Parents' Guide to


By David Chapman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Tabletop adventure is the next best thing to being there.

Demeo Poster Image

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What you will—and won't—find in this game.

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No matter how fun an online game might be, nothing replaces the feeling of getting together with a group of friends around a table, rolling for crits with a good old-fashioned role-playing adventure. That's all changed with Demeo, a fantasy adventure that seamlessly combines all the best of old school RPG (role-playing game) board games with the flash and flair that video games can (literally) bring to the table. The game goes beyond the limitations of the real world, immersing players in a unique experience that comes alive right before their eyes, especially when playing the VR version. First, players join together in a game, their floating masks and gloves representing their position around the table. Players can move, spin, tilt, and zoom on the table to their hearts' content, constantly giving the best view of the action, though it can be a little disorienting at first. Flipping over a wrist shows available action cards right in the palm of their hands. And rolling a die or moving a piece is as simple as just picking it up. All the while, banter among players comes through as clear as if everyone was standing next to one another. It all just feels natural. While the desktop version of the game loses a lot of the immersion that the VR platforms allow, it still gives players plenty of control and keeps that "living board game with friends" feeling alive and well. In both versions, it feels less like a video game and more like a causal game night gathering.

It's when the action unfolds that the magic really happens and the board game literally becomes alive. Watching characters fling magic spells around the board like a destructive fireworks display or falling victim to a well-played enemy ambush from the shadows brings the party into the adventure like nothing else. It takes a lot of coordination and strategy between players to succeed in recovering the magic key and ultimately defeating the dungeon's guardian. The developers have made sure to give adventurers more incentive to keep coming back to Demeo. The game, which originally launched with a single adventure campaign and four character classes (Guardian, Sorcerer, Assassin, and Hunter), has since added two more campaigns and a an additional Bard class. While the game's Skirmish mode gives players a chance to take on the forces of evil solo, this is definitely a game designed to play with others. To that end, the developers added a "Heroes Hangout" social area to the Demeo experience. In this virtual basement game room, players can customize their avatars, read up on the latest Discord discussions on the game, and compete with one another in a simple archery game. There's even a fully functional arcade machine, called "The Hauntlet," which is a simplified spin on the retro arcade classic, Gauntlet. Players can lounge around in the Hangout, chat with each other, and start up game sessions all within this virtual lobby. It all comes together seamlessly to create a gaming experience that manages to somehow feel grounded in reality while still injecting a level of fantasy that makes the world truly magical.

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