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15 Minute Challenge: $20 Demon’s Score from Square Enix

Yesterday we told you guys about 3 games new to Google Play from legendary game publisher Square Enix, one of which was a $20 game — yes, $20 — called Demon’s Score. The game’s pricing puts the title right up there with some of the most expensive the Play Store offers and many of you were wondering if the game was even any good (let alone worth twenty dollars). Well, I decided to give Demon’s Score a quick spin taking full advantage of the Play Store’s 15 minute return window. If you guys want to learn a little more about the game in addition to my initial thoughts, here is my 15 Minute Challenge for Demon’s Score by Square Enix.

Story

The game stars a young college student by the name of Serenity who’s looking for her dad in a haunted castle filled to the brim with musical themed monsters. Inside she runs into a teddy bear who helps her in her quest to find her father and unravel the secrets of the castle. In typical Japanese fashion, Serenity must utilize scantily clad outfits (obtained from conquered bosses) to give her new abilities and take on the worse creatures hell has to offer.

Gameplay

Each stage in Demon’s Score is broken up into two parts: Track 1 where players face off against smaller enemies, and Track 2 where players go toe-to-toe against the boss of that stage. Each boss has their own unique musical track — to the tune of a specific genre of music — and on the stage leading up to the boss (Track 1), the music also changes depending on the equipped demon/outfit. New music = new experience. The stages also have 3 difficulty settings — easy, normal, and hard — and if players beat a stage on all 3 settings, Square promises something special (less clothing perhaps?).

Gameplay in Demon’s Score is comprised of carefully timed to button presses and gestures, all to the tune of a various Japanese musical genres. Square describes the game as “off the hook, break beat action” which, in some weird way kinda helps, but you’d be better off picturing a mashup of Mega Man meets Devil May Cry, meets Elite Beat Agents. The flow of the game goes like this: beat a stage, face a boss, steal their powers, get a sexy new outfit, rinse and repeat.

Graphics

Visually, the game looks great. Console quality even. Powered by Epic’s Unreal Engine and optimized for the Nvidia Tegra 3, Square added a few nice special effects not present in other versions of the game, namely:

  • The Rim Lighting feature, which yields more dramatic actions and movements by bringing brilliant highlights to character outlines in backlit scenes.
  • Enhanced photorealism and three-dimensionality of characters with the Bloom feature, which produces a stunning diffusion of light in extremely bright conditions.
  • A depth of field created by focusing the camera on the character and blurring both background and foreground, lending even more realism to the game.
  • Twice the resolution of other versions of the game, resulting in higher-quality and sharper graphics across the board.

Serenity and her demonic outfits were the real star of the show, offering a wide variety of styles making sure that, no matter what your fetish, she’s got an outfit just for you. Enemies, bosses and the frequent times players are given a direct view of Serenity’s hindquarters (read: constantly) really showed off an amazing attention to detail and solid character design. There’s no question — Demon’s Score definitely has some high production value going for it. The problem with the graphics is that, while completely amazing looking, you don’t get enjoy them very much with huge onscreen beat cues and your hand constantly obstructing your view. First world problems, I guess.

Verdict

Okay, so I’ll admit it — the game is good. Real good. But is it $20 good? While it was nice of Square to include all the downloadable content from the iOS version for the Android release (a $32 value), typically, you’d still find a game similar to this on Xbox Live for between 800 – 1200 Microsoft points ($10 – $15). As much fun as I did have with Demon’s Score, I can’t say I was able to bring myself to plop down $20 for it. And I’m not usually too frugal when it comes to my gaming. Still, for those of you scoring Google Play giftcards this holiday (they’re sure to be a hit) and your Tegra 3 device is in need of some love, you may want to give Demon’s Score a shot. I’ll be waiting until my budding rap career finally takes off.

[Demon's Score on Google Play]




  • Thomas

    One thing I have always wondered is when it comes to buying games on phones or tablets people complain about or won’t download a game if any kind of cost is involved, yet we have no problem forking out $50 ( give or take ) for games on home gaming consoles no matter how crappy the game is. Just kind of a random thought, great article Chris as always ;)

    • iampoch

      Because, with console games being in a physical medium, you can sell it whenever you want and buy a different game. That’s what I do with my console games, except for a few notables, like Final Fantasy games (I collect them) and various fighting games (until a new version or installment in the series comes along. Yes, often you get less than half of what you paid for. But at least you do get that option. That’s why, for me, I rarely buy mobile games beyond $1.

      • iampoch

        And yes, I also buy 2nd hand games :-) there are some i buy brand new. And there are games that I just rent out just for the heck of it. You can’t do that with mobile games.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001157635211 Danny Callahan

    Seems like there’s no lack of skimpy clothed females in this game… I don’t think I’ll ever understand the appeal of that in a video game. I mean, maybe the 13-16yr old crowd is ‘into it’ (first hitting puberty, all that fun), but I’d honestly like to see some… clothing to put it simply. Not skin-tight spandex exposing every nook and cranny of their body, but regular clothes like… oh, I don’t know… the male characters in every game like this.

    • scoter man1

      U mad bro?

      • enomele

        that’s not even funny. never was in my book. how bout you go back to wow and leave comments to the big kids.

        • Thomas

          Couldn’t agree w/ you more. I guess the whole “first” thing was taken.

  • RavenFox

    To much love for darkness and demons with rewards of half naked outfits. I’ll pass.

  • rsanchez1

    Square Enix is starting something here. Here is a major publisher/developer, making their own games on mobile, and charging major publisher money for the game. I wonder what publishers/developers will follow suit. Will Ubisoft make their own Assassin’s Creed games instead of counting on Gameloft? Will Rockstar soon bring original GTA to mobile and charge $20+ after having success with their ports?

    In addition to bringing in bigger names, what effect will this have on, say, storage? Will phone manufacturers insist on withholding SD cards as a feature? Will they be able to sell phones with 64GB internal memory or 128GB internal memory and still have them in the price range for a large number of people to buy? The same goes for tablets.

    SE is starting something real interesting with their latest Demon’s Score release. Makes me excited about what 2013 has in store for Android gaming.

  • feztheforeigner

    Who’s the random guy creeping over your shoulder towards the end of the video Chris? ;)

  • Michael Thompson

    I love these segments.
    Chris you are informative and entertaining.

  • XtremeMorph

    It’s time publishers start treating high end smartphones and tablets as consoles. Of course if that’s the case they will also start charging big bucks on the game.

    Square will lead the way to more premium price games as most likely other big publisher will follow suit.

    I’m just so tired of freemium games and Game & Watch play style, kill and repeat for high score. (not saying console game not doing the same thing) but usually have a better story line to follow thru.

  • defred34

    Amazing trick dude. Try turning your clock back. You get more than 15 mins that way!

  • Lox Thomson

    On principle alone, I wouldn’t buy it for $20. They are testing what the market is willing to bear… sorta like computer games going for 59.99. Rip Off, any game is worth waiting for and since these games get discounted over time after other cool games come out… just wait for that and teach the publishers not to gouge customers.

  • ManiacalShen

    This sounds right up my alley, except that as a straight woman, I don’t want to play a whole game staring up at some lady’s half-clad ass. I don’t mind skimpy if it’s cool or stylish, but this is just cheesecake for cheesecake’s sake in an otherwise rhythm-based game. Boo.