If the developers of Demon Sword: Incubus put half as much effort into the actual gameplay as they did with their array of costumes designed to show off more than cover, it might almost have been worth playing.
Mind you, with a scintillating narrative that includes lines like this, I don’t think delivering a quality video game was ever on this team’s agenda:
“A lone orc appeared before me. It had a massive body, thick tree trunk like (sic) appendages, and a determined look in its eyes.
‘Careful girl (sic), from the look of it, this orc wants to fill you with his seed reeeeeal bad.’”
Smut can be great fun, and there are more than a few Switch games that make good use of it. Dead or School is probably the closest smutty game to Demon Sword that I can recall off the top of my head, and it’s actually a good point of comparison. For smut to be worth your dollar, it still needs to be backed by something that is entertaining to play. Dead or School is a pretty decent time, but Demon Sword is just not. At all.
This is a side-scrolling brawler with no nuance or depth to it. You mash buttons, and things fall down. Rinse and repeat while travelling to the right into perpetuity. You’ll level up and that’ll make the numbers on the screen get bigger, but it hardly matters because the enemies basically scale in kind (despite not being any different to fight), and there’s no nuance to the character skill tree to make levelling the strategic experience it needs to be.
There is a reasonably impressive range of attack abilities. It’s actually surprising just how much you can do, and it’s split between melee and ranged (magic) attacks. In a better game, this combat system would have been great fun to delve into. However, in Demon Sword the combat is so mundane you’re only incentivised to use one or two abilities and simply button-mash your way through the thing.
Outside of the main character – and we will get to her in a moment – the enemies are almost shockingly bland. They look like they were pulled from some generic asset store for PlayStation 2-era JRPG enemies. They’re blocky, nondescript, and have no personality beyond the occasional attack they hurl your way.
Boss enemies are larger and meaner, but no less interesting to fight, because the defensive side of Demon Sword is exceedingly limited in application. You won’t bother trying to figure out how to parry, dodge, or dart out of the way. Instead, each boss battle is an exercise in hitting the monster with those same attacks you’ve been using against the common enemies and hoping that they will fall down before you do.
You just repeat this for level after level after level. There’s the occasional short cut scene, but it will probably come as no surprise that the efforts at worldbuilding and dramatic storytelling are, to put it mildly, substandard. To give you an idea of how little the developers themselves cared about cut scenes and storytelling, in the first cut scene you run into a couple of characters who have lost about 1/3 of their lower legs into the ground. Yep. The developers could not even be bothered to place totally static characters on the ground properly.
All the developer’s efforts have been concentrated into the protagonist, Amila. She is an anime girl with big boobs. She looks perfectly presentable (though there’s noticeable fuzziness from those PC assets being compressed to work on Switch), and you unlock an impressive range of costumes and underwear for her. The underwear is, of course, critically important because that’s the whole point of this game.
As Amila takes damage in combat, her clothing tears away to eventually reveal her lacies, and here is where Demon Sword becomes inexplicable as a Switch release. Over on the PC, it goes so much further than that. Amila’s clothing can tear off entirely. When she is totally naked, any of the enemies that have a grapple attack (and that’s a lot of them), will begin to violate her when they successfully latch on to her. Different enemies go about that in different ways, but if Amila doesn’t escape, things go exactly the way you imagine they would for her. On top of that, losing boss battles sometimes results in “special” game over scenes.
Yes, that’s exactly as rapey as it all sounds (and coming from the developer of Seed of the Dead should be no surprise whatsoever). There’s no other way to frame this than it’s creepy as hell, and it’s not my idea of something that’s either sexy or funny, but I’m well aware that it does slot into more than a few people’s things that they like. The point here is, however, that it was primarily this pornographic content that bought into on the PC. In fact, it was the entire point of the experience. Take it out and you’re just left with really annoying enemies that constantly pin Amila down and force you to button mash to escape.
Of course, the Nintendo Switch version of Demon Sword has all that “erotica” removed. Being able to zoom the camera right up to Amila’s crotch in photo mode to admire her panties is the furthest this version of the game goes. The developers knew that they could never get their full “artistic vision” onto the console. This means that the developers seem to think that the gameplay stands on its own merits.
Sorry, devs. You are very wrong about that. Demon Sword Incubus may technically work. But it’s not inspiring or interesting. It’s not even good. Most egregiously of all, though is that it lacks the one thing people bought the game for. In a very real sense, buying Demon Sword on Switch is like buying a porn DVD with the nudity and sex cut out. What’s left when you do that?