Two more indie titles to shine our spotlight on. This week we’re covering Demon’s Tier+ for the PlayStation Vita and Robozarro for the PS4.
Demon’s Tier+ (without the +) was released on Steam first and recently received a console conversion through Cowcat, who previously brought us Xenon Valkyrie+ and Riddled Corpses EX on the Vita as well. It’s taken a while for the game to appear on the Vita in the EU region, mostly because the release process for Sony’s handheld was a bit delayed in recent months due to the coronavirus. It’s finally here though, and if you enjoyed Cowcat’s previous releases for the Vita this one should also be of interest.
The game has quite a bit of narrative, firmly grounded in the fantasy genre. It revolves around an aging and blind king who is not exactly beloved among his peers, but gets granted the opportunity to become immortal and receive immense power in exchange for the blood of his granddaughter. Yeah, not a nice guy. In addition to the perk of immortality, the exchange also turns him into a demon – and a thousand years later a pit opens up in the ground urging would-be heroes to explore the darkness that lies within.
The narrative jumps back and forth in time as you progress, though the gameplay itself only takes place in the present. You take a hero down into the first of four worlds, each one ending with a boss fight. If you get through it all, you can do it again but at a harder difficulty level (called a tier in this game), and you beat the game once you get past tier 3.
The gameplay is a mix of twin stick shooters and roguelike dungeon crawlers, mashed together to encourage fast paced play due to a time limit that sends an immortal reaper after you once it expires. You can unlock companions to join you, have new and more powerful weapons crafted and boost your stats in between levels.
If you die in battle, you can regain your points if you reach your tomb during the next playthrough, but you lose all of your stats and money. You also have the option to escape prior to death with a magic rope to keep your points intact, but you still lose your stats and will have to navigate through all of the dungeons once more. While the game is intuitive and fun, this leads to quite a bit of repetitiveness – especially once the challenge level ramps up in the later tiers. Level layouts are randomly generated, but what doesn’t help is that level goals repeat themselves and aren’t too exciting (kill all enemies, open all chests, that kind of thing).
What’s nice to note is that the cross-buy function of Demon’s Tier gets you access to the PS4 version as well, which I believe supports local cooperative play. Without it, the Vita version is still a solid game in its genre, though you need to be ready for its repetitive nature.
Yet another retro-inspired game from Eastasiasoft, Robozarro is out now for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. It was released by developer Frozen Flame Interactive earlier for PCs, so perhaps the name’s familiar because of that. We played the PlayStation 4 version of this robot adventure.
Robozarro takes place in a version of Los Angeles dubbed Mech Angeles, in a world in which robots rule and have formed their own society. You’re 0-Ramatron, a robot going about his business as you get thrust into an adventure with your little flying bot B0-3, who also serves as a guide who urges you on as you collect junk, buy gear and supplies and fight huge bosses.
It’s a intriguing premise with fun characters and the 2D perspective and retro 16-bit graphics set against a futuristic background reminded me a little of Flashback, so I was hoping for a fun narrative-driven adventure with my new robot buddies. The gameplay here is a more formulaic kind of action platformer with physics elements though, with controls that work against it more than they should.
Although the regular jumping controls work fine, they feel a bit floaty and 0-Ramatron doesn’t feel like the most nimble/agile robot out there. He has a nice arsenal of tools at his disposal once he unlocks them though, ranging from a grapple gun that lets you hoist yourself up in the air to a Half Life 2-inspired gravity gun that’s fun to play with. The downside, however, is that you spend way too much time changing between the various tools and weapons, and having to access the corresponding dial menu takes the flow out of the game.
There is, however, plenty of content past the point where you unlock the game’s platinum trophy. The campaign itself runs for about three to four hours, which is good value for a budget title. There’s post-game content as well, with time trials and leaderboards to tackle. The awkward controls made the game drag a little bit towards its second half, but I had fun on my way to the easy platinum trophy.