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.