June 12, 2015 3:16 AM | Sean Flint
As someone who is always looking for new games to add to my local multiplayer lineup, it always excites me to see new entries into the genre. With such fantastic games to choose from such as Gang Beasts, Duck Game, Towerfall: Ascension, and others, it is definitely not easy to break into the genre and make a name for yourself. With this in mind, it will be interesting to see how Demons with Shotguns manages in such a competitive genre. Demons with Shotguns is the newest entry into my rotation, and is a fast-paced arena shooter with some interesting mechanics.
Demons with Shotguns supports anywhere from 2-4 players, but as always the more players there are, the more fun the game becomes. I've never particularly found 1 vs. 1 gameplay to be all that compelling in local multiplayer games, although there are a few exceptions. Featuring multiple game modes, environments, and characters, Demons with Shotguns looks to break into a competitive genre and make a name for itself.
The game features six playable characters at this stage in development. Players can choose from the preacher, the demon, the heavenless angel, the antichrist deceiver, the nun, or death. Each character is presented in a simple pixel-art style, which I must admit does not necessarily look all that fantastic. However, with the art style aside, it is very nice to have a good variety of characters to choose from. Local multiplayer games are always enhanced by a large character variety, and since Demons with Shotguns is only releasing into Early Access, I'm sure we can expect an even larger roster by the time it reaches full release.
Demons with Shotguns currently features seven game modes, with a few that are unique to the game. While classics such as deathmatch, team deathmatch, and capture the soul are in the game, there are a few modes that sound quite compelling. One of the more interesting modes being soul reaping, which is a mode in which players fight to increase their pool of souls by draining other players of their souls. Last Soul Standing is a mode that only gives players one life, and pits them against each other in a round-based format.
In terms of the game's arena variety, there are a few interesting environments that you'll find yourself battling in. One of the arenas pits you against each other on a city building's rooftop, while other maps showcase the fiery pits of hell. It's nice to see a decent amount of variety in terms of the levels, and I think there is a fantastic amount of variety in the color palette as well.
An interesting mechanic that Demons with Shotguns features is tarot cards. These cards will randomly drop throughout the game and will provide various bonuses. The cards can bring good luck to you or your team in the form of a power-up, or can place a detrimental curse on your enemies, giving you that bit of a boost to ensure victory.
While the game seems simple on paper, mastering the controls takes time. Becoming proficient with the shotguns and utilizing shotgun jumps allows you to reach high areas and use various shortcuts throughout the levels. Dashing across arenas at high speeds can give you that extra boost and reward you with a kill with the proper timing. Finally, making good use of your shield to deflect bullets takes quite a bit of skill, but is a very useful skill to possess.
All in all, Demons with Shotguns looks to be a very competent contender in the local multiplayer genre. While I'm not a huge fan of the art style, I can still appreciate the fast-paced and skill-based gameplay. With a decent lineup of characters, stages, and game modes, I expect the game to become even better as it pushes deeper into Early Access. Also, there is already a single-player and co-op wave-based survival mode in the works that the developers are planning on releasing soon after the game launches on Early Access.
Demons with Shotguns will be available on June 25th on Steam Early Access.