Back in 2021, developer Fabraz put us into the pint-sized shoes of Beebz, a thousand-year-old demon looking to overthrow the Demon King to rule the Demon World. At a thousand years old, Beebz is still considered a piker, making her lofty aspirations a source of ridicule for all. Now, after showing everyone just how wrong they were, Fabraz is once again jumping back into Beebz’ world with the follow-up, Demon Turf: Neon Splash.
On the off chance that you missed the original game, Demon Turf is a traditional 3D platformer heavily inspired by classic platformers. The game stood apart from other titles with tough courses which felt designed for speedrunning. Its unique visual style combined 2D sprites for the characters with a fully stylised 3D world.
Set some time after Beebz climactic battle with the Demon King, Neon Splash finds our hero and her two friends sucked into a magical painting. To escape – even though they find this strange new world with its bright colours and island-inspired setting fun – Beebz is going to have to platform her way to salvation.
Right from the get-go players are dropped pretty much into Neon Splash’s deep end. There’s very little fanfare or much in the way of introduction before players are thrust into the game’s first course with its billboard signs teaching you Beebz basic moves. It’s a far cry from the first game, which spent as much time throwing hard obstacles your way as it did fleshing out Beebz, her cohorts, and their world. As such, the game feels less like a sequel and more like an add-on or expansion designed for players of the first game who’ve cut their teeth on Demon Turf’s courses and are blazingly ready to continue that streak.
Outside of the games “Playground” tutorial area, there’s almost no time spent easing you into the gameplay flow and difficulty settings. Further compounding the sense this “sequel” is for seasoned players, are the speedrunning times which are seriously strict. There also isn’t much in the way of flow or story between levels, though you will occasionally find one of your two friends in the level who’ll throw some dialogue for you.
Initially, there are onoly ten stages for you to battle through, though remixed versions of them – which are much harder – can be unlocked by collecting Vinyl records in each stage. Along with the vinyls, you can collect sweets that functions as the game’s currency. Though Beebz starts off Neon Splash with all her moves intact, you’ll be able to buy modifications to those moves from the games shop.
The courses, of course, are what you’re here for – and Fabraz doesn’t disappoint in designing areas that will really challenge your skills. Learning to effectively chain Beebz moves together is paramount to making it through the levels, especially if you’re aiming to earn those absurd speedrunning times.
Thankfully, the developers have kicked the first games combat system to the floor for this sequel, turning it into a pure platforming experience, and Neon Splash suffers not at all for. The checkpoint system has been changed as well. As in the prior game, you get to plant a flag wherever you please for instant respawns on death or if you simply want to teleport in no time. This time round you have infinite flags to plant unlike the paltry two or three from the first game. It was an interesting risk/reward system in the first game as you had to choose where you wanted to place a flag, but this time around it feels more like a user-controlled checkpoint system. As with the first game, I usually forgot I had flags to place…
Neon Splash still contains some of the issues of the first game during traversal, most notably from the camera side which made judging jumps difficult at times when it would swing into an obscure angle. Or when it blocked your view while performing a succession of precision jumps. Even with your blob shadow, at times judging the distance between objects whether above or in front of you, could be incredibly frustrating.
Visually, Neon Splash looks much better than the first game, at least on the Switch’s compact handheld screen. There’s an “RGB splitter” filter in play when you first load the game up, which gives the visuals the look of those old 3D images in comic books that you’d need a pair of 3D glasses for. Personally, I thought it just made the game look blurry and switched it off in the options. Beyond that, the visuals are nice and clean and for the most part sport a brighter visual aesthetic than the first game. A nice little touch is that when Beebz moves around, she leaves a little trail of paint behind her. The 2D elements also fit into the 3D environment better this time around. There is still pop-in in the game, but it’s left for objects further away and doesn’t affect the actual gameplay at all.
The game sports a pulse-pounding musical tune that’s meant to hype you up and promote twitchier play. However, after the first four levels, I turned the music volume down so that I could concentrate on the gameplay.
Demon Turf: Neon Splash, like its predecessor, is an intriguing modern platformer built upon the foundations of classic games with a focus on speedrunning. Also, like its predecessor, it is both fun and frustrating in equal measure. That said, the developer’s changes, especially the removal of combat, have been for the better. If you’re a fan of the first game, then picking this up is a no brainer as it’s more of what you probably loved about the first one. If you’re new to the franchise, I’d recommend starting with the first game. If you’re just looking for pure platforming hijinks, you won’t go wrong starting off here either. Either way, this is a fun, challenging game built on the purity of platforming at its toughest.
A review code for Demon Turf: Neon Splash was provided to gameblur by the publisher
Gameplay8/10 Very Good
- No more combat
- Pure platforming through and through
- Nice, neon visuals
- The 2D sprites look great
- Feels more like an expansion
- The camera can cause issues when trying to judge distances