A game truly lost in translation
Review written by
September 12th, 2014
Just from looking at it, Demon King Box is easy to mistake for an Atlus game. From text font to art style, the game shows a strong stylistic influence from something like Knights in the Knightmare. Happily, Demon King Box doesn't live that down, bringing us a beautiful game with a soundtrack that's surprisingly well done.
Unfortunately, while art and sound are the game's best aspects, Demon King Box suffers from a poor translation and a story that struggles to make sense of itself. The game's introductory sequence greets us with text that's hard to read against its background, and the dialogue throughout the game is ridden with misplaced punctuation, poor grammar, and words that don't make sense contextually. While the story doesn't do much to justify itself on its own, these mistakes make it more difficult to do anything but skip over dialogue scenes and get straight to the battles, which, while not completely revolutionary, at least redeem the game and make it playable.
As Demon King Box is essentially a tactics RPG, battles see us sending demon pets into skirmishes under the command of a demon hero. We can send our demon pets to fight on one of three different lines, with each line displayed on the touch screen showing our demon pets as blue diamonds and enemies as red diamonds moving toward each other. The top screen shows the units as they move along their battle line, though most of our time will be spent looking at the touch screen waiting for pets to become available to send out using demon spirits and then determining which line to put them on. But, the top screen is still necessary to watch in order to see which sort of pet we should send out against the enemy; should we send a close combat fighter or an archer? We've also the option to combine foods, used otherwise for leveling units up, and demon pets to create stronger units. These types of units take up more demon spirits than usual as well as two lines on the battlefield.
The battle system still has its problems though, as tactics sometimes goes out the window and all you really need to do is overwhelm the opponent with masses of troops regardless of strengths or weaknesses.
Mechanically, Demon King Box isn't a bad game. Its combat system certainly has its merits and is engaging enough, and the visuals and music are top-notch. Yet, without a decent English translation or story worth paying attention to, Demon King Box lacks the appropriate polish to make it recommended for RPG fans, especially since you'll only spend around three hours with the game. But if you're just in it for the tactics, you might find some enjoyment from this game - even if it's just a distraction.
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