My first experience with Book of Demons was on PC back in 2016. I had an opportunity to interview the Thing Trunk team. At that time, Demons was to be the first of six games in the universe of Book of Demons.
Four years later…
What we now have is a single game that has crossed over from PC to the Switch. Fortunately, the core tenets of Book of Demons has persisted through the years. That includes the procedural dungeon generation, card-based character customization, rogue-like gameplay, and the papercraft visual style. There are three character classes: the warrior, rogue, and mage. The latter two are locked out until you reach level 5 with the warrior, which takes about 20 minutes. Personally, I prefer the mage class. He is a ranged fighter with a lean towards mana - and I love using spells like fireball and ice wall. Fireball is awesome when upgraded!
The gameplay loop
If you have ever played the original Diablo game, you will immediately see the inspiration. From the cathedral and dungeon-diving hack ‘n slash gameplay to the NPCs that support you in the town. This is your safe zone where you can re-heal, enjoy town gossip, and upgrade or resupply your cards. Upgrading requires runes, which drop at random inside the cathedral.
Upon entering the cathedral, regardless of your degree of progress towards slaying Diablo the Arch Demon, you will have the option of choosing your session length. The overall progress required to conquer that level of the dungeon does not change, but you can choose approach it in chunks. The rewards are better in the larger chunks. Rewards including gold, experience, and cards.
Gaining experience levels up your character, which provides you an opportunity to increase your health or mana pools. Upon choosing between them, a point is also allocated to a cauldron that is accessible back in town. The cauldron’s rewards increase in quality the longer you hold off from opening it. Regardless of your risk tolerance, eventually you have to stop licking your boots and get back to hacking and slashing.
Book of Demons has a very different approach to combat than other dungeon crawlers. And while the game shares a resemblance to Diablo, the actual combat mechanics are not similar. Your character has a light radius, and by pressing the A button, you can interact with enemies within your radius. Using the right analog stick, you can aim towards the specific enemy (assuming there are multiple) you want to target and attack them. Again, as long as they are within your light radius. Unlike traditional games, you do not have to be immediately next to the enemy, even if you are attacking with a melee weapon. Some enemies carry shields, which require you to hammer with the B button until the shield breaks. Other enemies explode with a poison AOE counterattack. Understanding the speed, reaction, and time-to-kill of enemies is going to be critical as you delve closer to hell. The variety of enemies, and cards, is enough to keep you busy. I can say this experience is best on PC as a mouse is easier to use than an analog stick.
Who is it For
Book of Demons is just $24.99 on Switch, and there is a ton of initial gameplay and replay in the title. It is an easy recommendation for fans of RPGs, dungeon crawlers, and Diablo 1.
If you prefer PC gaming, Book of Demons is just $9.99 at Fanatical. GWW Insiders save 10% on most games at Fanatical.