‘Demeo’ Review: An RPG Lovers Dream VR Game
Tabletop gaming meets VR in Resolution Games’ new Dungeons and Dragons-style multiplayer dungeon crawler.
Resolution Games—developer behind popular VR games such as Blaston, Angry Birds VR, and ACRON: Attack of the Squirrels—today launched its latest title on Oculus Quest and SteamVR headsets, Demeo.
Available now for $29.99, this turn-based multiplayer dungeon crawler has you battling endless waves of horrific monstrosities as you and up to three other companions navigate a series of labyrinth-like dungeons in search of powerful loot, valuable treasures, and other hidden secrets. Demeo offers a refreshing take on the tried-and-true tabletop genre, using VR technology to immerse you in a truly one-of-a-kind dungeon crawling adventure. Put simply, Demeo is an RPG lover’s dream VR game.
Inspired by classic fantasy role-playing games, Demeo does its absolute best to replicate the nostalgia of 90’s tabletop gaming while—at the same time—expanding the core gameplay experience with eye-catching special effects, realistic character animations, and various other enhancements that would be impossible to recreate in a real-world setting. The result is a captivating cooperative experience that’s as fun as it is difficult.
The entire game takes place in an old-school basement filled with various artifacts of a bygone era, from vintage computer equipment to fake movie posters. Located at the center of the basement is the game board. It is here that you and three of your friends will embark on dangerous adventures through ancient crypts filled with monsters of all shapes and sizes. Thankfully, each player comes equipped with their own unique set of skills designed to keep them alive on the battlefield. Each action you take, whether it be moving to open a door or initiating an attack costs one action point, with each player given only two points per turn. This means you need to think carefully about each action you take; one wrong move can mean the end of the game.
In addition to standard attacks, you’ll have the opportunity to unlock more powerful moves by collecting various ability cards. These can be obtained by slaying enemies and opening chests scattered throughout each environment, or by purchasing them via the in-game store in between rounds. Some of these cards, usually the more powerful ones, can be used only once; lower-level cards, on the other hand, can be used once per turn. Managing your deck is a crucial part of Demeo. While standard attacks work fine against lower-level enemies, more powerful foes—such as the giant spiders or fire demons—will require more powerful moves. You’ll need to be strategic in how you and your team utilize your respective cards, lest you want to be overrun within the first couple minutes of each round. Not that I would know anything about that…
One of the coolest aspects of the game, however, is the ability to change the size of your in-game avatar. You can shrink down to the size of a miniature and experience the action up-close, or view the entire game board from a god perspective. You can also use your motion controllers to drag the in-game world in any direction as well as change the vertical angle, just in case you wanted to play laying on your back.
At launch, you can select from four main characters: the deadly-accurate hunter, the powerful and wise sorcerer, the stealthy assassin, and the guardian, aka the “tank.” For those looking to go it alone, Skirmish mode lets you take control of three characters yourself, allowing you full control over your team. That being said, I highly recommend playing the game with others, whether you link up with friends by joining a private room or by using the “quick play mode” to match with random players. Strategizing with your team is easily one of the most enjoyable parts of Demeo, so don’t limit your experience by going in alone. For instance, downed players can be picked up by others within a set period of time before being permanently killed, so you may want to think about sticking together as a team. Otherwise you’ll be down a teammate until the next round, making your adventure all the more difficult.
As previously mentioned, each of these characters comes with their own unique weapons and skills. The hunter, for instance, deals powerful ranged attacks with her bow, while the sorcerer is capable of dishing out devastating magical attacks and transporting enemy monsters around the map. The assassin, on the other hand, can move around the map unseen while landing critical strikes on unsuspecting enemies, while the guardian is perfect for clearing out large groups of enemies with her deadly power attacks. Much like a standard tabletop roleplaying game, the effectiveness of your attack is determined by rolling a die. You can role a standard attack, critical hit, or miss entirely depending on your luck.
