Name: Book of Demons
Developer: Thing Trunk
Publisher: Thing Trunk
Released: 13th of December 2018
Platforms: Xbox One, PC
Reviewed on: PC
Acquired: A copy of this game was provided by a publisher for review purpose
Book of Demons is a hack n’ slash, action adventure RPG, in the same style of the dungeon crawlers like Diablo, Path of Exile, and Torchlight. One small change, however, is that it is going on in the Paperverse (kinda like a Paper Mario vibe) and it has linear paths throughout its dungeon layouts
Besides that, I had a blast playing through this and it was definitely interesting to try out
The story is a bit hit or miss, you get your story and lore material from the rumors of the town-goers, however, I felt like the story was less important since it was not emphasized with anything else but the rumors around town which were kind of a shame, to say the least.
The town-goers consists of the following
Sage – identifies cards for you and adds to the bestiary ( see it as a journal of creatures you meet in the cathedral)
Barmaid – brews a stew from ingredients found in the dungeons to give you prizes
Healer – heals you fully up, and charges the death rage skill
Fortune-teller – upgrades, fuses and disenchants your cards, for either getting stronger or getting materials
You have three big segments in the Cathedral each with an end segment boss which relates to the story and lore (I will get into details later but will mention bosses for each segment here)
The Maze – the home of the Demonic Cook. He prepares meals made of human flesh for his evil master (cliché stuff but it checks out)
The Catacombs – This is where the anti-pope lives, where he creates armies of the dead to plunder the town and murder innocent people
Hell – Now this is pretty self-explanatory, it is literally hell, where “Satan” (he is called Archdemon in this) is located, which is also the final boss of the game.
For the story, there is not much to go into but to sum up.
A dark force wreaks havoc upon the town. As the hero, you have to stop the source of evil, by venturing through the layers of the cathedral, all the way down to the Archdemon to stop his evil plan from becoming a reality. Pretty simple, but it works.
Now for the graphics part, it is unique and gives a fresh kick to the genre, I mean, who would’ve thought to use Paper Mario like graphics for a hack n slash A-RPG? And somehow it actually works pretty nicely, even though during attacks and some animation your character is still frozen still with no attack animation except jumping, it gives you a kinda Dungeons and Dragons vibe as well which is also fantastic and innovative on its own right.
The music really makes you immersed in the game, since it is ambient, and fits the dark and gloomy theme of the hell-spawned world.
The sound design when it comes to mobs and bosses etc, seems a bit rehashed on some parts.
On some mobs it sounds like the grunting sounds were re-used which was a bit of a shame, but a niche detail that shouldn’t be a main focus to say the least.
there is also voice acting in this game, though, not the best, but it does it job to say the least. There is not much to say about the graphics besides that it runs smooth and fits the whole theme of being a “Book” adventure, like an interactive action popup book! It is creative, innovative, and refreshing to say the least.
The Gameplay is way more complex than one would think. Let’s get into the classes you can pick. Each of the classes has signature cards/spells for their class which is exclusive to them.
Mage – An all-out ranged class, who use spells primarily to devastate his foes, if you’re a fan of magic and spellcasters in general, this is your go to class
Ranger – a good mix between ranged and melee, if you’re kinda the speedster when it comes to gameplay and loves an assassin type of class, this is for you
Warrior – My personal favorite so far, an all-out brute tank, who has many offensive and defensive options
There are various monsters that can be found in the dungeons.
Some have poison, some explode on death, some even got shields or immunity if you hit them once and then they will be hittable again after a certain amount of time passes. There is a lot of variety to the enemies and it keeps it fresh as you are progressing. Some monsters are also weaker to certain weapons or attacks, which also helps you out trying different builds when you do your playthrough which is really refreshing.
There is also “boss monsters” which essentially are stronger standard mobs, these monsters have different phases depending on the type and how far you are into the game. Some of them have an “AOE” phase where you need to be within a range of them for a certain amount of time before it transitions and it makes you think and give you time to clear out other mobs if you wish to do that, or just go straight on if your build can handle it. They can also summon other mobs that need to be killed before the boss is attackable or an all-out DPS phase.
One of my favorite things about Book of Demons is that you have item cards that fills up your mana bar, and locks that mana for being able to use the items, you can basically see the items as passive spells with stats attached to them, cause that is what they are! It makes you think twice about using up all your mana depending on your playstyle, and which build you wanna go.
The end segment bosses are interesting, to say the least, they have a bunch of variety and different tactics unique to themselves, some of the abilities are rehashed from other mobs or bosses but not all of them, and they can catch you by surprise if you aren’t careful. I would have wished that the difficulty of these bosses were a bit higher though.
Another great thing about Book of Demons is definitely the Flexiscope feature. It basically lets you set out how long you want your play session to be, and it only gets more accurate the more you play, you can choose a smaller dungeon layout, or a bigger one if you have the time for it, and it shows the estimated time of completion for that size of the dungeon, which is really rad!
There is also a challenge mode of a segment you already completed, which can be unlocked with a key, which is basically a “hard mode” that will test your skills and your gear.
This gives the game much replayability!
For a game not looking like it has it, there is a lot of variety and I really dig that! The only thing holding it back is the linear path you NEED to follow in the dungeon since enemies can go out of bounds while you cannot, it is a bit frustrating
Controls are your standard WASD for movement (or mouse clicking if you wanna chill) and the 1-4 numbers for spells, and besides that, you have your item slots.
It plays out fluent enough but (as mentioned earlier) the linear path you are forced to take kinda holds you back on this, sometimes I also find myself targeting the wrong enemy because I accidentally auto attacked when I didn’t want to, if there was a feature for disabling or halting auto attacks I would have appreciated that
Besides that, the controls are working, and it is not something breaking the game at all
Great replay value, with the Flexi-scope you can keep on going through different sizes and variety dungeons, including the challenge mode you can unlock later in the game, it gives you harder and more stuff to do, of course, this can get “Diablo” repetitive, but since its only one difficulty up it is not something that can put me off the game just yet
I could get bored if I had to sit through the whole game with all classes though, which I won’t unless I have some breaks in between!
Story - 5/10
Graphics - 7/10
Gameplay - 8/10
Controls - 7/10
Replay Value - 6/10
Book Of Demons is a great game, with a lot to offer to people who appreciate a great hack n slash dungeon crawling, action adventure RPG. It is something you can get cozy with while watching other stuff, and just chill with while enjoying the creative art style, as well as the nostalgic gameplay. If you love tedious grinding, and the general dungeon crawler RPG vibes this is definitely a game for you.
High replayability with the Flexiscope and different classes to choose from
Unique graphics with a lot of charm
Great progression system that goes hand in hand with the difficulty at most times
Linear pathing throughout the dungeons which can make you feel trapped