HomeReviews3/5 ReviewDemons of Asteborg Review

Demons of Asteborg Review

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So, what have we here then? Is it a sprawling open world RPG with bleeding edge graphics?

Well, no. Demons of Asteborg is, according to the blurb on the Xbox Store page, “A brand new adventure straight out of the 16-bit era” – and that pretty much sums up what we are about to see. 

There isn’t a great deal to attract the tourists to Asteborg, that is for sure. The land appears to have fallen prey to demons, and obviously where there are demons there is a need for a demon slayer. Luckily, there is a hero waiting in the wings for his chance to kick all kinds of demon ass.

Demons of Asteborg review 3
An adventure awaits in Demons of Asteborg

And he comes with a masculine, heroic name… Gareth. Yes, Gareth, a butch sword swinging bloke is ready and willing to go and kill all the enemies, beat all the bosses and save the world from the clutches of an evil blue demon called Zadimus. But can Gareth prevail and save the day? Well, that’s down to you, your thumbs and your patience…

The presentation of Demons of Asteborg is straight out of the 16-bit era. Every level is a side scrolling platform type affair, generally with the need to make our way from the left to the right of the screen. That is broken up every so often by some bosses that need beating. It is nothing we haven’t seen about a million times before, but for the most part it works very well. 

The creatures and NPCs are well realised, the graphics are crisp and it is easy to see what is going on at all times, so that is a plus. The sound effects and music are also nicely done, with battle and magic effects all working well. While there are no voice overs, the story and conversations are presented in nice clear text windows, so all in all, there are few complaints in terms of the presentation side of things. But how about the gameplay?

Well, the news here is reasonable too. There are parts of Demons of Asteborg that frustrate (I’ll go through those later), but the action on offer is very much that of a standard action platformer, with the usual sword swinging and jumping about that you would expect. Think a low rent Castlevania and you won’t be a million miles off. 

Demons of Asteborg review 1
Gareth needs your help

Of course, any hero worth his salt won’t only have to rely on a sword arm to win. In fact, that is actually one of the interesting mechanics at play, as the magic that you can learn varies from stage to stage. In the first level, you can learn a spell that seems to fire a magic arrow that can cut ropes, whilst in the second it is a spell that can reflect projectiles, and so on and so forth. Each spell is unique to each level, as there is no storing these spells to use again. And the use of the spell will make the passage through the level, and indeed the boss fight at the end, a bit easier. Learning to use each spell does add a bit of fun to the process, and this helps to keep pushing us forward to the end of the game. 

Each level of Demons of Asteborg plays as a self contained location, beating the previous level will unlock the next. And in between each pops up a shop where you can use the gold that your fallen foes drop to purchase upgrades. Having upgrades is a big plus, as the standard Gareth is a bit weedy and ineffectual, so getting increasingly buff can only be a good thing. 

But it now feels like we need that chat about the things in Demons of Asteborg which aren’t quite so good. Luckily, the list isn’t too long. 

The first thing that is rubbish is the save system. Maybe I’m getting soft in my old age, but with modern day games I sort of expect the game to remember where I am up to – but Demons of Asteborg doesn’t. Imagine my joy when I reached the first boss, had to go to work, and returned that evening to carry on only to find that I had to take in the whole first level again. And this carries on through the whole game, so if you are going to stop playing, finishing a level first is my strong advice. 

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Head forth, sword in hand…

There are also issues with Gareth falling through platforms that you would swear were completely solid, and when these lead to deaths and the restarting of a whole section, it does get a little galling. 

But on the whole, Demons of Asteborg is decent enough. There does seem to have been a spate of games landing on Xbox recently that all very much feel like middle of the road entities, and that is the case again here. There are good points, as well as a few bad points, but Demons of Asteborg mostly levels to something mid-range. 

If you fancy a retro styled action platform game, you’re not short of choice, and Demons of Asteborg should be another to add to the list. 

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Interesting magic system
  • Action is okay
Cons:
  • Save system is a let down
  • Issues with falling through platforms
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, PixelHeart
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One
  • Release date and price - 23 February 2024 | £8.29
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Interesting magic system</li> <li>Action is okay</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>Save system is a let down</li> <li>Issues with falling through platforms</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, PixelHeart</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One <li>Release date and price - 23 February 2024 | £8.29</li> </ul>Demons of Asteborg Review
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