Demon Spore Key Art

PAX East 2024: Demon Spore Preview

PAX East is back, and we had the chance to go hands on with an upcoming indie game titled Demon Spore. In Demon Spore you can play alone or with friends to work through a series of small rooms and complete operational tasks. While navigating through each room and puzzle the ominous haunt of a large demonic alien chases you down. 

What is Demon Spore?

Demon Spore Combat

At its core, Demon Spore is a four-player top-down rouge-like procedurally generated game. Although the operational tasks from each room make the game more than just a rogue-like. Of course, there is combat but, the core mechanic here is something that felt different. As you enter each small room, there will be a series of steps or puzzles you must complete. Once you complete the task, doors to the next area unlock. 

Once unlocked you can head in different directions along with returning back the way you came. As you approach each door, the world map will pop up showing you various paths to get to where you need to go. In addition to various other paths that will take you to a weapon or an upgrade. What I experienced was that the weapons and upgrades are essentially required to get past the monster. Yet at the same time, the more you explore, the larger the beast challenge gets. With that, you, or you and your friends will have to determine the most efficient path to complete the game.

Prior to getting a gun or an upgrade, you have to find resources like a fire extinguisher to take out the smaller enemies. Finally, once you do get a gun, a survival element kicks in, as the game never gives you enough ammo to kill everything without having to make more stops for ammo. The more stops you make, the longer it takes to get to the end goal. The longer it takes you to get to the end goal, the more hazardous the map becomes. 

Demon Spore Map

Each floor will have 48 rooms and one exit room. You would never go through each room but, you would navigate through each floor the most efficient way to gather all of the pick-ups while avoiding hazards. I found playing with friends to be the most enjoyable approach but, playing alone would be fine as well. Demon Spore has a unique tempo, given that there are quiet puzzle moments, tense survival moments, and chaotic battle moments. 

Couch Co-Op for Horror Party Fun or Go It Alone

Along the way there will be 10 or so characters you can save. Once you save them, they will unlock as playable. Today the team promises around 12 different playable characters. Having such a wide range is the most ideal approach, as I view Demon Spore as the ultimate rouge-like party game. The development team does emphasize that you can play it alone but, local (“local only for now”) four player co-op brings Demon Spore to a whole new level. 

Demon Spore Gameplay 3

Demon Spore is targeting a 2024 release date on PC and Mac. You can play it today for free via a demo on the games Steam page. Additionally, the team is hoping to release Demon Spore on consoles sometime after its PC release. Today, there is no online play, it is couch co-op only. With that, hopefully strong PC sales can bring what feels like a great horror party game to consoles. Demon Spore seems like a game that would be a lot of fun when traveling with friends. I can see it running well on an underpowered laptop or something like a Steam Deck.