Book of Demons is a Hack-and-slash game with a paper world aesthetic in which you must cut down or just blow to smithereens your way through dungeons, catacombs and eventually Hell itself to defeat the primordial evils that are killing the people of your old village. Book of Demons is a game designed to be accessible to the most casual of players while keeping the attention of veterans. Everything, from the tutorials that explain every mechanic to the game reminding you of key information to help you make the right decisions at every turn, Book of Demons is the perfect game for those who have always wanted to try out games like Diablo series but doubted their skills.
In this game you take the place of a young adventurer who is coming back to his hometown after learning to master sword and board, the bow, or even the mystical arts (your choice, really) only to find that the gates of Hell have been opened deep under the old cathedral and the demons unleashed have created horrors that will very soon ravage the world and -more importantly- that are killing the people of your old village right now.
We are welcomed by your childhood friend, the Barmaid, who along with the town Sage gives you an introduction to the whole demons-are-killing-everyone situation; you must then take your weapons and head down into the old cathedral to battle skeletons, zombies and all manners of spooks as you make your way down to defeat the three Monsters responsible for the massacre of your loved ones, ending with a final battle with the Arch-demon itself, leader of the hordes of Hell, corrupter of all that is good, and rubber duck enthusiast. So basically, it all comes down to this:
The gameplay is fairly simple and it consists in controlling the character and employing your cards. In the first aspect you control your character through the preset paths of the dungeon with either the keyboard or mouse, and click on the enemies to attack them; if left unattended the hero will auto-attack anything and everything in its surroundings, though at a slower pace. The second is hands down the most important factor in whether you will be able to complete the game or not, and it’s all about finding and choosing the correct cards for your deck. This is true since even though characters get stronger as they gain levels by killing monsters, only the cards hold the special powers that allow you to overcome the Hordes of Hell.
Once you gather enough experience from fallen foes your character will level up. Once it levels up, it will gain strength, reduce the life of certain enemies and obtain one point to add to its maximum health or mana, with the other point going into the Barmaids Cauldron. This Cauldron contains the Risk-and-Reward elements of dying during a normal game of Book Of Demons. It is fairly simple, really: Should you choose to improve the amount of mana you can use, one point of maximum health will be added to The Cauldron, along with ingredients you will find throughout the dungeons. You can claim all those extra points plus some cards and gold to make your character stronger at any time, but it will cost you more and more gold every time you do it, and the more ingredients there are in The Cauldron the bigger the rewards will be. However, should you die in the dungeon The Cauldron will be emptied of its contents, forever lost to you. Do keep in mind though, that should you claim your Cauldron too often there will be a time when you won’t be able to pay for it. This, in my opinion, adds an edge of uncertainty that gives excitement to the game.
But don’t worry, dying in Book Of Demons is hard -in the first levels… – since you can enter and exit dungeons at will and, with the help of a card, you can even create your own portals to quickly go to the village and come back to the same spot of the dungeon; also, once you kill the boss of a level the game gives you a button to reach the exit without having to walk to it. Of course, as you progress deeper into the ground the difficulty grows with each step, reaching a point in which there may come a time when death catches you unaware. Once this happens, you will lose the cards you held in your deck along with some gold but don’t worry, if you reach the place where you died you can recover them.
There are different effects that can affect the gameplay, such as when your character gets stunned so you must complete a mini-game in which everything goes dark and you must capture with your mouse five stars that fly through the screen in order to regain control of your hero. There are also times when a strong enough spell or hit might scramble your cards, disabling their effects, so that you must set them straight to regain their abilities. This last type of effect is by far the most dangerous, be it by a curse that forbids you from using a card, a stun that disables their effects or losing them when you die, anything that messes with your deck of cards is the most dangerous thing in the game.
Having said that, a big obstacle that must be learnt to be overcome is the restriction of movement and its relationship to missile attacks. Do to being confined to a narrow, preset path of movement one of the most dangerous enemies are archers and other monsters with long-range attacks since their damage cannot be avoided when they shoot over the only lane towards their position. As you venture further into the game some enemies start to block your path, which is also a dangerous inconvenience that you must learn to solve quickly.
There are three types of cards: Green Artifact Cards, these ones grant constant effects a turn an amount of your blue mana into unusable green mana; Red Item Cards, these consume a charge to grant an effect such as restoring your life points or mana with some potions or launching explosives to your enemies; and Blue Spell Cards, these last ones consume blue mana to produce an effect such as dealing damage, healing your hero or affecting the monsters in a myriad of ways.
Building a solid deck requires to balance the three types of cards, and to make the necessary changes at the right time. Having too many Spells will result in the highest damage output but will leave you defenseless once your mana runs out, just as having only Artifact cards might give you better resistances but leave you to kill dozens of monstrosities at a time with only your auto-attack to defend you. When it comes to items, it’s important to remember that they must be recharged and that they can be entered into the deck in the middle of a fight for a quick heal and then changed back.
To choose the correct cards can turn almost any encounter in this game either into the nightmare the Arch-demon has created to torment you or a fun walk in through a park…in hell. To illustrate this point let’s take my Warrior for example: My main obstacles in the game where long-range enemies and, of course, dying. So what I did is I started to upgrade these two Green Cards I found, the first one a shield with a chance to block incoming missiles, and the second an armor with a chance to drop hearts whenever I took damage, that I then could pick up to heal myself. Every time I managed to upgrade these two cards the probability of their effects taking place went up! And so I was able to advance through the catacombs all the way to the final fight with the Arch-demon.
Graphics and audio
Fitting into the thematic that this game is a book in the Return2Games world, all characters, buildings, and monsters in Book Of Demons are made entirely with folded paper; which gives the whole game a charismatic sense of adventure. Animators have also added nice little details into the game to make it feel more “juicy” as you play it, such as the satisfying way in which the footprints you leave behind turn into gold once you complete an area of the map, the work of torches with the shade they create, and the uniqueness of cold, fire, poison, lighting and magic all blended seamlessly into a world of paper. However, there are some letdowns, primarily in the way the NPCs seem to be less alive than the zombies and skeletons we re-kill in the dungeons, they never show emotion or movement to accompany their dialogues, which is a shame.
The voice acting is fairly good, though as monotonous as the game can get as you must beat 10 similar levels to advance into the next quest. There are a lot of things to keep you entertained through these levels, and as you approach hell and beyond the difficulty itself will keep you on your toes. However, the music of Book Of Demons is not one of these elements because while each area has good acceptable music for its ambiance, and there are a lot of sounds to bring life to all the goats and fireballs you are bound to come across, none of it really stands out.
Book of Demons is a game created for YOU, the player. It is incredibly well thought out to be able to be played by both casual and veteran players, by those who no longer have the time to play long video games but won’t settle for mobile gaming, for the people who are just getting into gaming or who don’t have the stomach for complicated RPGs. The Flexiscope technology is something definitely see with a bright future and that I personally want to see more of, since it’s adaptability is something sorely needed in the generation of games with 30-minute-long matches.
Not content with this, Book Of Demons can be played again and again thanks to the differences between classes (as a tip, Rogues can shoot their arrows freely and from afar, making the game easier since you don’t need to be in as much danger!) and its infinite play option, where players compete to see just how far into hell the can go without dying in a game that gets harder as you keep on playing; and harder still should you choose to play in Hard, Nightmare or Massacre difficulties, where the game will ban and impose cards in your deck, as well as take away more of your gold when you die.
|+ Easy to approach for new players||– No good soundtrack|
|+ Flexiscope is innovative and a great tool||– Repetitive and monotonous at times|
|+ Great replay value|