I’ve never been one for tabletop games, and despite my geeky demeanor, I never had the privilege to join a rousing session of Dungeons & Dragons. The passionate developers for Demeo: PC Edition let me know that the classic tabletop RPG was an inspiration when they first developed Demeo for virtual reality. Recently, I had a chance to preview the upcoming PC version of Demeo.
As soon as you enter the game environment, you can tell that Demeo is supposed to emulate a tabletop environment. Unfortunately, while I don’t share the developers’ glee for the fantasy adventure frequently played in basements around the world, I can say Demeo: PC Edition was still a blast when I had the chance to play it.
Demeo: PC Edition is a four-person co-op adventure, so it’s best to corral some of your friends together to work your way through the game. There’s everything you’d imagine in a tabletop-inspired game like this: dice rolls, figures you can move across the table, and a sense of social interaction. This is gonna be a game of communication as you work your way through different floors and challenges. Of course, the game is already available in full for virtual reality headsets, but the community is bound to expand once it releases for PC.
A table-top adventure
The gameplay in Demeo is simple. You take game pieces and move them across a game board, exploring dungeons and opening doors in the process. You can engage in combat with your team, using your cards and special abilities to battle hordes of enemies. My group was just on the first level and the waves of enemies were already rather intimidating. The difficulty curve of the game doesn’t feel too intense, and it seems easy to pick up and play for most players.
Demeo‘s combat and dungeon crawling is a ton of fun and has so much room for expansion. There are several different classes you can play as, with a multitude of battle cards that provide different effects. Combine that with a constantly changing environment and avalanches of enemies, and you have a game with almost unlimited replayability. If you and your friends are really into what the game does, then you won’t put this down any time soon. I only got a chance to look at a very limited selection of cards and heroes. I only played one class (a ranger) and one floor, so I didn’t get to gauge the sense of progression. But my guess is it’ll feel just fine.
I imagine the game works best in a virtual reality environment. Picking up the game pieces and playing cards felt intuitive enough with a mouse, and I didn’t have a problem with any of the controls. The game seems to be ported gracefully. But I can only imagine how it would feel to pick up and play the game with my “hands” in VR and really emulate the tabletop experience. Luckily, if you don’t really care about that immersion, the game will introduce cross-play between PC and VR players. (PC players can play with both the Oculus Quest and SteamVR players.)
There are lots of things to do on a floor aside from fighting enemies, though. I was told an important part of the game would be looting for treasure chests hidden around the map, as you’ll need gold to buy better cards. There are tons of different strategies with the card system, with the potential to skip massive parts of the floor with teleport cards and whatnot. My group didn’t have the luxury to explore the floor too much, and some might say we even cleared the game too fast.
Demeo has a really fun style, though, with cartoony and fantastical graphics that sell the Dungeons and Dragons vibe they were looking for. And just like the controls, the UI for the game is brought into the PC version just fine. It has easy-to-understand menus and multiple ways to deploy your attacks. I can’t comment on whether or not the PC or virtual reality version is better on this front, but there weren’t any issues on my end, and I assume it’s generally easier to use a mouse for some of the more precise controls anyways.
Demeo: PC Edition will be a part of the Steam Next Fest, with a playable demo coming soon. Reportedly, it will be the same build I got to play during my hands-on preview. If you’ve been waiting for a swashbuckling tabletop adventure, gather up some friends and give Demeo a try when the demo fully releases on February 21. If you enjoy your experience, then you can look out for the official release on Steam on April 7.
Demeo: PC Edition also has some expansions (like most tabletop games, I assume) — The Black Sarcophagus, Realm of the Rat King, and Roots of Evil. Additionally, it will launch with five playable classes, including The Bard, which was not playable in my demo build. Overall, I’m excited to jump into the full game with my friends, and maybe fill the tabletop shaped void in my heart that was created from a lack of social interaction.