Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2
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Both wonderfully and tragically surreal, Demon Chic is quite the experience. As a game, it doesn't always work, but as a powerfully told story about the difficulties of mental illness and the effects of drug use, it's quite fascinating.
Demon Chic follows the story of three roommates as they find themselves constantly under attack by demons, ghosts, snowmen and even violent TVs. The metaphors are immediately noticeable, with it clear that the men are fighting their inner demons and the ghosts of their past. This is backed up by attacks being conducted via the creation of words. While the words might be typical gaming attacks, such as Fire and Ice, it's clear that these words and the damage they inflict demonstrate the power of aggressive language.
Later on in the game, more positive words emerge such as Rinse and Shine, potentially demonstrating the characters's escape from such difficult times. That's the great thing about Demon Chic. It feels quite open to interpretation and I've no doubt that every player will gain something different from it. Topics like gender identity, sexuality and the sense that we all have personal demons to face up to--each play a prominent role here.
Demon Chic does falter, though. While the storyline is fascinating and well worth playing to experience, the actual gameplay isn't quite as gripping. During each battle, players must drag together letters to form a word before swiping their hand across the screen to inflict damage. It works fine, but it does get a little repetitive, especially early on when there are only a couple of spells to choose from. Repeated battles, to demonstrate how persistent inner demons can be, work thematically but as a game, can frustrate.
Despite such flaws, Demon Chic still feels like an essential experience for anyone who wants to have more depth in their story lines. It's powerful stuff and sometimes deeply sad, but it's a fascinatingly surreal world to explore. Its story is so distinctive, we've used a new category--Story Quality--to highlight just how important and successful it is in Demon Chic.