This Game Feels Like an Underground Rock Zine. That’s a Good Thing.

Demon Chic feels like something my teenage niece would make, like an alt-comix zine, photocopied at a Kinko's and stapled over a couple of beers with friends. (I hope you’re not drinking, young lady!) It's rough but the amount of charm and humor pulsing through the mobile game can't be denied.

The game from Michael and Christine Frauenhofer features polyamorous, cross-dressing drugged out sorcerers as the good guys, a glammed-out demon lord as the big bad and great, lo-fi buzzed-out rock—and some rap, too— that sounds like it was recorded in a bedroom. This is what a first game should feel like, full of the urge to get seen and get touched. I’ve played Demon Chic on and off for the last few months and the thing that keeps me coming back is the sense that I’m traveling through someone else’s very specific creative impulses. It’s a feeling that’s all too rare in playing video games.


The game's also made me think about how much emphasis is put on polish in the making of video games. Everything the player touches has to be a little slice of perfection says the prevailing wisdom. However, buffing various elements to a high sheen takes some of the idiosyncrasy out of them, leaving you with a heaping pile of bland. No, don't get me wrong: the parts of Demon Chic that need to work—the word-making spell battles and the rest of it—do in fact work. But much of the game feels wonky and weird and that's to the benefit of the overall experience. There were probably a few hangovers and all-nighters logged while making Demon Chic. And to that I say: good job, everyone. Keep that kind of behavior up and put it into your next games.

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