Resolution Games did an excellent job balancing each of these unique characters. While the guardian is great at dealing massive damage, the character has a relatively short damage range, forcing you to get up-close and personal. The hunter, on the other hand, specializes in ranged attacks, which is good considering the character’s relatively low damage resistance. Demeo requires a heavy amount of strategy in order to succeed, which means learning the pros and cons of each character and using their respective abilities correctly when in battle. For example, before charging into a group of enemies with the guardian or assassin, why not have the hunter or wizard first trigger a nearby poison trap to lower the enemy’s overall health? This is just one of literally hundreds of strategies you can employ in Demeo.
At the moment, the game features one campaign to play, “The Black Sarcophagus.” This three-part journey has you fighting your way to the nethermost region of the Elven Necropolis in order to defeat the Elven Queen and free Elven spirits trapped by a horrific curse. In order to reach the Black Sarcophagus and face the Queen on the third level, you’ll first need to locate two keys guarded by powerful enemies hidden throughout the first two levels. This is just one of several adventures Resolution Games has planned for Demeo.
As you progress through the campaign you’ll rack up experience points that unlock additional customization options, from new character skins and player masks to different types of die, allowing you to set yourself apart from the other players huddled around the game board.
Moving forward the company plans on introducing additional characters, abilities, and levels. While an additional campaign would have been nice at launch, “The Black Sarcophagus” features a considerable amount of replayability. Even after completing the campaign several times over, I found myself returning to try new routes and tactics on a regular basis. Plus, the company has already unveiled its next campaign, “Realm of the Rat King,” which will introduce new environments, enemies, and cards. This additional module is expected to launch this summer.
Demeo is a great example of tabletop strategy gaming done right in VR. Whether you’re a hardcore RPG fanatic or a casual VR enthusiast in search of an enjoyable multiplayer experience, Resolution Games’ addicting dungeon crawler will have you fighting monsters and looting treasure for hours on end. While content may be sparse at the moment, the first campaign offers plenty of replayability, especially when you mix it up with other players. I also love how the developer is releasing new campaigns in a similar fashion to Dungeons and Dragons; building anticipation for the next adventure could help keep players invested in the game.
That being said, I did run into one or two issues during my review. For example, each level in Demeo features its own unique layout, from various small rooms connected via tight passageways to larger open spaces overlooked by towering bridges. At times it can be difficult to determine whether or not you’re in range for an enemy attack. There are several ranged enemies capable of attacking you from almost the other side of the map, regardless of any obstructions in the way. It can be a little frustrating when you’ve positioned your character in a strategic location only to discover an enemy archer can shoot you from a seemingly impossible angle.
The game can also feel somewhat unbalanced at times, though these moments are few and far between. For example, certain monsters have the ability to make others temporarily invulnerable to damage, while others can spawn smaller enemies at will. During one of my initial playthroughs, I found myself stuck in an impossible situation in which the Elven Queen was made permanently invincible thanks to a never-ending wave of invulnerability spells courtesy of her nearby underlings. These creatures had also made the surrounding monsters invulnerable, making it near impossible to proceed. Again, this was a rare situation, one I hadn’t encountered in any of my other playthroughs, but it was frustrating nonetheless.
When all’s said and done, however, Demeo might by Resolution Games best game yet; of course as a longtime RPG fan I realize that statement might be a little bias. Regardless, if you’re looking for an addicting strategy-based experience that you can sink hours upon hours into, this is the game for you.
Demeo is available now for $29.99 on Oculus Quest and SteamVR headsets. Resolution Games is currently working on a version for Oculus Rift as well as a non-VR release for PC with eventual support for cross-play. That being said I highly recommend playing in VR if at all possible.
For more information visit resolutiongames.com/demeo.
*This review was conducted using an Oculus Quest 2. Review copy provided by Resolution Games.*
Feature Image Credit: Resolution Games