Demon Turf review Nintendo Switch Fabraz Playtonic Friends

Demon Turf is a memorable new indie platformer game from publisher Playtonic Friends and developer Fabraz, the creator of Slime-san and Skellboy. Demon Turf manages to differentiate itself from other platformers with its unique hybrid 2D-3D art style and charming setting. When you combine all this with a brilliant collectathon adventure, you end up with one of the finest platformers available on Nintendo Switch.

Beebz, the main character of Demon Turf

Enter Beebz the Demon

Demon Turf employs a lot of fantastic comedy writing for its narrative. Protagonist Beebz is a young demon with a ton of personality, always ready with sarcastic comments. She is tired of being tormented by the threatening Demon King, so she sets out on an adventure to become the next Demon Queen. The way she interacts with other characters is always a treat, with her reactions being different depending on whom she’s talking to.

Visually, Demon Turf takes 3D Mario-like environments and combines it with Paper Mario-like visual assets, but describing it that simply feels like a disservice, as the distinct combination of 2D and 3D is so satisfying to look at. The environments are gorgeous, such as a post-apocalyptic-style area and a water-themed beach world.

Demon Turf review Nintendo Switch Fabraz Playtonic Friends The Demon King talks to Beebz

Starting a turf war in Demon Turf

As the name implies, the main goal of Demon Turf is to venture across different “turfs” with the intent of defeating each one’s gang leader, which will eventually lead you to the Demon King. Just like with most 3D platformers, to achieve this objective, you will need to collect a plethora of items to aid you in your quest. In Demon Turf, the main collectibles are Batteries, which are obtained after beating one of the game’s many levels. You can complete levels in any order, allowing for a ton of welcome player freedom. After collecting all of the Batteries in a specific turf, you are then able to encounter the area’s boss, which provides a unique challenge in comparison to the traditional levels.

level 2 Demon Turf review Nintendo Switch Fabraz Playtonic Friends

It doesn’t end there, as Demon Turf also features a bunch of optional collectibles. Each level has sweets to collect, which can be exchanged for rewards at the in-game shop. You can use them to unlock dyes to alter Beebz’s appearance or to obtain other extras, such as mods to switch up the gameplay and an extra checkpoint flag. Some 3D platformers decide to conceive needless collectibles to bulk out the road to completion; however, every item you collect in Demon Turf feels meaningful. Likewise, the mods you purchase from said collectibles also feel worthwhile, as they can dramatically improve your core move set.

Throughout the adventure, Beebz will access levels through the turfs themselves; they can be described as miniature hub worlds. It’s just like playing the original Spyro trilogy, where you access gates to enter new locations. However, once you complete a turf and defeat its boss, you can return to a level for additional rewards. This may entail extra platforming challenges, collectibles, and other surprises that make a turf worth revisiting.

Then there’s Forktown, Demon Turf’s main hub world, where you will access the majority of the game’s content. Aside from accessing the variety of turfs, you can also partake in extra activities such as optional quests. For instance, you can have a go at Demon Soccer Golf or some platforming challenges. The amount of content is extremely varied in Demon Turf, and more importantly, all of it is worthwhile. However, my favorite activity has to be the Photo Hunt Gallery, which reminded me of the Pictobox Quest from The Legend of the Zelda: The Wind Waker. Essentially, you travel across the different turfs to scavenge for specific photo opportunities, which becomes addictive really fast.

Forktown, the main hub world

Precise controls and interesting abilities

Platformer controls need to feel precise and provide fluidity. Demon Turf gets most of that right but occasionally misses the landing with a few performance issues. Notably, there are some frame rate problems, and frame rate can drop significantly during boss fights due to their heavy use of particle effects. Additionally, I ran into a few bugs that hindered my progress, such as being stuck in a wall and being consumed by an endless death cycle.

As Beebz is a demon, she is able to transform organically into a bat, squid, and more to adapt to her current situation. For instance, Beebz will automatically become a bat when performing a double jump but will become a squid when traversing underwater. It further enhances the game’s core gameplay mechanics, and the transformations themselves are visually interesting.

Upon entering a boss stage, Beebz will unlock a new ability. For instance, the first area, the Apocadesert, hands the player a grappling hook, adding more verticality to levels while also allowing you to access previously unreachable locations. New moves arrive at a regular and comfortable pace, allowing you to become accustomed to the controls over time. However, my favorite ability has to be “Rollout,” which sees Beebz transform into a snake to travel at high speeds.

Bat transformation

One element that I absolutely loved about Demon Turf is its unique checkpoint system. While most platformers require you to reach a specific milestone in a level to activate a checkpoint, Demon Turf allows you to place checkpoints anywhere within a level. Beebz is able to place four of them within a stage, so it’s important to think about where you would benefit the most from them. For instance, if the level has a tall landscape to traverse, it may be worth placing them incrementally, thus allowing you to warp to different altitudes.

While everything about the game’s platforming is great, the combat is comparatively clunky and unresponsive at times. At the beginning of the game, your main fighting tools will be Beebz’s spin attack and the ability to charge a punch-like attack, to knock enemies off platforms or into obstacles like spikes. Although the spin attack is useful for gaining extra momentum during platforming, it will leave you open to taking damage from enemies. The same goes for the charge attack, as it takes a long time to build up energy, so enemies can easily catch you off guard. Using it feels unsatisfying, as it’s hard to detect whether or not an enemy has actually been hit. You are able to mod Beebz’s abilities via the in-game shop, but those upgrades don’t seem to change the fundamentals of these moves in a significant manner.

Demon Turf review Nintendo Switch Fabraz Playtonic Friends fighting mechanics

Lastly, Demon Turf has a fantastic soundtrack. The funky use of instruments reminded me of Splatoon, as some of the lyrical compositions sound like they could be a part of that franchise. Although, despite their high quality, I would’ve liked to see more original tracks within individual stages, because the game repeats its music quite frequently. It can become somewhat annoying over time.

Overall, Demon Turf is a solid 3D platformer on Nintendo Switch, with a ton of personality and a striking art style. The amount of content present within the game is extraordinary, featuring a plethora of main collectibles, alongside worthwhile side content. Fully completing the game is guaranteed to take a large amount of time, but the variety of turfs to explore will make the quest to defeat the Demon King a memorable one. If you’re after another great platformer on Nintendo Switch, then Demon Turf will definitely scratch that itch.

Release Date: November 4, 2021
No. of Players: 1 player
Category: Platformer
Publisher: Playtonic Friends
Developer: Fabraz

A Nintendo Switch review code for Demon Turf was provided by the publisher.

Our review policy.

Demon Turf

8.5

Demon Turf is another fantastic 3D collectathon platformer, offering a bunch of activities to complete while also rocking a distinct visual style. There are a few technical hiccups, but they don’t distract you from what is an excellent adventure to defeat the Demon King.

Pros
  • Funny writing makes for an engaging adventure
  • A ton of collectibles to hunt, including both mandatory and optional objectives, plus a plethora of side activities to extend that playtime
  • Unique art style that screams personality
  • Great level design
  • Fantastic checkpoint system that often requires you to be strategic
  • Brilliant (though sometimes repetitive) soundtrack
Cons
  • Occasional performance issues
  • Minor bugs
  • Frustrating combat that feels clunky and unresponsive
Jaimie Ditchfield
Freelance Writer. Work seen on Zelda Universe and BackToTheGaming. Studied Games Journalism and PR for three years, and is relentless at spreading his love for The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. The chances are you'll also hear him scream Persona.

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