Daemon Detective Gaiden comes across as a love letter to 16bit console games, platformers in particular, but not exclusively. I've only played through the first 3 Worlds so far, but already I highly recommend this game to anyone who misses the classic 2D sidescrolling platformers of yore. As I play it, everywhere I look I'm reminded of the games that made me love games. I would describe the core gameplay so far as "Mario with a dash of Sonic" (pun intended). You have Mario's ability to change powers by changing suits through pickups (one of the powers even has a very Mega Man feel to it, letting you spam shoot a blaster at enemies). As the levels progress, the levels expand and start to remind me a lot more of the exploration in Sonic and Sonic 2. Then there's the boss fights at the end of each World. I was surprised (very pleasantly so) to find that rather than the "find the weak point and jump on it" bosses I was expecting, instead each boss fight (so far) is a side scrolling shooter in the style of Gradius or R-Type. I know, it sounds crazy, but it works.
The game also seems like it contains a lot of content. Levels can be replayed at any time and with additional characters you unlock as you play. There are shops to buy items between stages. And there's plenty of achievements (sadly only the in-game ones work). There's even a bestiary with descriptions of each of the games enemies revealing the their mythological context. It's obvious a lot of work went into the creation of this game. The music is fantastic, the controls are tight and perfectly suited to play with a 360 gamepad, and the retro graphics are among the best I've seen in a modern game. The story is crazy, but this game seems meant to evoke the spirit of '90s mascot platformers; crazy story is par for that course and I wouldn't have it any other way. In fact, so far the only negatives I've come across are both minor. First, the Steam achievements are broken, which sucks, but doesn't affect the game at all. And second, I didn't realize how to use the items I'd purchased until Sugar joined my party. I had no idea I could access that menu from the map. Again, it's a minor quibble.
So, do I recommend this game? Absolutely. Without hesitation.
Posted August 20, 2015. Last edited August 20, 2015.