I had absolutely no idea what Cereza and the Lost Demon, Nintendo’s surprise prequel to the Bayonetta trilogy, would be like. After playing it for a few weeks, I’m still not sure I can explain it. But it’s definitely one of Nintendo’s most exciting Switch games in a while. Am I the only one getting a Zelda vibe while playing?
Violent, insidious, combat-based and surreal Bayonetta gameplay. Cereza and the Lost Demon looks like a comic book game for kids by comparison. With storytelling, page turning, lush hand-drawn illustrations, and aerial views that weave through tangled jungle mazes, it’s not frenzied at all. It’s a laid-back puzzle adventure through a spooky fairy tale kingdom, with a demon-possessed stuffed animal as its companion.
It’s also not a cooperative game, but the mechanics look like it. You control Cereza (the young Bayonetta) and her Cheshire demon companion at the same time, with the left controller moving one and the right controller moving the other. Solving puzzles and defeating certain enemies requires smart teamwork between the two and a bit of patience to figure things out (and control).
Discovering hidden treasures and little secrets is also part of the game, as well as unlocking additional abilities and upgrades by finding items or earning rewards by solving mini-world challenges in fairy space. The lyrical soundtrack, along with the riffs and little bells when you discover something new, reminds me of what it feels like to peruse Zelda games. Cereza and the Lost Demon are limited to the chaotic jungle maps and their branching paths, so this is not an open world. But the game’s independent spirit makes it ideal to tackle in about an hour, like reading a chapter of a book. But Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is coming.
In fact, May 12. That’s in less than two months. If you only buy one Switch game in the near future, this is definitely the game to look forward to. However, when I replayed Breath of the Wild to prepare for it, I also found that Cereza’s adventures gave me a little of that spirit of fun, too. Not the open world part, but the information gathering part and solving the small dungeons. And I like the game in its own right over even the Bayonetta games, mainly because it’s a bit less combat-focused.
Nintendo already has a free demo of the game for you to download, so that’s probably the best option for you. At $60, it also seems expensive for what it’s worth. However, if this game goes on sale soon, it’s a great option to consider.