What do you get when a shotgun equipped demon, angel, nun, and death himself all step into an arena? You get a game like Demons with Shotguns from publisher Digerati and developer MindShaft Games. Demons with Shotguns is yet another one of those local multiplayer arena games much like a Towerfall but does it do anything to stand out from the crowd?
Demons with Shotguns has been out on PC for a few years now but console players on PlayStation, Xbox, and Switch can now finally get their hands on it. The game can be played with one to four players but offers local play only so make sure you have some buddies or family members to play with. There are six different characters to play as and the game offers a total of nine different modes you can jump into including Deathmatch, King of the Soul, Soul Reaping, Capture the Soul, and Last Soul Standing. I’m sure that everyone knows what Deathmatch consists of and Capture the Soul is Capture the Flag except you are after a soul instead of a flag. Soul Reaping has you competing for the souls of other players to increase your own while Last Soul Standing gives everyone a single life and lets them compete until one player remains. King of the Soul is like King of the Hill except you are fighting to capture a soul and earn points while possessing it. All of these modes can be played in either a solo format or as a team.
When you don’t want to compete against your friends you can jump into the End of Times mode which lets you play either by yourself or team up with a friend. End of Times is basically a horde mode where you fight wave after wave of enemies that steadily get more difficult as your progress. I like that this mode is here as an extra option should you want to play with a friend or by yourself for a little but I don’t think it’s something that will hold most people’s attention for very long. This is for sure a game meant to be played with friends so solo players won’t find a lot of enjoyment in just this mode alone.
The controls are easy to learn with you moving and jumping around trying to blast the other players or the enemies with your shotgun or take them out with grenades. Your shotgun only has so much ammo and if it runs out you’ll have to make a beeline to the nearest ammo box on the map to get more. Don’t worry as you have a melee ability that can be used as a last resort but it can also be hard to use when your opponent still has ammo left. There are some nice movement mechanics included such as a dash and the ability to use your shotgun as a jump mechanic. You also have a shield that can not only be used as protection but also as a counter move. If you activate it at the moment someone else fires at you then your shield will cause their bullets to bounce back at them. Tarot cards are another gameplay mechanic that can switch your gameplay up on the fly. When you pick one up you’ll gain new abilities some of which can be helpful and some which are not. You may get a set of wings that enable you to fly or you may cause everyone including yourself to start moving in slow motion. You never know what may happen when someone picks a Tarot card up so they help keep the gameplay interesting.
The game uses a pixel art visual style and it looked good enough to me. There is a good amount of variety in the locations you can fight it out in as there are 4 different environments and 10 different arenas for each of them for a total of 40. The game has a lot of blood as you blast your enemies apart with your shotgun and grenades but it’s all pixelated so it isn’t too over the top. The soundtrack is done by VHS Glitch who has crafted a pleasing retro score to listen to. The sound effects were satisfying too especially the sound of the shotgun. Overall the game is pretty good in both the visual and audio areas. Those interested in the trophies will be glad to know it has 16 in total including a Platinum. Some of them require you to finish the different levels in the End of Times mode while others require you to perform certain feats in multiplayer matches. Overall it looks like a very achievable list.
Demons with Shotguns will make a good addition to any player’s library who is a fan of local competitive multiplayer titles. If you’re a solo player though I can’t recommend it based only on the End of Times mode. If the game had bot support for the other modes it would help but sadly it doesn’t. The variety of modes and tarot card system makes this a worthwhile purchase to those with the local friends to play it with though.
*Demons with Shotguns is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Reviewed on a PS4 Pro. Review copy provided by the publisher for review.
Demons with Shotguns$12.99
- Fun, frantic local multiplayer game
- Good assortment of modes and arenas to battle it out in
- Tarot card system helps keep the gameplay varied
- Well done visuals and audio that complement the gameplay
- No bot support and no online multiplayer makes this hard to recommend to solo players