It’s been a jam-packed year of high profile releases, leaving few breaks for our free time and finances to recover. Because of this, some games are likely to fly under the radar, meaning great experiences may not receive the visibility they deserve. After spending time with The Devil Within: Satgat‘s newest demo, I truly hope Newcore Games‘ side-scrolling Souls-like doesn’t find itself in that particular category because it’s packed with flashy combat, sharp visuals and a whole lot of promise, if the developer takes time to tighten up a few areas.
The Devil Within: Satgat puts players behind the sword as Kim Rip, a Royal Guard hell-bent on uncovering the reason for the sudden demonic presence spilling out of the Ebon Sting tower. Of course, fighting with demons is no easy task. As Friedrich Nietzsche said, he who fights monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. I guess Mr. Rip hadn’t heard that one. Our katana-wielding hero takes a different approach, opting to let the darkness in so that he may combat it.
The newest demo for The Devil Within: Satgat puts Rip’s infernal capabilities on display, alongside his already impressive swordwork. As mentioned earlier, this is a side-scroller action game with a 2.5D design. Those familiar with Metroidvanias will immediately be familiar with the framework present here. Players will partake in platforming as they navigate various environments, stunningly rendered thanks to a recent upgrade to Unreal Engine 5 and intermittently punctuated by songs crafted by Trivium’s Matt Heafy. That exploration constantly puts the protagonist in contact with all forms of otherworldly baddies, banking level-ups at bonfires between the action.
Combat is slick and lethal. There are weak and strong attacks (read: light and heavy). The latter is used at the cost of AP slots, which regenerate and act as The Devil Within: Satgat‘s take on the standard stamina system. Weak attacks can stun an enemy, whereas strong attacks add knockback to the equation. Obviously, as with all Souls-likes, a purely offensive strategy is unlikely to succeed. Dodges and parries are available to round out the defensive options. The dodges currently feel fairly tight in the demo, but perfect parries seem to be in need of more fine-tuning. It’s hard to say whether the issue lies in the parry window, the lacking enemy attack telegraphing, or both. If you manage a perfect parry and have AP to burn, a concentrated counterattack should pop up allowing for further enemy punishment. But this mechanic didn’t pop consistently for any of the aforementioned reasons.
This basic combat outline is further augmented by a wide array of skills spanning several categories. Players earn different “factors” throughout the game, which can be spent in their corresponding hub in the Tech Tree. For example, the Swordsmanship skill tree is all about unlocking sword skills and its nodes can be unlocked with Aggression Factors. Physical Ability, on the other hand, requires Bio Factors. There looks to be a fair bit of customization in terms of how you want to build up Kim Rip, but we will have to wait until the full launch to see how rewarding the different trees truly are. Based on the descriptions present, it sounds promising.
The Devil Within: Satgat is shaping up to be a solid diversion for those seeking their next challenging conquest. Aside from some wordy custcenes and a far too punishing boss named Lee Joong — we’re talking 90% health-deleting attacks — Newcore Games could have a winner on its hands here. Given their responsiveness to the community feedback already filling the Steam forums, I’d say the game’s full release state is looking bright. We’ll know more when The Devil Within: Satgat solidifies its launch date.