Demon Gaze Extra is yet another game from the PS Vita catalog that’s been enhanced and ported to the Nintendo Switch. What gives it the “Extra“ name are some quality of life improvements such as the autopilot system and toggleable fast battles, a new class that’s unlocked halfway through the game, and a battle retry option in case mistakes have been made. They’re all welcomed additions to the game, but sooner or later you’re going to learn it’s normally a losing battle despite the retry system.
Like if he had appeared out of thin air, the protagonist was first sighted in an abandoned, monster-infested dungeon. With a worn-out sword in hand, he was forced to face the weakest demon that gave chase to him. Upon his victory, he was brought back to a mansion and began his life as a bounty hunter, sworn to defeat and capture demons as a Demon Gazer, individuals who possess a rare eye capable of controlling demons.
The game maintains the balance of a serious tone, comedic moments, and of course, fan service. Things can be fine one moment, and suddenly, a lifeless girl can walk past the screen in her underwear; you can be heading to the inn manager’s room for something important and instead overhear your underlings getting their butts handed to them.
Demon Gaze Extra will take you on a journey through several dungeons in first-person style. It tasks you with the objective of liberating the many summoning circles of each demon until engaging them in combat. You’ll have to scout each labyrinth for these summoning circles while fighting off monsters in old school turn-based combat. The gameplay loop does get dull but has strong events to alleviate this.
When not exploring labyrinths, you’ll find yourself in your central hub: the Dragon Princess Inn. Here, you can interact with other characters, accept quests, purchase/sell items, hire new party members, strengthen your characters, and enhance your items. Before you can return to this base after a tough day’s work in the dungeons, you’ll have to pay the escalating rental fee.
You’re not stuck with a multi-colored-eye protagonist in Demon Gaze Extra. There’s a generous number of avatars to choose from and use. I was surprised by the large number, but later realized the selection isn’t solely for the protagonist. The game has you build up party members from this same list, which makes more sense. Even if you tire of the chosen avatar, you’re free to re-select another during the playthrough.
You can have a catgirl with an axe as a wizard, a magical elf as a paladin, or even a mighty dwarf as a petite healer. The game provides all of the flexibility you can dream of with a total of eight classes and six races. Despite any of the character designs you choose to be the protagonist, they will always be classified as male. It is indeed strange, but likely the result of it being too much effort to change in an old game.
The customizability extends to each of your party member’s voices. There are a total of 60 voices to choose from, evenly split between voices classified as male and female. These voices range from high pitch to deep, and it’s convenient to listen to the audio before making a final decision. The game gives you the ability to hand-select one of these voices for each member between three categories: when initiating an attack, receiving a hit, or falling in combat.
Expect to find the classic dungeon crawling gameplay in Demon Gaze Extra. Traverse a number of dungeons in first-person seeking out items, summoning circles, and a range of boss battle symbols. This must be done while bumping into the old school random enemy encounters (which can be annoying to some) and trying to avoid HP reducing hazards. It’s a dream come true for players seeking out this nostalgic gameplay but may need some adjusting time for others.
A map is drawn out with each step taken through a dungeon. Exploration is encouraged with the unique abilities captured demons possess and secret treasure coordinates to locate. Traveling through the dungeons isn’t always as simple as it seems and there are different elements that set some of the dungeons apart from the others. Although unexplained, coordinates are easy to pick up when expanding the map.
Similar to the classic dungeon crawling, Demon Gaze Extra does not drift too far from the classic turn-based combat. You play with a party of up to five characters and an optional demon to aid the team during battle. The demon you summon will act on its own while you dictate the commands of the party members. This classic first-person turn-based combat is fine for the most part but falls short the way it’s been implemented.
If mashing an A button repeatedly isn’t your style, Demon Gaze Extra will sadly disappoint in this regard. It’s not because you always have to take caution with your actions; it’s because each action you execute isn’t played on auto. Each of these turns will wait until a confirmation (a press of the A button) that you have finished reading. It drags out the duration of a turn longer than it should be, together with the option prompt at the end of each selection.
Rejoice because the game includes an option to speed up battles. You can sit back and relax while the game does the combat for you on autopilot, prioritizing pre-selected moves. It helps with the old fashion grinding, but mostly comes in handy when you do not want to bother with pressing the same button “a million times“. Thanks to it, I’ve become content with the game’s combat system.
While normal foes shouldn’t provide much of a challenge, the enraged bosses may frustrate some. The game can be challenging despite the chosen difficulty mode—and there are four of them. What makes these bosses fearsome is the gimmick under their sleeves. One’s speed is so high, it’s troublesome to land a hit unless you lower its evasion. Another will shift up your party, forcing the hard hitters to the back so they are unable to attack while your helpless mages get front row seats to a slaughter.
Demon Gaze Extra is a game where you’re going to have to invest in grinding for higher levels and better equipment. Strategizing will also be key to subduing the bosses in this game. Learning their elements and building up your team to seize the advantage is the motivator for this game. If you’re not willing to put in the effort, this game won’t return the favor to please your appetite.
Unique to the game and an interesting concept for it is the summoning of an optional demon. It’s a double-edged sword because it can greatly aid you during combat, but the tide can quickly turn if you run out of Demon Points (DP). You will have to carefully monitor your Demon Points during battle as it slowly decreases and properly utilize the additional demon skills, otherwise ends up facing its wrath.
Quests can be accepted at the Hall in this game. What I liked about these quests is that there’s a bit more depth to them. It’s unlike the typical RPG where you accept as many as you’re able to with only the text description to go off of. Tackling some of these quests is also vital to advance further in the game’s story and is not only meant to be money/item grinders.
Accepting a quest will have you seek out the requester for more information. After a lengthy dialogue, you can then set out on your journey to complete the quest. What might annoy some is that the quests aren’t always straightforward to have you immediately complete them. It may take time and some you may even forget about them, eventually stumbling upon the objective and clearing them.
Even though there isn’t much to visually see in terms of fan service, it’s still strong in this game. Despite the game forcing a male gender role on all of its characters, you can obtain and equip panties on all playable characters. Then you have the panty sniffing pervert, the lewd bathhouse caretaker, and a manager who undresses right in front of you and allows you to give her a good poke. The list does not stop there, with many quirky fan service to boot.
Graphics and Soundtrack
It doesn’t seem like Demon Gaze Extra noticeably polishes up on its graphics when compared to its older PlayStation Vita counterpart. It might have been made to look fine on the Nintendo Switch, at most. There won’t be any impressive animated combat scenes in this game. There will be some slashes across the screen, arrows representing a stat decrease, and colors acting as elemental magic. The game’s graphics shine the most in its character and enemy portraits. There are many character designs that are just stunning to look at.
The soundtrack is pretty decent and does its job well, but you may want to lower the BGM to avoid flushing out the characters’ voice acting. You’re given the choice to choose between English or Japanese voice acting, which is always a pleasant option to have. What stood out to me is the large number of different voices to choose from. Some areas where these voices can be heard are throughout the labyrinth when walking into a wall or when being hit during combat.
Demon Gaze Extra scratches that itch to return to the classic first-person dungeon crawling genre but brings even more annoyances than one would expect with it. With better quality of life improvements, the game could have been a force to be reckoned with for those seeking the classic dungeon crawler RPG. It’s still a decent game, but it may be more worth your while to wait on a discount or give it a shot if it’s the last old school dungeon crawling RPG on your radar.
Demon Gaze Extra gets a 6/10.