“I feel the demons rage, I must clean them all away.”
Y’know what Pinball reminds me of? Blackpool piers, with that bloody Who song playing in the background. The way the chiming guitars clash with the florescent lights the town is known for. The smell of last week’s vomit on the trodden carpet lurking in the enhanced nostrils that the deaf, dumb, and blind boy Tommy possesses. It’s a feeling that was bought back from repressed childhoods that came up during my playthrough’s of Demon’s Tilt.
This is the debut title from Wiznwar, otherwise known as Adam Ferrando, who released this on Steam Early Access at the beginning of 2019. Collaborations were also made with FLARB, a publisher/developer who has meddled in all types of gaming mediums. AR, VR, and video gaming itself, with Demons Tilt being their first known standard video game project. Other than that, FLARB has worked on the title for the Gear VR, and the Oculus Go, a feat in and of itself.
The plot of Demons Tilt? Uhh, devilry, a table made of brimstone! Corruption oozes from the craftmanship, a fire like no other burning inside. Walking up to the table, you see the discolored and vague portrait of a sleeping mistress, and her name? Lilith. Compelled by her hypnotic beauty, you pop a pinball in and wake the lass up, with the table hosting several a cosmic horror. Good luck, I guess.
Now, you can consider this a sin to the Hawaiian shirt-wearing, beer gut-having, Lynx Africa-spraying god of tilting tables, but I cannot stand pinball. It’s the very definition of “delusions of grandeur,” with its stupid overblown scores, hidden bonuses that rely entirely on luck, and just the general idea that something so banal has reached a cultural high-point in tie-ins.
Recently, however, there’s been an uptick in these games that are “Pinball meets X!” Yoku’s Island Express winning the TGA award against a slew of Nintendo titles, Creature in the Well being a weird underground hit, etc. Demon’s Tilt is the next in line of the new style. The result?
Instead of the other two aforementioned titles fully welding an entire genre onto the concept of Pinball, Demon’s Tilt is heavily on the Pinball side, with a few doohickeys attached. For one, some of the sub-tables contain enemies that shoot projectiles that can impact the path of the pinball, and for two, these enemies can be destroyed by you simply smashing your ball into them.
It’s a simple trip at first, and there’s not a lot of substantial mechanics added on top of it. As with these silly tables, there are special ramps that commit a challenge to the player, requiring you to destroy some of the enemies or hit a specific ramp X amount of times. It’s stuff that’s easy, almost devilishly so, if you can grasp the concept of this game being an absolute tease.
Demon’s Tilt’s main gimmick is something usually forbidden in every type of Pinball game, and that’s tilting the table. While it isn’t actually a table—it’s a three-story cathedral filled with Joe Mad sketches—you can still alter the path of the ball with a little nudge, which never fails to seem inane.