Inti Creates is no stranger to the classic Castlevania formula. It knocked it out of the park not once but twice with its Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon spinoffs; and now here we are with Grim Guardians: Demon Purge, a game that has more in common with Symphony of the Night than the classic adventures in the series.
Like the Curse games, Demon Purge is great fun, allowing you to mix it up with not one but two characters as you attempt to snuff out a threat against humanity. The storytelling can be a little light at times, and the voicework is often repetitive (maybe a wee bit too much), but the gameplay and snappy classic visuals are more than enough to indulge your demon-smashing senses.
Into the Netherworld
The game surrounds two sisters who suddenly find themselves sucked into an alternate version of their university, surrounded by demons. Their leader, Kuroka, has some big plans for this world, and it’s up to the duo to stop her in her tracks, while also rescuing the fellow classmates that got trapped alongside them.
What makes Grim Guardians stand out from other Metroidvania-style games is its character- switching tactic. At any time, you can switch between the two sisters, using one’s close-range attacks and another’s ranged gun firing. If one manages to fall in battle, the other can resurrect, bring her back to health (with a little bit of CPR), and then get right back into switching.
While it’s slightly annoying to run out of ammo with one character, the tactic works incredibly well here, keeping boss battles and other encounters surprisingly fresh. Their switch-offs can also come in handy when it comes to reaching inaccessible areas, and, of course, their special attacks are useful in spots.
Best of all, the idea of two heroines also introduces the ability to play in co-op, which is a nice touch and lets a friend come along for the ride. We’re happy this is included.
The game lasts a pretty good while; and there is challenge here if you’re willing to accept it. But this is a great foray into the genre, and proof that Inti Creates definitely knows how to create for it.
A Sharp Looking Monster Killer
Along with gameplay, Inti Creates also packs Grim Guardians with satisfying presentation. The visuals remind us of the 16-bit classics of yore (or Castlevania Chronicles, to some extent), with solid animations, sharp boss designs and some good backdrops. There are some that could use a little sprucing up in terms of detail, but nothing that a patch for the game can’t fix down the road.
As for the sound, there’s excellent music here, paying tribute to the Castlevania games of old. I’m also a big fan of the sound effects, particularly the noises that these heavy beasts make over the course of the game. Alas, the voice samples get worn out quickly. These girls never shut up, as they say mostly the same thing over and over with each attack. There should be an option to make these voices optional, so they don’t wear out their welcome.
Demon Attacking Awaits!
As I said above, Inti Creates knows retro territory such as this like the back of its hand. Grim Guardians: Demon Purge adds to that repertoire, with awesome character-switching abilities, a strong co-op option, and a mostly intact presentation. If you’re new to the developer, this is a nice first try for them. But if you know what they’re about, you’re going to love this little venture.
The Bottom Line:
Another excellent entry in the Metroidvania genre, Grim Guardians ups the ante with co-op and neat new abilities. Just, please, quiet the characters a little bit.
Want a new console to play Grim Guardians on? We’re giving one away!
Leave a Reply