The Devil Within: Satgat | Early Access review

by on April 8, 2024

Metroidvania fans have been eating good for some time now, and it’s the kind of genre that rarely puts out two games the same in quick succession. Just this year alone we’ve had Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown, Ultros, Minishoot Adventures, Ender Magnolia: Bloom in the Mist – and now this, The Devil Within: Satgat.

Set in a cyberpunk Samurai world once powered by divine magic that has now become corrupt, it follows Kim Rip, a member of the Royal Guard who himself has become corrupted by the Crimson Oil, and finds himself possessed by a devil of his own. This spirit acts as a guide of sorts, leading Kim on a quest to eradicate the source of the corruption, the Ebon Sting. Or so it would seem.

The Devil Within is also a Soulslike, and Kim must find campfires at which to rest in order to level up. Character profession is deep and interesting, as each level you gain rewards you with colour coded energy to be used in 7 different skill trees. Each one adjusts different stats and affords different abilities. The Agility tree, for instance, affects how Kim dodges, while Toughness adds skills to his parry. It’s intricate and unique, with an option to respec return for a payment of the Souls-esque currency of engrams.

The Devil Within: Satgat

Some abilities are passive, while others add special moves into Kim’s repertoire. Dash attacks, special parries, and spectacular sword techniques soon build together into a fluid, dynamic combat system. A decent variety of enemies (at least so far) calls upon a combination of ranged and melee combat using Kim’s katana and shotgun, both of which can be replaced and upgraded. Your dash has i-frames to carry you through enemy attacks, but it and your special moves are limited by the stamina meter. Overexertion will leave Kim vulnerable for a second or two, and you only have limited heals to replenish health.

The Devil Within: Satgat has a pretty standard structure in terms of level design. You’ll backtrack a lot, opening up shortcuts back to rest points and returning to older areas with new powers and tools. A lot of the early game involves removing huge balls of gunk, opening the way to the first few boss fights. The bosses are more or less what you’d expect: large encounters with telegraphed attacks to either dodge or parry. The Devil Within doesn’t aim to reinvent the wheel here, but offers intense, challenging fights that allow you to make use of all your fancy tricks.

The Devil Within: Satgat

Being early access, The Devil Within has a few kinks that need ironing out as the rest of the game is released. Movement can occasionally feel a little too heavy, for one, but this is a very minor complaint. At present there’s no English dub for the voices, either. It’d also be nice to have a bit more of an explanation for what items are or when to use them, as you get a brief item description the first time you pick something up and then nothing else besides the flavour text. Some of the cutscene animations are a little stiff, too, and look better as still images.

But these very minor issues, really. The Devil Within is, at its core, a very enjoyable, very well-balanced Soulslike Metroidvania that should only improve throughout the early access period. It also features music from Matt Heafy of Trivium, which is a perfect match for the brutal, neo-futuristic, apocalyptic environment design across the three stages here. Whether or not you choose to buy early access games or not is up to you, but The Devil Within: Satgat has plenty of gameplay to get stuck into right now, with a lot more promised over the next 9 to 12 months.

The Devil Within: Satgat launches in Steam Early Access on April 9.