When Demon Turf launched at the tail end of 2021, it left a positive impression on us thanks to its solid platforming gameplay, retro aesthetic, and focus on speedrunning. The game fell short of true greatness due to its less-than-stellar combat mechanics, which frankly brought the whole experience down a few pegs. In a lovely surprise, publisher PlayTonic Friends has shadow-dropped a spin-off called Demon Turf: Neon Splash; think of it like stand-alone DLC, if you will!
Unlike the main game, Demon Turf: Neon Splash doesn’t feature any kind of hub area (though it does feature an optional “Playground” for you to hang out in and practice your moves). It’s far more content simply guiding the player through a series of linear levels, each more tricky than the last; make no mistake, some of the later levels can be fiendishly difficult. There are 10 normal levels in total, with an additional 10 remix levels that are even more brutal in their design.
The good news is that the levels themselves aren’t so tricky that you’re ever going to find yourself completely stuck. Their design reminded us a lot of the secret levels in Super Mario Sunshine; less open than the main game, certainly, with an almost nonsensical approach to the overall aesthetic and layout, but it helps to put a firmer focus on what the game does best: intricate platforming.
Beebz has all of her moves from the main game, including double and triple jumps, a hover ability, a rolling ability, and more. Stringing these moves together is paramount in completing the levels in the fastest way possible, and the game encourages this by including trophies based on your completion time. When you first start a level, you’ll catch a glimpse of the time required to achieve the gold trophy and wonder how on earth you’re ever going to manage such a ridiculous feat, but you’d be surprised at how quickly you learn the layout and shave those precious seconds off your time.
Crucially, Demon Turf: Neon Splash does away with the main game’s poor combat completely. Developer Fabraz should really be commended for recognising that this aspect simply wasn’t up to scratch; removing it entirely lets the game focus on the far superior platforming mechanics, making this spin-off title a frankly better experience than the main game. Despite the limited numbers of levels, the experience here is more than worth the low price of admission.
From a visual perspective, the game retains the same overall style as its predecessor, but the colours have brightened up significantly and the resolution has been given a much needed boost in handheld mode. A nice touch is that Beebz will leave behind a trail of neon paint on the ground, so when you need to restart for whatever reason you’ll have a clear view of which path you’ve taken before. Other quality of life improvements include unlimited use of the manual checkpoint system - which is more than welcome - alongside the ability to record clips of your speed running feats, so you can show off to total strangers on the internet - yay!
Ultimately, Demon Turf: Neon Splash is a much better game than its predecessor thanks to the complete removal of the underwhelming combat. Not only that, but the experience feels more focused and streamlined without the requirement of a hub world or mandatory collectibles. This is Demon Turf at its best, and we sincerely hope to see more of the same in a true sequel later down the line.