I like 3D platformers as a concept but, admittedly, I haven’t played a ton of them. Which is why I chose to take a look at Demon Turf for this month’s Humble Choice. It has an interesting ascetic and I thought it would provide a fresh gameplay experience. I played about two and a half hours and managed to get through the first set of levels and the boss fight.
The first thing to note is Demon Turf is a 3D platformer with 2D character models. It’s a weird juxtaposition that works better than you would think and gives the game unique style. The environments and the characters all look a little off kilter and the 2D/3D mix adds to that quite a bit. It’s not distracting or overly jarring but it did feel a little weird until I got used to it.
The game world has a cartoony style and almost a hand sketch look to it. I usually like this look for games but the muted colors throughout the hub world , Forktown, and the first zone make the game look dull and very, very, orange. I did check out the second zone and the color pallet is more what I was expecting with some nice and bright colors.
Demon Turf uses the familiar plaformer formula: A zone with a few levels in it, a few optional items hidden in each level to collect, and once you’ve completed enough levels you can take on the zone boss level to unlock the next zone. The levels are short but well designed. It’s fun hunting around for the optional sweets on each level before finishing it. They’re also short, at least in the first zone, which makes this perfect for the Steam Deck or as something to play when you don’t have a ton of time.
The mechanic that I’ve found the most interesting so far is the ability to place your own checkpoints. You’re given four checkpoint flags on each level to wherever you’d like, barring some seemingly arbitrary restricted zones. Most of the levels I’ve played only needed one or two flags placed to get through so there’s a few I’ve used in particularly tricky areas. The only downside is, once placed, they can’t be picked back up but it’s still a cool feature.
If there’s one thing that really shines in Demon Turf it’s the soundtrack. It’s weird and quirky but fits the whole theme of the game perfectly. It’s also feels like a tribute to some older 3D platformer soundtracks as well.
It’s worth mentioning that there is an alternative gameplay mode called the Tower which seems to take place after the main campaign but can be played at any time. In this mode, Beebz is hexed by the Jester an loses all of her powers. She has to take on a 50 floor tower where every few floors she gets some of her power back like double jumping and placing checkpoints. I tried the first few floors and with only a single jump it was challenging. It offers a fair bit more content if you want to put your platforming skills to the test.
So is Demon Turf worth picking up March’s Humble choice for? I definitely think so. It’s a solid game that’s fun to play in short bursts. It might not be the most amazing 3D platformer experience you can have but it does 3D platforming very well, has some great level design, and a lot of content. It’s regularly priced at $24.99 so Humble Choice’s $12.99 price tag is a nice 50% discount as well.