Super Turbo Demon Busters has one of the oddest names on the market, but does bring with it a unique take on what is considered a modern-day rogue-like experience. While its name implies a fast-paced action-oriented affair, what you get is a strategic point and click-style game with an interesting premise. STDB is a PC port of a mobile game called Dead Shell – and it manages to both excel and fall short in some surprising ways.
Mercenaries and space marines are out to try and escape a planet filled with all sorts of bad things! Monsters and aliens fill up small space stations and it’s your job to clear as many of them out as possible. Doing so is simple in theory, but more compilcated in practice and requires you to be on your toes a surprising amount for a game without traditional frantic action.
Click and Blast
Instead of using a mouse to aim weapons at foes, players use it to select a weapon and attack. Each level begins with you opening up a small area and destroying either objects or enemies to reveal a larger portion of the stage. There’s a bit of resource management mixed in along with weapon power to ensure that you think about everything you do before it’s done. The core game is quite limited due to its click-heavy nature though. While you do need to be careful about what you’re doing from room to room, the end result is always left up to chance because you never really see turns unfold.
Selecting a stage brings you to a series of rooms that you can navigate through and enemies may wind up being complete pushovers or wipe your ammo count out completely. You have a melee weapon at all times, but it does very little damage and is inefficient. This meeans that you could wind up dying from a low-end enemy simply due to the fact that every turn damages you so and it takes a dozen turns on your end to kill a foe.
Switching characters can help aleviate this to some degree – as certain characters are better with some weapons than others. Commandos do more damage with a shotgun and are more efficient with its ammo – so for an area with a lot of enemies with a weakness to short-range weapons, that type is best. The sniper handles longer-range weapons like the assault rifle better – but will waste your shotgun blasts and put you back in the same trap of having to melee attack to survive. Game overs are plentiful and the game is far less forgiving in that regard than its mobile counterpart in that regard.
On mobile, you could earn continues throughout your adventure. Now, you get a set amount of continues and after that, you have to start over. It’s definitely a bit of a downer siince so much of the game is left to pure chance. You can learn the core mechanics of being smart with weapons for certain characters and then still not have it mean anything due to the nature of not being able to see turns agaisnt you and just blindly taking damage. Health pickups are a rarity as well and it makes the game more frustrating than it needs to be.
Death Blows and Damage Counts
The core concept of taking a team through an area and ridding it of zombies and other monsters is a solid one and there’s certainly fun to be had with it – but few parts of the game design feel fully realized. The weapon loadout system is somewhat off-balance due to the extreme weaknesses some character types have with weapons and the fact that you can’t see the turns that deal damage to you means you can never predict any battle’s outcome. You could roll through 90% of a stage and then just die due to one low-end enemy managing to outlast your ammo count and killing you because your axe is weak.
Leaving things to chance is fine for a casino game, but far less acceptable for a dungeon-crawler. Having a sense of control over your character and his/her path is crucial and you never feel fully in control here. Super Turbo Demon Busters has the skeleton of a good game within it – but the execution of the concept is simply too flawed to alllow to fulfill its potential.
Pixel Art and Shotgun Blasts Make Sweet Music
Super Turbo Demon Busters‘s pixel art style is nice and showcases a lot of detail in the character portraits and enemy designs. Sadly, this doesn’t hold true for the environments – which lack detail and every stage within a particular world looks far too similar. Each room is pretty much identical barring the particular color scheme the stages has been coated in and it leads to a sense of sameness that shouldn’t be there in a modern-day release. The soundtrack is fairly good and offers up a healthy amount of sci-fi fare. It’s a shame none of the music sticks with you after a play session though. Fortunately, the weapon sound effects fare better – with the shotgun blasts especially feeling violent thanks to the loud blast they emit.
- Simple interface makes game easy to learn
- Detailed pixel art adds to the in-game world
- The lack of formal turns makes combat a bit confusing
- Soundtrack leaves something to be desired
Super Turbo Demon Busters is a strange game, but an addictive one in very short bursts. Play sessions longer than half an hour show off the game’s flaws and shortcomings. Mobile to PC ports can be done well, but this concept simply wasn’t expanded upon enough in the conversion. Having a tap-heavy game with a sprinkling of strategy can work on a mobile game, but failing to do more with the idea for PC means that while PC users don’t have to worry about microtransactions, they also don’t get much of a game worth paying for either.