Book of Demons (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Athanasios 26.12.2020

Review for Book of Demons on Nintendo Switch

When Cubed3 got the chance to taste the first book in the library of the 'Paperverse,' the realm where '90s PC gaming gets mixed with paper cut-outs and pop-ups, what was found was a magnificent game that was part Blizzard's Diablo, part card-builder; one that was easy to grasp, as well as extremely addicting to play. Don't have a PC, or in need of some demon-slaying before bedtime, or while riding public transport? Worry not, as Thing Trunk's gem is now on the Nintendo Switch.

As seen in the review of its original, PC version, Book of Demons doesn't hide what its influences are. This is basically Diablo; a parody of its tropes and story, and at the same time a homage to this old, ARPG classic. It pokes fun at it, and yet retains its dark atmosphere, as everything, from the characters, enemies, overall structure, and even music being almost Cease and Desist-level similar, with the main difference being that it's all made out of paper, something that gives it a unique, and honestly, pleasing-to-the-eye look. Is the gameplay a clone of Diablo as well? Sort of…

This is still about descending a deep labyrinth, which is broken in chapters, the third one being the realm of Hell itself; it's still about hacking and slashing undead and demons; it's still about collecting sweet loot. However. However, Book of Demons simplifies the concept. The characters move on "rails," and you click on enemies when they get close to hit them. In theory a downgrade from a typical ARPG, yet the way this limits your movement forces you to play more tactically, as you can't simply dodge attacks or run away - which leads to the ace up your sleeve, or, more specifically, the many aces up your sleeve.

Screenshot for Book of Demons on Nintendo Switch

Rather than actual skills, the three available character classes find cards, and build a deck of abilities. The aforementioned tactical aspect has to do with the fact that one can make all sorts of combinations, and most importantly, change cards on the fly, a technique that definitely must be mastered if one wants to survive in harder difficulties, or in the crashing punishment of the Roguelike mode, which has permadeath, amongst a few other obstacles. Is that all? Sadly, while the game is actually tons of fun, and quite addicting, there's no equipment to discover, and not much to do upon leveling-up, apart from increasing the health or mana pool. The only way to make a build feel unique is through cards and cards alone.

There are a few more flaws to talk about. Ranged classes are somewhat better at surviving, and more enjoyable to play; battles can get very repetitive, with most enemies constantly freezing, poisoning, stunning, blocking you, and many more; and, finally, there's not much end-game content, as one can 100% the main campaign in a week or two (tops). It's important to note that these issues don't ruin the fun factor. This is a great indie, and the Switch port is a technically sound piece of software, exactly like the original. In reality, however, there's only one thing to mention here, and that's the controls. This has always been the biggest challenge when it comes to console ports that were made to be used with the mouse, and this has always been very… click-intensive.

Without getting into much detail, the one responsible for this has done a fine job, despite plenty of room for improvement, especially when it comes to navigating the card collection - but no matter how well it was all handled, this isn't the same experience. An hour or so into it, and it's easy to get comfortable with the control scheme on offer, but it always feels as if something is missing (if that makes any sense), especially when it comes to trying out the Roguelike mode, where the absence of a mouse can truly be "felt." Having said that, Book of Demons remains one hell of a great time (pun intended) - and don't forget the trade-off: you can now play it anywhere you want!

Screenshot for Book of Demons on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Book of Demons takes Diablo's addictive gameplay (and visual style, music, story… and many more), and embellishes it with a set of cards that act as the abilities of your heroes. Thing Trunk's gem isn't a flawless one, sure, and the transition to the Switch removes one of its key components, which is the mouse, but this remains a pretty neat… err, card 'n' slasher that needs to be in the Switch library of every ARPG fan.

Developer

SONKA

Publisher

505 Games

Genre

Real Time RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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