Demeo was one of the more interesting VR experiences of 2021. In a year the pandemic made getting together for a board game night a dicey proposition, Demeo came in on the VR platforms and gave us the means to play a fantasy-fiction tabletop of an all-new caliber. A year after Demeo captured out hearts, Resolution is expanding the fun to non-VR players with the PC edition of the game, and they were kind enough to invite me in for an online session and early look at how the adaptation is going.
If you don’t know what’s going on with Demeo, here’s the rundown. It’s a procedurally generated dungeon crawler in which up to four players venture into a multi-floor dungeon to try to kill a monster with a key and advance to an exit door. At the end of various levels is one last floor in which players must defeat a boss. Built as a living tabletop game, players take turns moving their character, playing a set of ability cards at their disposal, attacking enemies, and searching the dungeon for treasure and the key. Along the way, enemies will appear and try to put a stop to your progress in turn-based combat. An entire party wipe means starting the dungeon run over from the first floor.
One of Demeo’s greatest strengths was always in its simplicity of control. That has been adapted sensibly to its PC counterpart. By default, the WASD keys move the camera around and you can rotate it with either the mouse or the Q and E keys. Meanwhile, using the mouse, you can pick up you character to move them, attack a foe, open a chest, or otherwise interact with the dungeon. You can also move the cursor down to access your cards and pick one to play, like the Assassin’s Blink card allowing you to blink behind a foe for an attack or the Ranger’s rain of arrows card firing arrows over multiple spaces for AoE damage. All of this was incredibly simple to handle and a great transition from Demeo’s VR version where you use the controllers to act as your two hands for all of these interactions.
Demeo’s environments are faithfully recreated here as well. PC players won’t be able to move around quite as easily as VR players can in this game, but you’ll still be able to look around the game board at your leisure and peek around the virtual room in which you and your friends are playing. Moreover, the camaraderie is intact. It was a rather fun experience talking out our evolving gameplan with my fellow players to try to make sure we all made it out of each dungeon floor alive. You can play any composition of the classes or take on each class for a wide variety of ability cards, so every group will find their own happy way to take on the game.
During the demo, I wasn’t able to see things like VR/PC crossplay, the modules past the original one, or the new Bard class, but Resolution Games has plans to implement all of this by the time Demeo PC Edition launches in April. When it comes out, the PC edition will be updated one-to-one with the VR game, meaning all upcoming content and updates after launch will come at the same time on both VR and PC platforms. With this in mind, my time with Demeo PC Edition left me wanting to quest with others all the more, and I can’t wait to share this experience with my friends and colleagues whether they have a VR headset or not.
This preview is based on a hands-on demo presented by the publisher. Demeo PC Edition is set to release on April 7, 2022 on PC via Steam. An early demo will be available to play on February 21 via the Steam Next Fest February 2022 event.