Demon Skin (Switch) – Review
Follow Genre: Hack 'n slash
Developer: Ludus future
Publisher: Buka Entertainment
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Tested on: Switch

Demon Skin (Switch) – Review

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Good: Great voice acting
Bad: Poorly optimized controls
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Two years after Demon Skin made its first appearance on PC, indie developer Ludus Future saw fit to port the game to consoles. We took a look at the PC version when it was originally released, and absolutely loved what the game had to offer. As such, we were more than eager to revisit Demon Skin. Does the console version live up to its illustrious PC predecessor? The short answer is a resounding no, unfortunately. Read on to find out what went wrong here.

The short but epic opening movie sets up things in a compelling manner, initially at least, while keeping things deliberately vague. The premise involves our protagonist, who looks suspiciously like Kratos in the opening scenes, being cursed right before he’s able to defeat the leader of the demons that threaten the human world. This leaves him with a very specific type of amnesia, where he only knows that he needs a crystal to unlock his memories. Another effect of the curse is that he now has a body that alters itself to mimic the demons he kills, hence the game’s title. Of course, faux-Kratos must now defeat the demon leader to obtain the crystal, break the curse and restore his memory and his body.


From an aesthetic point of view, Demon Skin absolutely nails things. The gorgeous artwork shown during the opening movie really showcases the vision of the game’s art director, even if it’s only barely animated. In a way, Demon Skin doesn’t do anything new with its art direction, as it simply embodies every dark fantasy cliché, but it does this very well. Unfortunately, when it comes to in-game graphics, things fare a lot worse, on the Switch version at least. If we compare screenshots from the PC or PS4 versions to what we got on the Switch, it’s apparent that Demon Skin suffers from a visual downgrade, and even then the game struggled to run smoothly on our system.
Just compare the screenshots shown here with those from our PC review (linked above) to see what we mean.


As you’d expect, Demon Skin’s audio matches its Warhammer-like grimdark atmosphere. The music sounds suitably moody and epic, and there are plenty of roars, growls, and moans that enemies will throw at you as you chop them to bits. We couldn’t find fault with Demon Skin’s audioscape, except perhaps that it’s a bit by-the-numbers and ultimately forgettable. That’s not necessarily bad, because within Demon Skin’s own parameters, it’s perfectly acceptable. It’s just unlikely that you’ll be listening to the music outside of the game itself. That said, the voice acting remains as good as ever and is probably the main highlight here.


Hearkening back to the early ‘90s, Demon Skin offers players a 2D hack ‘n slash experience, a genre that seemingly has fallen by the wayside in recent times. Now, we’ve seen plenty of love letters to old games in recent years, like GHOSTWARE and Varney Lake. The difference is that those are straight-up love letters to the old games they took inspiration from, while Demon Skin is aiming to single-handedly modernize the genre, with mixed results. Instead of paying homage to the classics of yesteryear, Demon Skin attempts to shoehorn in modern mechanics, like Soulslike-inspired combat. In theory, this take could work, but in practice, Demon Skin’s gameplay leaves a lot to be desired.

Before we start to rip Demon Skin apart -pun intended- we should clarify that we only gave the Switch version of the game a spin, and that the issues that we encountered could be the result of a poor port. Perhaps the game runs like an absolute charm on PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. However, the Switch version feels so poorly optimized that even the tutorial, where you face a simple skeleton, felt like an uphill battle, and not in a good way. Design-wise, things are easy enough to grasp: you simply walk from the left side of the screen to the right side, swinging your weapon at the enemies you encounter along the way. You have a weak attack and a strong attack and different types of weapons. Different enemies have different weak points, and they come equipped with armor or shields, and you’ll need to adjust your attacks accordingly. The idea is that you can pull off combos by continuously attacking the right weak spots on your enemies, and some strategizing is required if you want to be successful.

This simple concept pretty much comes apart at the seams as soon as you start playing. Controls feel janky and unresponsive, combos don’t always trigger when they should and death comes a lot, and it more often than not feels unfair. While the game is mostly focused on combat, navigating the various levels through light platforming is also not very enjoyable. Jumping feels floaty and is somehow based around QTE mechanics. The terrain often feels like it was designed to hinder you, especially in places where you’re facing multiple enemies at the same time. It’s a shame because there are interesting ideas implemented here, including an upgradeable skill tree, a wide variety of enemies, and cool-looking weapons. However, because the game gets its foundation wrong, the other elements never get a chance to shine.


While we can’t vouch for the PlayStation or Xbox versions of the game, the Switch version of Demon Skin left a foul taste in our mouth. The few interesting ideas it presents are bogged down by a foundation that is flawed, resulting in a game that simply isn’t fun to play. Your mileage may vary on other consoles, but the Switch version of Demon Skin is definitely a game we’ll tell you to avoid.

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