If you love retro virtual pinball as much as I do then you're in for a treat with Demon's Tilt. Pump a few quarters in and let's begin!
Demon's Tilt was clearly inspired by Compile's classic pinball games Alien Crush, Devil's Crush, and Jaki Crush. Although I haven't played the latter, I've enjoyed the first 2 quite a lot via their TurboGrafx Virtual Console releases on Wii and still play them once in a while. Thankfully, Demon's Tilt does a decent job of reviving their formula and adapting them with modern implementations.
The first thing that impressed me with Demon's Tilt is its awesome old-school visuals. Everything is superbly animated and pixel-perfect and it makes for quite a feast for the eyes. On top of that, there's an authentic Genesis-style soundtrack that plays throughout which rocked my socks off. With all of that being said, I found the presentation to be a bit too sterile when compared to the Crush games. More specifically, those games felt gritty, organic, and visceral while Demon's Tilt is much more modern and clean-cut in its presentation, especially with the overuse of visual effects and out-of-place features like the occasional 3D-renderred object.
Presentation aside, Demon's Tilt plays fantastically with tight and genuine pinball action. It only consists of 1 table which features 3 tiers yet it consistently changes as you progress. It also incorporates elements from shoot 'em ups as enemies will fire clouds of projectiles around the table. Speaking of which, you'll be able to face creatures such as a Manticore, Phalanx, Hermit, High Priestess, Shub Calamari, Insane Homunculi, and Sacrificed Goat. Each one has their own attacks and being able to topple them effectively will require a lot of practice. Plus, there are tons of missions to take on such as initiating Rituals and multi-ball and there's a nifty magic system, too.
Although Demon's Tilt is certainly a solid pinball game and worth playing for fans of the genre, it does have some issues. One of the most prominent ones is that I regularly found there to be too much visual confusion and ambiguity. Even though there aren't many options from the main menu, you can access more in-depth settings via the in-game pause menu but even after tinkering with things like zoom and applying a visibility trail, I still lost track of the ball due to the flashy effects and the fact that you regularly warp around the table.
Last but not least, mastering Demon's Tilt requires a lot of patience and practice because there are very little explanations. All you get is a Quick Guide which mentions 6 very basic tips while other pinball games include in-depth instructions and extensive descriptions of each of the table's features. I would have loved to see that implemented here as it would have taken a lot of the guesswork out.
After playing Demon's Tilt for a while, I wanted to dive back into the 1990 classic Devil's Crush. Although this is a very well-done experience, it doesn't quite live up to the classics that Compile created decades prior.
- + Tight and rewarding pinball gameplay
- + Intricate table design with loads of exciting features, enemies, and missions
- + Great retro graphics and rocking music
- - Lacks the organic feel of its inspirations
- - Occasional visual confusion and ambiguity
- - Could use more instructions