Book Of Demons
Developer: Thing Trunk
Publisher: 505 Games
Genre: Dungeon Crawler, Deck Builder
Platform: PlayStation 4
Age Rating: Pegi 7
Release Date: 30/04/2020
A code was provided for review purposes.
Tribute Or Tribulation?
I am a collector by nature, I think on some level we all are. I collect a wide variety of stuff; from first editions to retro action figures. We collect things without even knowing it, like personal triumphs or emotional scars. Collecting them all; completing the set, can be reassuring. It’s a way to chart progress, learn valuable lessons and take control of something in this crazy world. Book Of Demons called to the collector in me.
Book Of Demons is a hybrid of two traditional genres, dungeon crawling and deck building. You play as one of three character classes: Warrior, Rogue, and Mage. Each class has a particular play style and class tailored card deck. If you just can’t decide which class is best for you, each can have up to three characters in play at once, so no need to choose.
The Paperverse Is Set To Fold
The action of the game takes place inside a magical pop-up book known as the Paperverse. Upon entering the Paperverse, you discover a small town in dire need of a brave adventurer’s help. The few remaining townsfolk whisper about the unholy rites that take place under the glowing cathedral atop the hill… You’ve walked into a cult movie, back away slowly…
But looking around at the sorrowful townsfolk; the wise old Sage, the balding Healer, the sassy Fortune Teller, and the Barmaid…oh the Barmaid, you are surely worthy of defence! With this battle call, you charge the ominously glowing cathedral and lay a bloody siege to the hordes of demons sheltering beneath.
Here you encounter the first really great feature of Book Of Demons. The game uses a Flexiscope system, which allows you to adjust game length to suit, and monitors your progress to better predict future completion times. This feature allows you to break the game down into any size you wish and fit in a game no matter the size of your window for play. Book Of Demons respects your time and wants you to get the most out of it.
The first 30 minutes of Book Of Demons skirts dangerously close to the territory of information overload. Pop-up after pop-up line your path, explaining the many different aspects of gameplay. This initial flood of information is a little hard to absorb, but the flow soon slows and you are left with the time to really figure out the game’s mechanics for yourself.
An Ace Up Your Sleeve
After an hour or so, you will be confidently smashing demons flat with a variety of spells, items, and artifact cards. Let’s look at the Mage; he has a total of 40 cards split across the three sub types. Each card has common, magical and legendary variants; equalling a whole lot to collect.
The Mage’s spell cards vary from fireballs, ice walls, lightning strikes and even raising a golem to fight alongside you. Item cards cover a range of healing potions, time affecting hour glasses, mobile portals and voodoo dolls. Artifact cards contain wears such as enchanted rings, magical tomes, lucky rabbit’s feet and jazzy boots!
The wealth of cards to collect across the three classes is impressingly daunting. The urge to start collecting hits hard around the time you unlock your first legendary card. So shiny, so powerful, so precious; you must gather more.
I lost a decent amount of time in Book Of Demons very quickly. At times, I was so absorbed in the game it led me to sacrilege: the burning of food. The aroma of incinerated pizza lingering in my kitchen was a fine testament to the “just one more” draw of this game. Rest in peace stuffed crust BBQ chicken and sweetcorn, you won’t be forgotten.
As you are exploring the procedurally generated dungeons, chucking fireballs at zombies and searching for new cards or shiny loot, you will encounter a whole host of sub-bosses. These encounters often spring at you from the shadows, forcing a quick panicky retalliation or retreat. The sub-bosses add a great level of challenge and surprise to the repetitive dungeons.
Stacking The Deck
The vast depths of darkness under the cathedral are split into three main areas; The Maze, The Catacombs, and Hell. Each area is reigned over by a main boss; The Cook, The Antipope, and The Archdemon. Only delving to the very depths and destroying The Archdemon will save the Paperverse from the clutches of evil.
Book Of Demons spent two and a half years in early access, undergoing testing and numerous updates, it has clearly benefited from having had plenty of polishing time. The game features four difficulty settings; standard, hard, nightmare, and massacre. Strap in for some serious demonic carnage if you choose to brave the higher settings.
Once completed, free roam and boss challenge options become available, making it easy to dip back in and scoop up those missing legendary cards or upgrade materials. I seem to be enjoying this game more and more everytime I play it. It will have a home on my PlayStation for a while.
As you rack up some time on Book Of Demons, you notice nice features that really showcase the quality of the game. Little things like the ability to instant travel from a dungeon when you have collected all its plunder. Or the intuitive and logical card management system. Or the mini game that has you catching flying stars in order to recover mid battle.
Cards On The Table
Another area that Book Of Demons shines in is its writing. The game features a surprising amount of lore and an extensive bestiary. All delivered via text and the voice acting of the townsfolk in the safety of the hub world. The townsfolk have back stories and existing relationships, hard thought has been put into this content. Sadly, it suffers slightly from repetition across the three character classes.
I didn’t expect a great deal from Book Of Demons, but I got hours or maybe weeks of enjoyable hacker slasher gameplay and deck building action. Fans of either genre will find something to love in this game. If nothing else, it is great value for money.
It’s nice to see a game that values your time as a player. Too often we squander precious time to the mundanities of daily life. Ten minutes here, a YouTube video there; it’s all a distraction really. What can you even do in ten minutes anyway? Well, you could do a quick dungeon and collect another legendary card on Book Of Demons? Go on, just one more?
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can buy Book Of Demons from the PlayStation Store
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.