Examining the World of Demons
Apple is making a concerted effort to attract gamers to its Apple Arcade subscription service, which is essentially the same as Xbox Game Pass for iOS devices. The difference, however, is that there are legitimate Apple Arcade exclusives that players can only access by signing up, which have proven to be relatively high-profile mobile games. Apple has recently added a number of new exclusive titles to Apple Arcade, with one of the most notable additions being World of Demons from PlatinumGames. World of Demons is a hack-and-slash action game where players battle demons called Oni and spirits called Yokai as four different samurai characters. The game successfully translates the action style of Platinum’s gameplay to a touchscreen, with players able to unleash different attacks depending on how quickly they tap the touchscreen and how long between every tap. For example, if players tap once and then quickly tap and hold, they will use a different attack than if they did two quick taps and a hold. World of Demons’ combat is simple on the surface, but has a ton of depth to it. Players will get by with “button mashing,” but they’ll have more fun if they learn the various combos and master the dodge mechanic. Similar to other PlatinumGames titles like Bayonetta, World of Demons rewards players for taking evasion before an enemy attack by boosting their special meter and allowing them to to get free and powerful hits. While the lavish combat should be instantly familiar to Bayonetta fans, World of Demons also takes clear inspiration from Okami. Okami was developed by Capcom’s now-defunct Clover Studio, with many of the core talents from that studio continuing to develop PlatinumGames. World of Demons uses an Okami-like cel-shaded art style, as well as some music and sound effects that seem lifted directly from the 2006 classic. World of Demons looks great when playing on an iPad and the main combat is entertaining enough. The big problem with the game, however, is that it zeroes in on combat and does nothing else. Each stage is a linear progression from one battle to the next. As fun as World of Demons’ combat is, it can also get old quickly, and thus the game is best played in short bursts. The lack of variety can make World of Demons feel repetitive before too long, with players having experienced everything the game has to offer by the end of Chapter 1. The levels sometimes have simple puzzles to complete, but they don’t break the combat or add to the game in any meaningful way. For example, a puzzle might be figuring out how to access a chest sitting on top of a gate. The solution is to shoot it with a Yokai spirit with a ranged attack, but trying to do some of the precise movements required to do this can be frustrating since the game likes to swipe the cursor around. Collecting and using Yokai in the game world and battles are the other main gameplay mechanics in World of Demons. World of Demons has over 100 Yokai to collect, and each has its own unique appearance and abilities. This Pokemon-style monster collecting is an interesting idea and it’s fun to see all the monster designs, but when it comes to actually using them in battle, Yokai fails at all of that. Each samurai character player has the ability to keep two Yokai in their deck at all times, while also collecting single-use Yokai throughout the stage. While Yokai have different moves, they all boil down to a tap on their icon or “button mash” tap. Collecting Yokai can be an entertaining endeavor, but using them in battle isn’t very exciting. At its core, there’s still a lot to like about World of Demons’ combat system despite its repetitive nature, but there’s definitely room for improvement. In particular, the camera needs work, as it often positions itself in a way where players can’t clearly see what they’re fighting, and the lock-on system doesn’t help matters. Players are able to manually switch between targets, but they probably don’t do it on purpose while trying to move their character around the battlefield. The lock-on system also has an annoying habit of fixing things that players may not need to worry about, such as environmental hazards or breakable boxes. Because of these issues, those trying to shoot World of Demons probably won’t have a good time, but those who play in short bursts will avoid getting burned out in combat and will probably enjoy themselves more. World of Demons also deserves credit for being packed with content, with players having a decently long story mode to complete (for a mobile game), plenty of side quests to beat, plenty of difficulty levels , and achievements to unlock. World of Demons also has no microtransactions, so unlike many other mobile games, none of its content is trapped behind an annoying paywall. Anyone with an Apple Arcade subscription can play everything World of Demons has to offer, and while it’s not without its flaws, the core gameplay can still be fun. World of Demons’ progression system also helps to keep players engaged. Each of the four samurai characters available to players in the game has its own level, along with specific weapons that only they can use. Weapons have elements attached to them, like all yokai in the World of Demons. This rock-paper-scissors mechanic also harkens back to Pokemon inspiration, and adds a nice layer of strategy to the game that makes it worth investing gold and gems in upgrading specific weapons and yokai. As World of Demons players hack and slash their way through the game, they’ll experience a pretty engaging story along the way. The dialogue between the main characters and the yokai is often funny (and sometimes disturbing), and even though it’s all told through static cutscenes, the plot itself has some interesting points. -lovely twists and turns. The downside is that sometimes there’s a disconnect between what’s happening in the story and what’s happening gameplay-wise. For example, there is a point in the story where one of the playable characters leaves the party. The story then becomes focused on reuniting this character and making changes, but players are still able to play as them in missions as if they never left. It severely hurts the impact of something it would otherwise have, and it robs the story of one of its more emotional moments. However, it’s safe to say that most people playing World of Demons aren’t cut out for deep storytelling anyway. Anyone wanting a basic hack-and-slash game with great graphics for their iOS devices can’t go wrong with World of Demons on Apple Arcade, though fans should note that it falls short of PlatinumGames’ best efforts . World of Demons is out now, exclusively for Apple Arcade.