Demon Skin Review

Developed by Ludus Future and published by ESDigital Games, Demon Skin is a dark 2D hack’n’slash with some great artwork and increasingly tough difficulty. The game features a unique combat system that allows players to combine stances and weapons to create their own unique fighting style, and also features RPG elements, such as character levelling and skill trees. The game world is dark and atmospheric, and the character models are well-detailed. The sound effects are also well-done, and the music is atmospheric and fitting for the game’s setting.

You control one of the wanderers of a special mighty order. He witnesses an evil ritual taking place and tries to disrupt it, but in doing so he gets caught in a flow of energy which transforms him into a demon. He has to try to regain who he once was piece by piece by looking for a special artefact, but hordes of demons stand in his path.

                My first thoughts on Demon Skin are that it looks pretty cool graphically. You get broken in gently to get to grips with the combat which has a few different techniques to master. As this is 2D the combat will always have some limitations, but they have added a degree of complexity to make it interesting, tough to master and does not always hit the mark for me. The framework of the combat is sound, you can attack and defend high, medium, or low by controlling your stance. But you can use a vast variety of weapons that are found around the levels and dropped by the enemies. Each weapon has an attack score and a defence score and some of the weapons have a negative defence score but a higher attack score which holds more risk to use but is potent if you are confident in your attack.

                There are many varieties of enemies to contend with in all shapes and sizes and each of them are more susceptible to attacks at different heights. For example, a skeleton with a shield is vulnerable to lower attacks while other enemies can only be hit in the middle. Each weapon type has some combos that can be used, and certain special weapons can perform a special move. But neither of these can be spammed as you have a stamina bar which will prevent you from going gung-ho and you must build up your special meter to use the special attack. You can also throw your weapon which is required in some situations, but you want to make sure you do not throw your best weapon as you have to retrieve it afterwards and that may not always be possible.

                As you progress you level up, allowing you to put upgrade skill points into the three main trees; attack, health, and stamina. Each of them is just as important as the other so you will want to keep a balance upgrading them. Progression in the game does come with a steep rise in difficulty. Luckily there are checkpoints on the level to respawn at should you fall, and you will fall a lot. There is no punishment for falling other than to your pride when the game reminds you how many times you have died.

                Later levels have some cruel elements to them in the form of tricky platforming events which involve impressive reflexes and pattern recognition. This is because a lot of what you face will be trial and error. There is one part of the level where you have to avoid a giant boulder looking to crush you. But there are panels you have to break down, pits to jump over and spikes to avoid. Any slight misstep or hesitation will see you fail often, and it can become a struggle. It does give you joy when you finally overcome the situation but some of the tricky scenarios do not have a checkpoint nearby which makes the situation very chore-like at times.

                The game has quite a short campaign, but the last section of the game is extremely tough to an almost Dark Souls style degree where you have to be precise in when to attack, when to dodge, and when to block. With checkpoints being quite sparse on each level you cannot really afford to get careless as you will get punished for it. But that is the nature of tricky games like this as they get notoriously harder to make the feeling when accomplishing it feel all that more rewarding.


Demon Skin has done an immense job of bringing a lot of complexity to the 2D hack’n’slash genre. The story may not be too detailed but the focus of this game is on the atmospheric level and character design and the hellish combat mastery. If you want a short but challenging 2D game which looks great and puts your reflexes to the test, then this is a solid game to pick up.

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This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox Series X/S. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.
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  • Unique combat system
  • Great dark atmospheric graphical design
  • A good variety of weapons and enemies
  • The campaign is quite short
  • Some of the checkpoints are ill-placed
  • Some platforming sections can be very frustrating
Written by
Gaming, or, games in general, are in my blood. Just shy of an addiction but still an obsession. From opening my mind on the Commodore 64 I have kept up with the generations of gaming, currently residing on the Xbox One. Gamertag: Grahamreaper

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