lacking in pretension. Because of all of this, the game also feels a bit of an outlier in a modern, very serious indie scene with games trying to give deep or touching stories.
Drop in some JRPG themes with cute busty anime girls, sprinkle a bit of twin stick shooter in there, and top it off with roguelike (more familiar to general audiences as Mystery Dungeon games) mechanics, stir it all up, and what you get is Demon’s Tier +. As a fan of every part of the game’s DNA, it immediately pulled me in and led me to reach the first of the game’s three endings. Roguelikes as a whole are known for being challenging, you go deeper and deeper into dungeons, if you die, you lose everything you just worked hard to get, but you slowly learn more and more of how the game expects you to do. The format for this game is as follows. Five dungeons, three floors each ending with a grotesque, bullet hell esque boss, these combine all count as one tier. In order to complete a tier, you’ll need to do all of this in one sitting, which upon first glance, all seems rather daunting and a bit much to ask of the player.
GOING IN DEEPER
Fortunately, the game allows you to upgrade you stats between each floor from your defense, strength, how far your shots reach, and even how much more your combos are worth. This is all done with gold you find while completing your given tasks. However, this might not even be good enough for later dungeons, which is where another currency you collect called D-Tokens, earned specifically by killing enemies and rescuing hostages in dungeons. D-Tokens are used outside of dungeons for a variety of things such as buying potions to heal, more escape ropes if you think you’re about to fall in battle and don’t want to lose everything, stronger weapons, and even alternate characters. Upgrading between floors helps, but when you get a new weapon or find a new character with different stats than the default, the improvements become greater. A shot that would on average that would do 1 damage and 3 with an upgrade will with a stronger weapon do 3 as the default, and 9 with an upgrade, which definitely can help get through more difficult sections.
OVERCOMING ANY FEAT
While the general goal is the same all around, with getting to the bottom of each Tier, each floor of each dungeons usually will have specific goals in mind. There’s the standard “Defeat all enemies” goal, but there might be a requirement to destroy every bomb you find, or find a Gold Key to open up a large chest containing temporary upgrades, weapon recipes, or hearts to heal you. On the occasion that a player has access to Silver Keys, they can save hostages in a floor if found. While hostages give a large boost of D-Tokens if rescued, they also act as the player’s options (side arms in shoot-em-ups) making your firepower even greater.
On a non gameplay front, when it comes to graphics, the game sports a nice mixed pixel art style much in line with Cowcat’s other games. The character and enemy sprites are super lo-res and “Chibi”, but the boss sprites are often massive and highly detailed, creating a good contrast and making evil seem even more menacing. On the music side, the closest comparison I can make is SNES RPGS, particularly by Squaresoft. While the music is good and fitting for the game, it’s not particularly memorable as I couldn’t really name a song off the top of my head.
If there was one big downside to the game, it’s that what you get is what you get in terms of variety. While characters and weapons all have different stats, everything plays practically the same. I never felt bored playing the game, but this could possibly be an issue for some. While some characters have drastic changes to stats, consider choosing them more because of their designs rather than how their weapons sound.
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*Digital Download Code provided for review purposes.