Review: Demon King Box

What’s up, Pseudo Pstalkers?  Sorry for the slow activity.  I’ve been on a FullMetal Alchemist kick these past few weeks, and I sort of let it get in the way of my gaming.  In fact, I haven’t played a new game in a long time and am really itching for something good.  (The new Professor Layton x Phoenix Wright game is out… maybe I’ll invest in that?)

In a weak effort to quench my gaming thirst, however, I did purchase a $4.00 game from the Nintendo eStore.  This game is Demon King Box.  Although this game is rated M (gasp), I decided to go for it because the reviews in the eStore were pretty good and, hey, it was four dollars.  Still, money is money, so I’m here to tell you if it’s really worth your petty cash.

First things first: I only finished 50% of this game, so either I am lazy and lack a sense of commitment, or this game simply did not deliver enough to make me reach that 100%.  Take it as you will.  That said, I should also mention that I reached 50% in less than 3 hours of playing.  If you’re looking to devote a lot of time to a game for a very low price, then I’d say this is not the game for you.  But if you’re interested in briefly playing a game that’s strange and sort of funny, read on.

The storyline in Demon King Box follows the Demon King/Lord, who has recently freed himself from the human-initiated constraints of a box, as he assembles previous henchmen, allies, and new comrades to form an entire evil army.  It’s a pretty simple plot made completely ridiculous by the dialogue bits, which are terribly translated and so nonsensical that they’re hilarious.  (Perhaps the game is, in fact, self-aware of its poor English translation; every time you turn on the game, it asks if you’re playing in English or Japanese, as if insisting that you choose the latter option for once.)  In any case, the storyline is more silly than serious, even though the Demon King (along with every other character) is determined to destroy the human race.  This game definitely lightens up the severity of that death sentence.

Gameplay in Demon King Box is somewhat strategic, although the pace is at times so quick that you’re minion dragging (this game’s version of button mashing) more than you’re thinking of how to win.  The picture I posted above displays the battle simulation.  There are three rows on the bottom screen of your DS, along with icons of your minions.  You and the enemy both place your minions in any of these three rows (plus two more rows if you have bigger minions) and your minions will automatically walk forwards and fight whatever enemy they immediately encounter.  The top screen of your DS displays minion sprites duking it out, as well as your hero’s – or I guess you could say army leader’s – HP.  Your goal is to wipe out the opposing side’s minions or wipe out the big boss at the end of the row before the enemy wipes out your hero’s HP.  Thus the strategy involves balancing your minions’ numbers with the enemies’.  Different minions also have different abilities.  Some are close range, some have distance attacks, some are super speedy, some are healers, etc. etc. etc.  As you continue to play, you’ll unlock many different minions and can arrange your army according to your preference.  You can also level up minions with food, although you don’t get to decide which stats are leveled in the process.  As I said earlier, this game is strategic to an extent.  You may find it fun and even challenging at times.  Unfortunately, I found myself watching the bottom screen of the DS more than the top  because it’s easier to count your minions versus the enemies’ from there.  This means the graphics displayed on the top screen are wasted during many quick moments of battle.

Speaking of graphics, it’s worthwhile to talk about the visuals, as well as the music, for this game.  Both visually and audibly, I find this game quite appealing.  I love the look of the little sprites; they are all unique and graphically pleasing in 2-D.  The style is sort of anime, which I like, although I suppose the game is rated M because the females have fairly prominent breasts.  This is pretty obvious just from the icon that appears in the eShop and in the 3DS’s homepage when you buy the game.  Still, I think it’s a pretty silly reason for rating the game M, considering there isn’t any actual nudity.  I’ve only finished about half of this game, but based on what I’ve seen and what I’ve read online, this game should not really be rated M and should probably be changed to T.  (Oops, did I rant?)   Besides the breasts, this game is colorful and lots of cartoony fun.  There is little animation besides the moving sprites, but the visuals during cut scenes are well-drawn and the unique “foods” that you can feed your minions and heroes are one of my favorite visual features of this game.  In addition, the soundtrack is original and fitting – it sort of sounds like Halloween.  There are a decent variety of tunes, so I’d say the audio is one of this game’s strong points.  The visuals are also strong, but, as I said above, they are often ignored during battles, where it is easier to  monitor the uninteresting polygonal fights on the bottom screen.

All in all, I’d say you get what you pay for when you buy this game.  Some people pay more for a coffee at Starbucks than the price of this game.  (It’s $4, in case you forgot.)  At the same time, the dollar amount on this game is also my rating.  It has pleasing 2-D visuals and a pretty fun soundtrack, but the storyline is (hilariously) bad and the gameplay, while sometimes fun, gets old.  The majority of this game is “played” by dragging diamond icons onto white rectangular rows in a semi-strategic manner.  So a 4/10 for Demon King Box it is.  One dollar for every point in my ranking?  Well, I’m not sure if it’s a deal, but at least you won’t be losing much.

***This just in, the rating of Demon King Box has been changed from M to T.  So much for me playing an M-rated game…

What do you think?  Are you a die-hard Demon King Box fan?  Well gosh, comment below and let me know why.  Or feel free to leave me any other questions, comments, or critiques.  I’m happy to hear them!



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