Grim Guardians: Demon Purge review

by on February 22, 2023
Release Date

February 23, 2023


When I discovered that a Castlevania inspired platformer in the Gal Gun universe was releasing soon, I have to admit I had my concerns. Playing through and reviewing Gal Gun Double Peace certainly wasn’t really a highlight of last year (mainly because of the focus on ogling half naked schoolgirls) so playing another game even slightly related to that perv ’em up didn’t particularly excite me. It turns out I was wrong to be concerned though, because Grim Guardians: Demon Purge is actually pretty darn great.

When the usual pesky demon causing chaos in the world of Gal Gun fuses the real world with a demonic dimension, demon hunters Shinobu and Maya are the only ones who can save the day. Their school has turned into a fairly familiar looking spooky castle, and the evil Kurona is waiting at the top for the duo. It’ll take a lot of platforming and monster murdering to reach her though, so you’d better get started.

A screenshot of Grim Guardians

If you’ve played a Castlevania game before you’ll feel right at home here. Each level is packed full of hazards and horror themed baddies, and with your arsenal of weapons you’ll have to take them out if you want to survive. At any time you can swap between Shinobu and Maya, and they have completely different attacks and abilities. Shinobu uses a demon hunting gun which is great at hitting enemies far away, whereas Maya is more melee based and because of that deals way more damage. Switching between the two is the key for surviving in the castle, and as long as you approach enemies with the right gal you’ll be able to avoid too much trouble.

If you do struggle and one of the dynamic duo die (say that three times fast) you’ll be sent back to the last checkpoint as the remaining girl. If you can get back to the place your ally perished and revive her then everything should be fine, but if you die before then you’ll lose a precious life. It’s an interesting system, although admittedly one that often means you end up fighting bosses without a fully healed team over and over again.

The best thing about having two protagonists though is undoubtedly the powerful team attack they can unleash. By filling your spirit meter by collecting doodads, you’ll be able to activate this and fire an incredibly slow bullet that on impact decimates anyone it hits. Getting the timing right is tricky, but once you manage it even bosses will lose most their health.

A screenshot of Grim Guardians

Mastering all your special moves is key when dealing with the end of level boss fights. These screen filling horrors let loose massive attacks you’ll need to get used to dodging if you want to survive, and figuring out which of the girls can deal the most damage in a given situation is crucial. Every single boss is fun to fight, and (just like in Castlevania) they are absolutely the highlight of the game.

It’s worth mentioning that although I keep comparing Grim Guardians to Castlevania, that doesn’t mean the game is a Metroidvania. The structure has more in common with the earlier Castlevania games, where you fight your way through individual (and generally fairly linear) stages until you arrive at a boss and batter it accordingly. You do get some new sub weapons as you progress, but realistically the game is just a series of levels to beat (with more than a few nods to Konami’s legendary series sprinkled throughout).

The sub weapons are all really interesting though, and have a variety of uses. Some are just weapons like grenades that can damage through shields or a knife that flies at a handy diagonal angle, but there’s also a grappling hook, a paper crane you can use as a platform and even a doll that can destroy spikes. Using these powers costs you some of your magic meter, but doing so will often lead you to safer routes or to girls that need rescuing who will restore your health.

A screenshot of Grim Guardians

There’s one small issue I had with Grim Guardians that I have to mention, that despite seeming fairly insignificant really affected my enjoyment. Every time you attack or use a sub weapon the girls either make a little screaming noise or say a one liner. This became too much after all of ten minutes with the game, and honestly meant I played most of it muted. When I think of Castlevania a big part of that package is the sensational music, so having to turn down the volume entirely feels pretty poor.

Although nothing like as perverted as Gal Gun, you do end up spending the second half of the game looking for porn and bikinis to help arouse the one male character into being able to help out. The story is pretty much entirely worth ignoring in general, so you’d be forgiven for skipping any narrative with a press of the plus button there, that’s for sure.

Grim Guardians: Demon Purge is an entertaining action platformer that caught me entirely off guard. Despite being based on a game that’s more “fan service” than gameplay, this retro style game is packed full of tough but fair bosses, interesting weapons and tricky platforming. It has a few small issues, but ultimately, anyone into old school platforming will find a lot to love here.


An entertaining retro platformer
Lots of interesting sub weapons
The bosses are great
Swapping between the girls is a great mechanic


The voice lines are beyond irritating
Fighting the bosses with one injured girl is annoying
Retains a little of the Gal Gun "fanservice"

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

Grim Guardians has a few issues, but ultimately is a fantastic retro style platformer that fills the Castlevania shaped hole in my heart.