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Backlog Impression | Demon’s Tier+

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What happens when you mix twin stick action with RPG and roguelike elements? We take a look at Demon’s Tier+ from Cowcat Games and Diabolical Minds to find out!!

It Brings a Tier to my Eye

Roguelikes are an interesting breed of games aren’t they? Technically, they strip away a core feature of many games, progression, and then throw you into the meat grinder to see how far you can get. Of course, there are varying degrees of this within the roguelike genre, with some even featuring their own form of progression like persistent loot drops, RPG-like leveling systems or just shortcuts to later levels. One thing they all have in common though is that when you die, you’re starting from the beginning, whether you’re two minutes in or half way through the final boss fight. Honestly, if it was any other type of game, you’d probably be throwing your controller across the room and never touching the dang thing again!

Well, Diabolical Minds has teamed up with Cowcat Games once again to bring us their take on the roguelike phenomenon, with Demon’s Tier+, in hopes that fun character designs, co-op twin stick action, and a “just one more round” progressions system will keep us coming back for more! 

The Devil’s In the Details

Originally released on Steam in February of 2019, Demon’s Tier was a hybrid of Diabolical Mind’s two previous games. Combining the roguelike elements from Xenon Valkyrie and the hectic twin stick action of Riddle Corpses. Along with the alluring and slightly grotesque pixelated designs that Diabolical Minds has come to be known for. Only this time you’ll be following a ragtag band of merry adventurers as they descend through a dark and mysterious pit filled with vile and dangerous creatures in an attempt to face off against the demonic King Thosgar!

Although Demon’s Tier was received relatively well upon its initial release, Diabolical Minds and Cowcat Game really wanted to enhance the game in preparation for its impending console release, making it a little more user friendly for console players. These changes were primarily implemented to increase the overall user experience and included things like displaying the current objective on the pause screen or the ability to revive your partner once they die. 

Burn a Hole in Your Pocket

Truly, that’s what a good roguelike boils down to isn’t it – a good user experience? I mean, make the trek through to the end too tedious, obtuse, or unforgiving and you’re not going to motivate players to keep trying! Additionally, I think the work that Cowcat put into improving Demon’s Tier really made a huge difference. Of course the game already had a solid foundation and like Diabolical Minds’ previous titles, it’s super easy to dive in and start having fun! Add the inclusion of co-op play, and it’s basically a dungeon crawling extravaganza with your friends!!

It helps that not only is each level procedurally generated, but you’ll also be given a random objective on each floor before you can progress, such as triggering all bombs or opening all of the chests. Technically, there’s only five total to choose from, but the added layer makes it a little more interesting than just having to survive and find the exit. Furthermore, as you progress through a tier, you’ll collect two types of currency. The first being gold, which can be used to upgrade your stats making you more resilient and more prepared for the later levels. The good thing is, depending on the character class you select, specific build you’re going for, or maybe the purpose of your run (farming resources), you can choose to upgrade your health, attack, movement speed or even your multiplier which will increase the amount of currency you collect! Of course, none of these stat boosts or the gold you collect is permanent (it’s a roguelike after all) and if you die you’ll lose It all. Which leads us to the more permanent currency, D-Coin, which is used to unlock new characters and or weapons.

However, unlike standard gold, this currency can be taken back with you to the surface in order to purchase said characters and weapons. You do have to be careful though because if you die you’ll lose all of your D-Coin. The benefit of unlocking the characters is that each of them has their own strengths and weaknesses, as well as a special ability. Which can come in the form or a devastating magical attack, a healing spell or temporary offensive/defensive stat boosts. When paired up with a co-op partner, you can become a force to be reckoned with if you spec them efficiently! The weapons on the other hand won’t be available from the get go. Instead you need to find weapon recipes which will drop randomly from bosses. That being said, they’re more than worth getting and investing your D-Coin into because their stat boosts can make all the difference between a good run and a short lived one!

Speaking of the bosses in Demon’s Tier+, aside from the wonderful 16bit inspired sprite work and the unique Diabolical Minds art style, the bosses are probably one of my favorite parts of the game. Like their previous titles, the bosses in Demon’s Tier+ are a mixture of hulking spectacles and bullet hell tomfoolery that test your dodging skills, as well as your understanding of how to properly use each character’s special ability. Honestly, bosses like these are why I keep coming back each time they release a new game!

Come Hell or High Water

Nonetheless, it’s not the only reason, because when you boil it all down to its essence, each and every game Diabolical Minds releases, Demon’s Tier+ included, are just downright fun to play and that goes doubly if you’re able to rope a co-op partner into playing with you. If I was to complain about one thing it probably be with the “Tier” system (the game’s namesake), and that’s only because instead of giving you more environments to explore or story elements to uncover when you increase the Tier number, it just increases the difficulty and allows you to unlock an alternate ending. Frankly, that’s just a minor gripe because despite that it was a blast to rise in the ranks and see each ending.

As a consequence, if you’re a fan of roguelikes or even just twin stick shooters with a hint of RPG elements, then I’d highly recommend checking Demon’s Tier+ out! It’ll be available on the PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and Xbox One, June 9th, 2020!