Return 2 Games: Books of Demons by developer Thing Trunk is a “deck-building dungeon hack and slash adventure“. Return 2 Games (R2G) is comprised of 7 games. Each will be unique but also share a grand vision. Each will also pay tribute to a single hit game from the 90’s. I had the opportunity to try out Book of Demons, which is one of the 7.
Book of Demons is a universal tale of good and evil about saving the world from total destruction and devilry!https://www.return2games.com/#
Sound familiar? Book of Demons pays tribute to one of my favorite games, Diablo. Of course as a huge fan of Diablo I was immediately intrigued. I was given the opportunity to try out the press version of the game. I can agree that it definitely gives a nod if not it’s whole body to Diablo. Some of you may not remember or didn’t play the original Diablo. For those of you not familiar with it, it was a dungeon crawler where you continuously battled demons and other monsters as you worked your way further into the dungeon. Throughout the levels you also collected gold and other items and occasionally fought tougher bosses. All of this was done as you leveled your character and got closer to the ultimate boss, Diablo. This game definitely has similarities.
Book of Demons is designed in a pop-up story book fashion. The characters are very stylized paper cut-outs and are similar to the ones you would see in Diablo, even though the names are different. This was very evident when I came across the first “quest” or boss battle. The first boss you come across is known as “The Cook”. He is designed very similar to Diablo’s “The Butcher”, and is even holding a cleaver in his hand.
Besides the look of the game, one of the big differences between the 2 games is the way the skills are done. Book of Demons utilizes a card style of skills. As you progress through the levels you will pick up various cards. These cards will either give you new skills, allow you to upgrade skills, or add to your available pile. As you collect money and mana you will have the opportunity to open additional card slots to add new skills. You will definitely want to go back to town from time to time to upgrade your skills.
Each level is filled with monsters, treasure, pools of blood for healing and as you get further down the dungeon, even pools of mana. There are urns to destroy and chests to open to acquire the money you need to help level your characters skills. The developers did add a bit of humour to the character when picking up the money. I couldn’t help but laugh when my warrior picked up a pile of money worth $1 and gave a disgusted sound.
Another intriguing addition to this game is the Flexiscope system. Once you’ve gone a few levels, this option will open up. What the Flexiscope does is allow you to set the length of the quests or number of dungeon levels. They’ve really taken into consideration that players might not have the hours they need to complete a dungeon and so have given the player the option adjust the estimated time. To this they add or remove enemies to allow you to complete the dungeon faster. In some cases there will be a limit to the size of the dungeon. I found that estimated time is really for a player who isn’t familiar with dungeon crawlers as I was able complete most dungeons in a relatively short amount of time.
There are 3 types of characters you can play: Warrior, Rogue, and Mage. These are classic RPG or dungeon crawler characters. When you start only the Warrior is available to you, however the other 2 are unlocked at level 5. One thing I found was that you could switch to the other characters mid-game, however you had to start at the beginning again. Although there is no real worry as your overall ranking has not changed so you really aren’t starting over.
There are also 3 difficulty levels you can select from: Casual, Normal and Massacre. Each will add more and stronger demons. You can change your difficulty level at any time, so there is no worry that you’ve selected the wrong difficulty. Book of Demons is not a complicated game and for seasoned dungeon crawlers I would recommend the Normal or Massacre difficulties to give a bit of a challenge. Also the Rogue and Mage characters are a bit more “squishy”. Selecting those characters can definitely increase the difficulty move further into the dungeon.
As mentioned earlier I was intrigued by the notion of a game paying tribute to one of my all time favorite games. I was not disappointed. At every turn there was a nod to the classic Diablo game. The music and sound effects are also reminiscent of the other dungeon crawler games. Some of the character noises are unusual and entertaining. I did enjoy getting the advance warning on the ghosts as you can often hear them before seeing them. .
Overall this is an enjoyable game and quite addicting. I found myself not wanting to stop. As I completed one level I would continually think “just one more level”. Although it is a fairly easy dungeon-crawler I would still recommend it. In particular it’s a great start for anyone wanting to try out that style of game. As for the “tribute to Diablo”. My only suggestion would be to make the dungeons a bit longer or have more elaborate mazes. In the end though, it’s a very well done tribute. It’s been a few years since I last played Diablo, but many of the classic Diablo components were present and brought me right back to those early days. Well done Thing Trunk. I look forward to the next book in the series.
Book of Demons is available for PC on Steam. You can also head to Return 2 Games to try a demo.
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Book of Demons - PC Review
- Overall - 8/108/10
Return 2 Games: Book of Demons is a hack and slash dungeon crawler that pays tribute to the 80’s game Diablo. At every turn there was a nod to the classic game. Set in a paper version of the classic Diablo dungeons. Your goal is to battle your way through demons and other magical creatures to save the town. Overall this is an enjoyable and addictive game.