Gaming is an escape for so many people. Whether you play games to unwind after a stressful day at work, explore magical worlds, or simply spend time with friends. Gaming isn’t limited to the digital realm, as tabletop gaming, especially D&D has found a new string of popularity in recent years. Unfortunately, many tabletop fans were deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The inability to meet in person, had many friend groups searching for a digital alternative. Enter Demeo from Resolution Games.
Originally launching on PC VR back in early 2021, Demeo combines the magic of tabletop gaming, with Diablo-style dungeon crawling. It has quickly become an essential VR title, but unfortunately, VR gaming still represents an overall small slice of the gaming pie. Resolution Games is trying to capture an even bigger audience with its new PC edition of Demeo which brings the title to a more traditional PC experience. Set to enter early access on Steam on April 7th, we were able to get an early look at Demeo: PC Edition, which could go down as one of my favorite PC games this year.
Demeo Brings Tabletop Excitement To Your PC
As someone who is relatively new to tabletop gaming, I was concerned that Demeo might be complicated for me to figure out. However, I was presently surprised at how easy it was to learn the systems within the game thanks to a straightforward tutorial. After choosing your party of 4 characters, which can be controlled by you or your friends, you will be plunged into one of the 3 different campaigns available in Demeo. Each campaign is unique in both environment and enemies that you will face. There is a ton of replayability as each time you wander into a dungeon a different challenge could face you since the dungeons are randomized.
The gameplay loop is simple and rewarding. As you enter the dungeon you get two moves per character, whether those moves are navigating the board, attacking enemies using cards, or basic attacks is up to you. The cards add a twist to the gameplay loop of Demeo, as many of them contain powerful skills and abilities. You earn them from either finding treasure chests spread throughout the dungeon or from gaining experience from defeating monsters. These cards can be the difference between life and death. Use them too soon and you might find yourself overwhelmed. Hold on to them for too long and you might miss a perfect opportunity. These outcomes are not always guaranteed, as even your best-laid plans can be ruined by the roll of a dice.
In Demeo, after you select which attack or spell you will use, you have to roll a dice. This multifaced dice has 3 different sides. One sword symbol means a regular basic attack or outcome of a card will be achieved. A crossed sword symbol means that a critical hit will be landed, then finally the most horrifying symbol of them all: the skull. While this means your ability will miss, it also has another much worse consequence: friendly fire. Friendly fire is an understated aspect in Demeo. In one particular instance, I triggered an explosive fireball attack by my wizard which rolled a miss. This then caused the fireball to be cast amongst my own party downing them instantly. It adds a certain level of worry with every move you make, you not only think about what could go right but also what could go wrong. Which is something not many of us think about while playing video games. Demeo will constantly have you second-guessing yourself on what truly is the best next move.
Challenging And Rewarding
I consider myself to be a veteran of tactical-styled games. Whether it is turn-based combat, or X-Com style tactics gameplay, I generally thrive in these titles. Demeo threw some surprising curveballs at me that kept me on my toes in every session I played. When you spawn into a map, the dungeon is covered in darkness. As you move your characters around the map you will discover new passages and areas while searching for a key or a boss. The challenge lies in the fact that the enemies are always moving around you. When fighting a specific group, you have to be careful to watch your back, sides, and basically all around. Enemies are constantly moving and planning ambushes throughout the dungeon. You never are truly safe.
These creatures create unique challenges. Almost all of them have unique powers and skills that can make your raid more challenging. From explosive fire elementals to goblin mages who summon more creatures. There feels like an almost endless variety of enemies for you to memorize and counter. Eventually, I found myself prioritizing certain enemies over others and positioning certain characters in formations within my party to better optimize my damage output. This was balanced by the need to protect some of my easier-to-kill party members. The best part is I learned all of this naturally through playing Demeo.Iit felt like I constantly learned something from every raid. It never feels forced, or like you have to fail a bunch of times to “get good” at the game. You eventually, just start picking up on tactics and ideas naturally to better explore these dungeons.
While there are enemies crawling out and attacking you from every side, there are also plenty of rewards hidden within the dungeons. From chests containing new cards to add to your hand, to gold scattered around that can be collected and used to buy cards in between each dungeon. These rewards become more important, especially in the later dungeons. It is great that you are rewarded for exploring every aspect of a dungeon.
An Immersive Experience In and Out Of Co-Op
Demeo answers the long-asked question, what if your tabletop gaming session could come to life? As you start a new campaign in Demeo, you will get a slow pan of a basement before it zooms you into the game board. This is a nice touch, and it gives you a genuine feeling tabletop experience. With the addition of a dark ambient soundtrack, it is incredibly easy to lose yourself for hours in a session on your own and even with your friends.
While some games are meant to be played in single-player, some thrive in multiplayer. Demeo excels in both, with a simplistic multiplayer system that allows you to jump into a match with friends almost instantly. Crossplay is a big part of Demeo as well, as PC players can play with VR users and vice versa. There is also matchmaking so if you do not have any friends on PC or VR to play with you can jump right into a match with other players very quickly. There is a load of options in how you raid dungeons, but it is a blast either way. I found myself having very serious sessions while I was playing on my own. But when I jumped in with my friends, it felt like a classic night of D&D with a load of laughs and shenanigans.
From Virtual Reality To PC
When games are transitioned to different platforms it can sometimes create unique challenges. Moving your characters around the board felt so simple in VR due to the ease of motion controls. Luckily enough, Resolution Games did a fantastic job in translating this to a mouse and keyboard input. Moving your characters around the board is almost effortless, and there is a host of simple hotkeys to help you navigate the menu. The UI is simple with your character’s ability cards layered across the bottom of the screen and your party organized in a neat row in the top left. It is a minimalist UI, that is both functional and straightforward. This is a blessing, as many PC card games and board games often have cluttered UI’s with too many submenus and hotkeys to remember.
One minor complaint I did have, was that sometimes the camera could be awkward to reset. It is important to be constantly surveying your battlefield in a game like Demeo. But sometimes I found myself fighting more with getting a useable camera angle to use with the mouse than I did fighting enemies. After a while, you will get better at controlling the camera, but in the beginning, it feels awkward and might be off-putting to some. Outside of the awkward camera controls, front to back the game ran impressively. In an era where games feel like you truly do not know the state of the game until the day one patch. It was a breath of fresh air to jump into the world of Demeo.
Demeo Is A Great Experience On PC
Whether you are looking to experience Demeo on PC or through the world of Virtual Reality. If you are a fan of D&D then Demeo is a must-play. Challenging encounters paired with straightforward control and gameplay design. Sprinkle in a beautiful art style, with 3 unique campaigns to explore. Demeo is the perfect game to work into your party game rotation with friends. As well as worth exploring on your own time. Despite being an early access title, you will likely get dozens upon dozens of hours of entertainment from the world of Demeo.