Reviews - Updated on April 10, 2022

It is clear where the legs grow from all those numerous “bagels” that are now coming out in droves on Steam. However, few people openly recall Rogue or Diablo in their games. But the employees of Thing Trunk did it right: their Book of Demons is both a declaration of love and a kind of ironic look at Diablo, an attempt to imagine how it would look now, taking into account modern trends. Naturally, it would be a mixture of “clicker”, “bagel”, collectible card game, digitized paper “board” and hack & slash …

Why do we need a blacksmith?

No one hides the parallels with the cult Blizzard game. The protagonist (or heroine) after many years returns to his native village and learns that she is suffering from a demonic invasion, the source of which is under the local cathedral. And it all started after the disappearance of the bishop. Having chosen one of the three classic classes (naturally, this is a warrior, mage or archer), we must clear the catacombs under the monastery over and over again, destroying crowds of monsters, and go down lower and lower in order to break off the horns of the Archdemon in the finale.

During breaks, you can return or immediately teleport to the village to heal, trade, chat, pick up a reward from the local analogue of the horadric cube (the more often you do this, the more expensive the next use of the pot) and improve something. At the base we are met by familiar faces – an elder, a doctor, an innkeeper and a witch, she is a fortune teller.

Only the blacksmith is missing, to which the fortuneteller remarks with a grin something along the lines of “Imagine, the heroes used to trade with the blacksmith. It’s kind of medieval! No wonder he went bankrupt.” But now, instead of weapons, armor and other items, there are magic cards – this is fashionable, modern, youthful.

And here are the cards

Indeed, all items, as well as active and passive skills in the Book of Demons have been replaced by cards. Initially, a starter set is available, and new ones drop out of defeated “bosses”, open chests and sarcophagi. Maps (as well as dungeon levels) are generated “randomly”: most often there are ordinary ones, but some kind of epic one can also fall out. Book of Demons game review

Here you can determine for yourself what size dungeon you want to go through and how much time you spend on it. Very comfortably!

Some have to be identified for some money from the elder. And everyone is allowed to improve with the help of runes – this simultaneously strengthens them and increases the cost of using them for mana points.

There are many cards, and the number of slots for them is limited. New ones need to be opened for big money. Therefore, you have to think about what is better to put – fire arrows or a card that increases the chance to avoid stun / critical damage / poisoning. As the deck grows and new slots open, the active set can be changed and shuffled in every possible way, thus forming your own fighting style and passing tactics.

paper soldier

The action of Book of Demons takes place in the Paper Universe, on the pages of a book game where there are no letters, but there are paper figures of monsters, chests and altars with red and blue liquids. And in the middle of all this, there is a path along which, like a train on rails, a paper figure of our character moves. You can’t get off it in order to come close to a chest or an enemy standing five meters to the left – instead, a cursor is used, which constantly has to click on everything you see in order to hit, open or collect the fallen gold, card, potion and other loot.

The elements of the “clicker” are expressed not only in this. Some enemies stun us, and then we have to quickly click on the flying stars so that the hero comes to his senses. And then also for downed cards in active slots, so that they return to their place and work again as they should. Many opponents are protected – you need to quickly click on the shields to break them. Or by the icons of spells – to disrupt their application.

Book of Demons game review

At each new level, you can invest in a health indicator or increase mana reserves.

Full house in hell

This principle of movement is somewhat discouraging at first. Moreover, the character does not always quickly respond to commands, and again, you have to click persistently several times so that he turns around and jumps in the right direction. When you watch how a warrior desperately cuts the air, and the enemy located at a distance from him still takes damage, you involuntarily start to smile and think that we have some kind of surreal parody of hack & slash.

In many ways, it is. Enemies here can drop … poop at the cost of one coin. When you open a blue-lit super sarcophagus, the game casts lots and determines what you get – a chic reward or the same poop. And maybe a crowd of skeletons to pile on. The names of some cards clearly parody the famous system of randomly determining the names of items – it turns out something in the spirit of “Fear of time-elephant of treatment.” Once in a place where it is very hot, the archer says with a grin: “My ex was right – here I am in hell.” And the famous The Butcher (Butcher) then turned into a demonic cook, head of the local kitchen. After killing him, just tons of carrots fall out of the corpse!

Shoot while you’re young

Such jokes in Book of Demons are especially valuable on the “casual” and normal (that is, normal) difficulty levels – jokes help dispel boredom. On “normal”, my archer for level 31 died exactly once, respawning in the city for free. She began to experience some problems only in hell, where the former sent her, and even then closer to the battle with the Archdemon.

I tried both warrior and mage. And judging by my feelings, it was the archer who turned out to be the most “imbecile” character. And the thing is that she has a large (rather, even infinite) radius of destruction – it goes not only beyond her visibility, but also, in principle, beyond the boundaries of the screen. Therefore, the algorithm of actions here, as a rule, is simple: we go to the level, hear where the demonic bleating comes from, hold down Shift and start shooting arrows there, which fly out of the bow faster than bullets from a Kalashnikov assault rifle.

Book of Demons game review

Rune cards need to be mixed in order to make cooler upgrades to the main deck.

Of course, the types of enemies in bulk, many try to get close, butt, stun, poison and surround. But the majority perish on the outskirts of the heroic body. If the situation starts to heat up, you can always push opponents away with a special card, use health potions (there are always enough of them), or run away from the level to heal in the city or on an already cleared level. Even better, if there is an altar with a red substance nearby (it constantly regenerates on normal difficulty) or a gate that only your character can enter – enemies will crowd at the entrance, remaining vulnerable to our arrows and spells.

The harder the better!

“Bosses” of all stripes in the Book of Demons most often attack in the same way – by summoning minions and activating shields. And they can do this for 10 minutes, relying on the protection and thickness of their carcass. And all this time you shoot arrows, holding down Shift, periodically healing, yawning and thinking when it will finally end. In hell and in fights with key enemies, it all just multiplies many times – the number of arrows fired, potions drunk, yawns and time spent.

Of course, at the Roguelike difficulty level, the situation changes. There are restrictions on healing, opponents are stronger, they approach and surround more often, cards and items fall out less often and in a completely random way, and respawning in the city costs decent money – if there are none, then your character will burn in hell forever. Therefore, you have to act much more carefully, spend more time choosing the right deck, trying different tactics and carefully studying the features and effects of cards. It is at this level that I recommend playing.

But, you see, the situation in which the passage on medium difficulty slides for the most part into boredom and routine is not quite normal.

Clicker in action!

***

If you play Book of Demons on Roguelike difficulty, you can get a lot of masochistic pleasure, understanding why the game has collected so many awards even before the release. Moreover, after completing the campaign, a free mode opens up, where in the global ranking you can compete with other players in who will plunge deeper into the catacombs. It is especially pleasing that this is only the first sign in the Return 2 Games project started by the developers – a series of original creations made under inspiration from the golden era of computer games. Well, we look forward to continuing. And we hope that next time the authors will pay more attention to balance.

Pros: original gameplay that interestingly (and sometimes unexpectedly) mixes elements of different genres; an abundance of cards; appropriate humor; nice picture; excellent voice acting and overall work with music and sounds.

Cons: It’s too easy to play on normal difficulty.

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