Book of Demons, aka Paper Diablo

Yo! I just watched a video about Book of Demons, an interesting game that’s hit early access on Steam:

It’s an ARPG that looks like Diablo with a Paper Marioesque visual style, combined with some Hand of Fate card mechanics thrown in for good measure. I just watched a short video by ZiggyD talking about it

The initial presentation shows a stunning similarity to the original Diablo game: you have health and mana globes, placed on the left and right sides of the screen You equip skills for your left and right buttons. When not questing you hang out at a game hub in a town with a blacksmith, vendors and a Deckard Cain type character standing in front of it. You’re exploring through the basement of a Church. The first quest involve you defeating someone called The Cook (i.e., the Butcher). Dungeons have mana and health shrines So yeah, sounds like a copy of Diablo 1. However, maybe they’re not copying Diablo, maybe it’s a homage - while the visuals seem to pay respects to Diablo 1, the gameplay has a number of interesting design elements:

Some of these interesting design decisions:

  • when entering a dungeon, you choose what size dungeon you want: dungeons can be generated in different sizes, with larger dungeons taking more time and yielding more rewards. So if you’re only playing for a few minutes you can generate a very small dungeon and have some fun. If you have more time, generate a larger dungeon and have more fun (dungeons are randomly generated, except for quest related bosses I believe).
  • inventory and skills have been boiled down to a system where you equip cards from a larger pool. Equipping inventory cards uses up mana. So there’s a tension between equipping good gear and leaving yourself with enough mana to perform actions.
  • inside the dungeon, you’re on rails. Yeah, on rails. It seems like a strange choice, except from what I saw, it appears to work
  • movement on rails works because fighting is very active: battling mobs consists of more than just clicking left or right button. When enemies cast spells, you can interrupt them by clicking on the spell icon over their heads. When enemies have shields, you need to break them by clicking on the shield. When poisoned, or frozen, or stunned, you can click on items here and there on the screen to counteract the condition. When you take a big hit, your cards go a bit askew, and you have to straighten them out (it’s not clear to me what happens if you don’t but if you’re the least bit OCD you’ll do it anyway!).

I’m sure there’s more but go check out those links yourself.

The game is scheduled to have 3 classes, but as of now only has one class implemented. It’s supposed to release at the end of July (so they’d better get cracking on those other two classes). It’s early access priced at $14.99.

We really are swimming in good ARPGs these days. We didn’t necessarily need another one, but this one looks like a keeper.

ZiggyD is a bit of a Path of Exile legend, so I am going to have to give this a close look!

I bought this game, then refunded it and got their supporters bundle which gets you all of their games. I REALLY like this a lot. I love the little quality of life things, and also that you can set how long you want your session to be (hey, I have 7 minutes, generate this appropriately). Really fun so far.

Yeah, it does work. Your movement is strictly to the corridors, but you interact with whatever is under your cursor, such as breaking vases or shattering shields, but it has to be within a certain radius of your characters to be able to interact with it.

Would be interesting to know what the other games are they tend to draw upon for the series.

I’ve no idea, but I can’t wait to find out. They said their inspirations are big games from the 90s. I LOVE games from the 90s, so it’s an easy sell for me.

Great game, even in it’s EA state.

Yeah, I picked this up based on the video linked in the OP and it’s glorious fun. It can get pretty darn tough though, lots of things happening all at once, but I’ve yet to die so the balance feels pretty good right now. I’m not sure how far I’ll go, but I beat the first “act” boss and am in a new level type and it’s really entertaining. I’m really curious how they’ll implement new characters.

At this point the only gripe I have is while the cards do seem to drop at random times (I got some cards earlier than the guy in the video since he was farther than I was when he got those same cards) but there isn’t like a massive pool of cards - it seems like you’ll eventually unlock the specific cards for your class I think, as you progress. I do love upgrading them though.

i didn’t die until I hit the catacombs (the second tileset) with a gold prize in the cauldron. All I’ll say is beware of spiders.

I absolutely love the stun mini-game and the “loosened” effect due to being rammed. Both are very thematic.

This game deserves more love than it’s currently receiving. Read their very refreshing EA postmortem.

My heart goes out to the indies because they are making great things. However the underlying theme I keep seeing running though a lot of this is one of oversupply. The democratization of game design and market access has flooded the distribution channels.

New games are not just competing with other close releases but my entire towering backlog.

I think I wishlisted it. It is early access, which I am shying away from unless there is a lot of positive praise on the forums I read. You guys seem positive about it here, but also didn’t make me feel I needed to rush out and buy it.

Thanks for the postmortem link @Mysterio. It’s on my wishlist too, but I shy away from purchasing EA games. I don’t want to burn out on a game before it’s even complete! So I usually wait until release. I hope they make it!

This article is a bit weird: it reads like the developer launched on Early Access as if it was the real launch ‘but not quite, because you know’. Excepting no, I don’t know, and this reads only like a bitter piece with a cheap shot thrown at No Man’s Sky for good measure - after all, the guys who did that one got money, so they don’t care if we say their works suck for the lolz. Sigh.

That’s not an EA postmortem that’s a EA launch postmortem, because as far as I can tell the game is still in EA? I fully plan on buying this, it looks and sounds great, but not so great that I have to play it before it’s out of EA.

I will add that the devs have been very receptive to player recommendations, more so than any other EA dev to whom I’ve provided feedback. If you enjoy recommending improvements to devs during EA and seeing them implemented, this is your game.

See how the game’s played as the Warrior:

A demo for the game is now live on Steam!

I had so much damn fun with this, but I don’t want to play again until it’s feature complete (and I can play as another class). Skip the demo and just buy it, is my advice.

The Mage will be added at the end of November! I’m looking forward to it!

Who can argue with that advice? I surely won’t!