Demeo Continues to be one of the best VR Game Offerings Available
A year ago at PAX, I tried out the desktop version of the cooperative dungeon-diving VR game Demeo and came away in love. After getting home from last year’s event, I promptly threw on my Meta Quest 2 headset and downloaded the game, and I haven’t looked back since. It quickly became one of my most beloved virtual reality titles, raised to the same lofty heights as Resident Evil 4 VR and Beat Saber. Now, after a year full of updates and finding its home on new VR headsets, I stopped back at the Demeo booth to see if they could wow me again.
This time around, I had the privilege of checking out the version of Demeo running on Meta’s latest headset, the Quest Pro, and experiencing Demeo’s passthrough augmented reality option. That by itself would have been awesome, but this Quest Pro had a special version of Demeo installed on it, a build featuring a yet-to-be-released feature, hand tracking!
Let’s begin with the augmented reality passthrough aspects. For those unaware, the Quest Pro features color outward facing cameras that allow the wearer to see around them even while wearing the headset. Games are able to take advantage of said cameras to overlay game models and graphics on real-world surfaces, which in Demeo’s case means that the dungeon you and your friends play on will be splayed out in front of you on a nearby flat surface. While the resolution is a bit lacking (this has to do with the cameras and not on Demeo, mind you), the addition of color with the video passthrough added a surprising amount of immersion that I wasn’t expecting when I went in. This passthrough feature can be found on any of the headsets that have the ability natively, including the Quest 2’s black-and-white cameras, and has been available for some time now.
The real meat-and-potatoes of my time, though, was being blown away by the hand-tracking functionality that was in the build I played. This change allows players to forgo controllers altogether and instead play Demeo as you would in almost any other traditional, in-person tabletop adventure. The tracking makes the whole experience feel much more natural, from picking up your little miniature avatar like you would any plastic mini on a map and even reaching out, picking up your dice, and throwing them to roll. It is an inclusion whose unobtrusive design removes another barrier of entry for new players to get immersed in the game.
Even the more video gamey-like mechanics, like flipping, open your hand and seeing your selection of abilities and spells you have, or recreating the gesture of looking at a wristwatch to see the turn orders. They are common gestures that have been incorporated to serve an easy-to-understand purpose, and it just is more fun than a button press or toggle menu to do. What was even better is that while the update that will add this feature is still a number of months out, the tracking was still rather solid with only the occasional desync or hiccup, but it would quickly fix itself. Hopefully, I will be able to ditch the controllers sooner rather than later!
As I play Demeo primarily on my Quest 2, I came away from trying out these new features with anxious anticipation for the update to release. I applaud the team at Resolution Games for providing Demeo players with so much quality free content, from campaign packs, full-blown spinoff modes such as model painting, the passthrough view, and soon the ability to simply use your hands to play. As an avid tabletop player, being able to reach out and pick up the digital dice and roll them on the board like I would at my weekly in-person game greatly added to the already grand experience that Demeo offers. Plus, it was just really fun to pick up and chuck the dice across the show floor and see it tumbling off near the other stalls. Demeo is a must-play game for anyone with a virtual reality headset, and with its fully cross-play functionality for its multiplayer, it means you and your friend can all tackle the scary dungeons regardless of how you wish to play!
Demeo is available now on the Quest Store, Steam, the PlayStationVR2, Pico, and the Epic Game Store!