Daemon Detective Gaiden Review: Gamepad Suggested, Fun Included

I’ll be honest with you: I’m not a hardcore gamer. I don’t play a lot of casual games, but at the same time I’m not a person who sinks much more money than I think I’ll need into games. (Remember, though: being a gamer means never having to rationalize what may or may not be an impulse buy.) Therefore, when I play a game online I typically do so using a keyboard—because why not? Then I played Daemon Detective Gaiden. Among many other things, I am a fan of platformers and retro anything. With that in mind, I came in ready to love this game.

I was met by a fun combination of classic platformer elements from games like Super Mario Bros. and the early Megaman games. Taking control of Yal and the three other playable members of the Daemon Detective Agency, your adventures begin in New Magma City where 120 paintings have gone missing—the work of daemons loose in the city. So, like any good adventurer, you’re tasked with using your wits and your skills to track down the paintings and stop the daemons (don’t worry, you’re paid by the hour).

As is my style, I jumped in with both feet on this one, and I’ll be blunt: you’re probably going to want to use a gamepad of some sort when playing this game. DDG offers a solid selection of ways to customize your controls, but in hindsight a joystick would have made this game slightly easier on the hands. Make no mistake, though: DDG is no Sunday drive no matter what your whip is. You’ll be put to the test here in reaction speed, creativity, power-up awareness, and every other hallmark of classic platforming.

To alleviate the difficulty, you’ll have plenty of cool power-ups to help you along the way, including swords, bombs, whips, and a cat suit. So, yeah, you’re gonna be all right, especially with the occasional word of advice from a penguin. Plus, if you’re ever feeling too good to slum it on a lower level, there are multiple difficulty settings so you can always push yourself.


Developer Yal has done a fine job of building a world that beckons the player to explore, and not in the typical sense of playing through the stages. The changing environments, from levels of more man-made machinations to snowy mountains, feature music that helps to ameliorate any sense of frustration one might have. Even the Game Over tone you hear when you take a fatal shuriken to the upper abdomen is kind of nice to hear in its own right. All and all, the music is something I implore players to take note of, as it does help not only with the atmosphere of the game depending on the world, but also just in terms of helping invoke that nostalgic platformer feeling.

DDG, with its impressive cast of characters and items, also boasts what a lot of games often lack: replayability. Featuring multiple endings and character-exclusive achievements, there’s plenty to come back for. Combine those factors with the already impressive world of DDG and even more hidden goodies and Daemon Detective Gaiden is a game any platformer fan will enjoy, and may even make some into a platformer fans by the end of it.