Grim Guardians: Demon Purge Impressions – From Ecstasy to Lunacy

Grim Guardians: Demon Purge Impressions – From Ecstasy to Lunacy

When one thinks of Gal Gun, the first images to appear are undoubtedly rooted in orgasmic euphoria due to the majority of the series’ runtime comprising girls collapsing from ecstasy. So, a Metroidvania spinoff occurring in the Gal Gun universe, specifically adjacent to Gal Gun: Double Peace, is probably one of the last projects anyone ever expected. And, yet, here it is.

I genuinely had no idea what to expect from the Inti Creates-developed Grim Guardians: Demon Purge. While I’m a massive fan of this developer’s usual works, I just couldn’t see Gal Gun making this jump. However, after playing its Steam Next Fest demo, I was astonished at how well-polished and enjoyable it’s proving to be.

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When beginning the demo, players are immediately presented with a screen to map their controls, already starting events off on a positive note. Despite being able to map controls on Steam via the program itself, having the ability to do so in-game is always preferred. Still, I found the default setup suitable. The premise is made apparent soon afterward, as protagonists Shinobu and Maya, both love interests from Gal Gun: Double Peace, find their school transformed into a demonic castle.

For those who have never played Double Peace, these sisters are actually demon hunters, and this title wastes no time revealing that information due to the grave circumstances. So, the duo set off to explore the castle and return it to normal, also saving numerous members of the student body who found themselves trapped. From the early moments of gameplay, I was caught off guard by how tight and responsive the controls were, with players able to switch between Shinobu and Maya at the press of a button. Further, the animation briefly stops time, preventing cheap shots.

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The two sisters play inherently differently. Shinobu uses an anti-demon submachine gun. Her ammo is her primary weakness since it can run out, though it can be infinitely reloaded at the cost of standing still for a few seconds. Alternatively, Maya is close-ranged, using a blade. Her miniature stature also allows her to move while crouched, enabling her to enter otherwise inaccessible passages. When grappling with the admittedly simple yet effective enemy design and multiple pathways, the pacing quickly became addicting. The two inputted bosses were enjoyable to battle, boasting effective telegraphs and a challenge level appropriate for beginning bouts.

There’s a pretty satisfying gameplay loop here that I can see being fully realized later on since the backtracking aspects of the genre aren’t quite implemented in this demo. Granted, after defeating the second and final boss this demo contains, players will obtain two sub-weapons, with one affecting traversal that can be used in the earlier areas. But it’s all quite minor. On the other hand, one of my concerns is how often the Pride resource, used to perform special attacks, appears. I’m hoping its drop rate is tuned down in the full game since I constantly found myself at a full bar with barely any effort.

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Grim Guardians: Demon Purge is proving itself to be an exceptionally entertaining time based on its roughly one to two-hour demo. The excellent controls, terrific boss design, and inklings of strong exploration have me excited for the complete game. If you’re interested in trying out this demo, I highly recommend it, even if you have no history with the Gal Gun series.

Grim Guardians: Demon Purge is releasing for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch, and PC via Steam on February 23, 2023. A physical release has been revealed by publisher PQube.

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