Demon Turf PS5 Review: A Hellish Platformer

Demon Turf or Demon Turd? It's easy to make a mistake on that last letter, but is it any good on the PS of 5?

Demon Turf would be that much better if I were any good at it, but the combination of tricky camera angles and jump combos made this title a little more hellish than the story intended. No, it’s not a flippant title; it’s as literal as you can get as the premise is about staking your claim in the underworld and becoming the Demon Queen.

You play Beebz – a nonchalant brat full of pouting and sarcastic indifference to her elders. This could spell an unlikeable character, but surprisingly, she’s a lot of fun and her curt response and determination to be the top dog is refreshing. So how does she put her plan into effect? Through good old fashioned platforming, but one with a twist – almost literally.

Demon Turf mixes up 2D and 3D well. At first, it feels gimmicky, then super sleek, then settles down once more as a stylish yet functional aesthetic. While this isn’t the NME, I must say that the music throughout is ‘my cup of tea’. Overall it has a PlayStation One quality about it, touching upon something classic like Super Mario 64. Heard of it?

Demon Turf release date
Source: Steam

Beebz has a fair deal of tricks on hand, such as the infamous double jump, but also built-in shapeshifting abilities to turn into a bat in mid-air and another chimaera type thing underwater. But there was something about the button mapping that I couldn’t get on with. Paired with the dodgy camera, I often struggled with gameplay and repeatedly played the same areas, primarily due to my own fault.

That ownership lies in my poor 3D platforming skills (Super Mario 64 was never this clumsy, right?), getting accustomed to ‘modifying’ a standard jump with a shoulder button, or holding down the charge attack for maximum efficiency, but more importantly, not getting a handle of the checkpoint system.

In Demon Turf, you decide where to place your limited checkpoints. This is a great idea, and I’ve seen it in a handful of other games but did the game thing: I forgot I had them. When I did remember, it would be a case of going that little bit further so as not to waste the checkpoint but die, or pressing and holding the wrong button and teleporting to the start. Rage? Did I fu…

Still, Beebz’s world is pretty cool, and the game feels like it could win over the masses and earn cult status (as in a bit retro/niche, not those weirdo types). But it will only gain that standing if others can get past the camera and the meh combat. The latter was forgettable, but platforming is very good, pending you manoeuvre the camera before attempting that long jump.

Demon Turf - Stop pouting
Stop pouting. Source: Steam

In Fabraz’s defence, there is the option for automatic and manual cameras. I opted for the second by default, then gave automatic a run, but couldn’t get on with it, so back to manual it was. It’s not that Demon Turf camera angles are atrocious or anything, but I found it hard to maintain a rhythm with platforming as I would have to adjust the camera each time as a safety net or to verify my depth perception.

If you have the patience and can grasp the above, there’s a lot to the game with numerous challenges, optional paths, and the best of all, if you get your priorities wrong like me, customisation. Changing Beebz’s barnet and attire won’t make you go any faster, but it’s nice to have that option, plus difficulty options should you struggle.

It took a good couple of hours to really scratch the surface of Demon Turf, and once you do, you’ll find an abundance of extras. While her humour can start to grate, Beebz is a likeable character, but more importantly, her world is one you’re happy to frequent once the game opens up a bit more and you start adjusting to the style of play. 

For me, I’m more of a 2D platform fan and feel more at home with recent titles like Sockventure than 3D worlds, mostly because of those camera angles like in games like TY The Tasmanian Tiger HD – a great game, but the nature of 3D makes some platforming tricky. Demon Turf is the best of both worlds, but you can’t cater to everyone’s tastes. As a whole, it’s an excellent platform game, that if you can brave the storm of the early levels and occasionally frustrating mechanics, it has the potential of being one of your go-to titles in the genre. Just don’t get your hopes up for the combat, queen.