Review – Grim Guardians: Demon Purge

I would have never guessed that a franchise like Gal*Gun would eventually have a few spinoffs under its belt that, uh… don’t look at feel like Gal*Gun. The franchise is known for its very unique take on the light gun genre, being a very “love it or hate it, we don’t care about your opinion” series due to its premise and themes. Grim Guardians: Demon Purge is NOT one of those games. In fact, if it wasn’t for some of the folks at WayTooManyGames, I would have had played the entire game without ever knowing this pretty decent take on old-school Castlevania was technically part of said franchise.

Grim Guardians: Demon Purge Gun

Your machine gun is weak, but you can attack from a distance. You also have infinite ammo.

Grim Guardians: Demon Purge uses characters from the Gal*Gun series in a very subtle way, believe it or not, throwing them in a Castlevania-esque setting and premise. This is no metroidvania, though: this plays just like all games released prior to Symphony of the Night. They are level-based, they have very minute RPG elements, and you can revert back to a previous level upon learning a new ability, in order to acquire items and unveil secrets. Simple, effective, perfect fit for a portable.      

Grim Guardians: Demon Purge

A rabbit playing a guitar from hell inside a theater. Can’t say you’re not a creative game, Grim Guardians: Demon Purge.

Owing to its Castlevania III roots, you can control two different characters, each one with different weapons, skills, and stats. One of them is stronger, but limited to using a melee weapon, while the other has weaker, but ranged attacks. Each one has different sub weapons as well, ranging from diagonally-targeting knives, to origami cranes that can be used as platforms. The controls are pretty good, being fluid and responsive. There is even a neat compass system, telling you the proper direction to aim towards the boss of that level. A bit useless, considering the game’s linearity, but hey, I applaud the accessibility. Finally, Grim Guardians: Demon Purge is fully playable in co-op, making it stand out from other platformers in the market.

Grim Guardians: Demon Purge Melee

Melee is stronger, but riskier. You’re frail and your health bar is visibly smaller.

I was impressed with how well-designed Grim Guardians: Demon Purge ended up being. Though nothing about it wowed me, I found little to complain about its level design and presentation. Its art style is a pretty blend between 32-bit Castlevania (namely, Symphony of the Night, of course) and slight touches of anime. Even if its characters are kawaii as hell, none of the enemies are, and despite the Gal*Gun pedigree, Grim Guardians: Demon Purge never attempts to shove unnecessary “fan service” onscreen. The music and voice acting are also pretty good as well. I was impressed with the fact the game is fully voiced in English.

In fact, what little I have to complain about the game is just a handful of pretty annoying difficulty spikes, and the occasional cheap death due to recoil damage throwing you off a platform. With that being said, the game gives you enough means to balance things out. You can amass more lives by killing tons of enemies, you have strong screen-clearing moves, and if one of your girls dies, you can use the surviving one to reach the place of your ally’s demise, reviving her with CPR and avoiding the loss of a full life.

Grim Guardians: Demon Purge Bat

I am pretty sure this was supposed to be a nod to the first boss in the first Castlevania game.

All in all, I was really surprised with Grim Guardians: Demon Purge. It’s a neat love letter to Castlevania III with pretty good controls and presentation, and just enough Gal*Gun elements to please fans, but not enough to weird the rest of the populace out. In fact, the fan service is so subtle you’ll barely notice it if you’re not into the franchise. Inti Creates knocked it out of the park with a game that feels right at home on the Nintendo Switch. What little I have to complain about is so minute it feels like nitpicking. If you’re a fan of Castlevania, but are fed up with the sheer volume of metroidvanias flooding the indie scene nowadays, Grim Guardians: Demon Purge is the perfect pick.


Graphics: 8.5

A great blend of 32-bit pixel art, gothic imagery, and just a slight touch of kawaii waifus.

Gameplay: 9.0

A modernized and more fluid take on the classic control scheme from old-school Castlevania games. I hate the inclusion of recoil damage, resulting in some cheap deaths, but that’s basically my only complaint with the gameplay.

Sound: 8.5

It doesn’t have a lot of voice acting, but what little is featured in Grim Guardians: Demon Purge is actually fully localized. The music is also pretty good overall.

Fun Factor: 9.0

I have little to complain about Grim Guardians: Demon Purge. It’s an excellent love letter to Castlevania III with great controls, presentation, and just the right amount of fanservice to please fans and not annoy everybody else.

Final Verdict: 9.0

Grim Guardians: Demon Purge is available now on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PC, and NintendoSwitch.

Reviewed on Nintendo Switch.

A copy of Grim Guardians: Demon Purge was provided by the publisher.