It’s been great to see an influx of 90s-inspired shooters hit PCs and consoles over the last few years, with titles like Ion Fury, Strafe, Hellbound, and DUSK offering players the chance to get a nostalgic shooting fix as they blast through hordes of enemies with classic weaponry. Well, Demon Pit is the latest release to bring that old-school style of shooting back to consoles, with players tasked with taking on demons that’ve spawned straight from the pits of hell. It manages to capture the vibe of a classic 90s first-person shooter perfectly too, but unfortunately lacks the replayability and variety to keep players hooked in for the long term.
Demon Pit plays like a classic first-person shooting horde mode, with players tasked with battling through waves of enemies in an ever-changing arena, all whilst racking up points with each kill and stringing together quick-combos to boost their multiplier. Your arsenal will constantly improve as you battle on with the likes of a shotgun, machine gun, grenade launcher, flame thrower and plasma rifle on offer as you work through each wave of enemies, whilst the arena itself will change up with additional obstacles and hazardous traps put in your path as you go on. If you die, you’re placed on the leaderboard, and then start again to see if you can progress that bit further and improve upon your score.
There’s no doubting that Demon Pit manages to capture the vibe of a classic first-person shooter, with its visuals, enemies, and weapon choice feeling like they could’ve come straight out of the likes of DOOM or Quake. The gunplay feels very similar too, with an emphasis based on moving around quickly, avoiding incoming enemy fire, and blasting foes from all angles – obviously, there’s no iron-sight on offer, so you’ve got to be quick and careful when it comes to aiming your shots. Of course, you’ve got to keep yourself healed with the health-kits that respawn on certain waves, whilst you’ll also have to keep collecting ammo if you want to constantly use your more powerful weapons. It just offers the sort of shooting experience that you’d expect from a shooter from the 90s, so fans looking for a nostalgic fix will certainly enjoy its fun and quick-paced gunplay.
One neat feature of Demon Pit comes with the grappling hooks, with allows players to sling themselves across the map by using special glowing points that are scattered across the environment. It allows you to pull yourself out of the path of an incoming horde of enemies, seek safety on higher ground, or even avoid one of the traps that come in some waves – basically, its use is essential for players for who want to survive the game’s many hazards. That being said, the fact that one of the enemies is a flying skull means that being high won’t keep you safe for too long, but it’s nice to have a moment’s solace to compose yourself and plot out your next course of action.
Whilst Demon Pit does have an addictive formula where you’ll want to see yourself racking up those high scores and progressing further through the game, I couldn’t help but to find myself getting a little bored the more I played. Each wave plays out exactly the same each time in regards to the arena layout and the enemies you face, whilst the hell-like environment itself doesn’t change up either – you’ll just be seeing and doing a lot of the same things over and over again with each subsequent attempt. It’d be something if there was a multiplayer mode on offer, but with single player the only way to play it’s easy to find yourself getting a bit bored of Demon Pit’s repetitive gameplay cycleafter an hour or so of playing.
Demon Pit manages to capture the classic first-person shooter vibe perfectly with its old-school visuals and frantic gunplay, but it lacked the substance and variety to keep me hooked in for the long term. It’s a fun game, sure, but when you’re battling across the same arena and tackling the same foes in similar circumstances time and time again it starts to get old quick.
If you’re after a shooter you can play in quick and small bursts that feels old-school, Demon Pit will probably tick a lot of boxes for you. If you’re looking for something varied that’ll keep you playing for hours on end though, you may want to look elsewhere.
Developer: DoomCube, Psychic Software
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC