Demeo PC hands-on: The standout vr tabletop game is now available for anyone with a PC and worth checking out
Initially locked to VR, Demeo, developed by Resolution Games, aimed to craft an approachable tabletop-like RPG while retaining a challenging and rewarding experience. However, the biggest barrier they faced wasn't the imposing nature of trying to learn a tabletop RPG, it was that Demeo was locked to only being available on VR headsets - an expense that, although it has come down in recent years, can still prove to be costly. Thankfully, this barrier has now been torn down and a PC-specific version has now been released on early access, and man-o-man is a fun game.
For newcomers, the idea of trying a tabletop RPG like Dungeons & Dragons can be daunting and outright scary. The idea of managing a character sheet, making all the rolls, and the daunting openness can be a lot to adjust to, especially if you are new to it, but there is still an allure to going on adventures with a party of heroes with your friends. For those prospective heroes, Demeo (either the VR or the new PC version) is a perfect way to dip their toes in.
Demeo drops up to four players into a dungeon where they will have to vanquish enemies, collect gold, and find treasures as they work to tackle the final boss at the bottom. The band of heroes is composed of classic heroic staples like the stealthy rogue, armor-clad paladins, and even an extravagant bard, among others, who each wield their own pool of tricks and abilities, represented by a hand of cards. Each class has a special skill that will replenish itself each of your turns while your other cards are single-use only.
You have a couple of options with which to gain new cards in your hand. These include filling a bar by killing monsters found in the dungeon, opening treasure chests scattered throughout, and buying them in between levels using gold that you had collected. Going with this single-use approach does a great job to add tension and strategy to all the fights. Do you hold onto that card that could end the fight fast for later, or do you use it so your party remains healthier now?
Demeo has a scaling difficulty that will adjust itself on-the-fly depending on the number of characters that are currently adventuring. This will mostly just adjust the health of the enemies though, and seemingly didn’t impact the AI or the number of foes that stand in your way. Having played the demo with a party ranging from two to four players, it seemed pretty fair.
For players that may not have friends to play Demeo with, there is a single-player skirmish mode that lets a single person control four characters and while it works, it is far from the best way to play the game. That being said, I find skirmish mode an excellent way for players to try out all the characters quite quickly and get a handle on what each of the classes can do.
Demeo is now available in early access on PC and has been available for some time on both Oculus and Steam for VR headsets and players on either can play together. Playing with my friend and other random PAX attendees was a standout moment for me this year and was one of the best multiplayer experiences I’ve had in quite some time.
Playing on a PC with a mouse and keyboard felt comfortable and natural. Dragging your pieces around on a grid, opening doors to see what dangers and treasures are on the other side, and taking a final stand against dangerous enemies in Demeo provided a similar thrill as it does when I do it by rolling dice around a table.
As much as I enjoyed it there are a couple of things I hope to see in future updates, such as an option to select what skill gets replenished at the start of your turn, or maybe a way to upgrade cards to grant them this feature. Or, perhaps simply an option that would allow players to take in certain cards that will all replenish at the start of a turn but lose the ability to gain new cards during the dungeon.
Playing Demeo on PC was one of my favorite moments of PAX East 2022, and now that so many more people will be able to try it out with the new non-VR version released into early access, there is no better time to give it a shot. Tabletop veterans and newcomers alike will find something to like, and if you end up getting a VR headset one day, you will already have access to the VR version too with the cross-buy and cross-plays feature. Jump into the dungeon heroes, and see what there is to love with Demeo!