Demeo Battles: A Review of the Competitive PvP Spin-Off
Demeo Battles – The Facts
When it released in 2021, we named Demeo our Game of the Year across all VR platforms. Though the cooperative experience was still in its early days, the core offering was such a thrilling, perfect execution of social VR that it was the obvious pick. While it presented an interesting VR adaptation of a turn-based tabletop dungeon crawler, it was the experience of playing around a virtual game board with friends that pushed it over the edge. Demeo Battles is a new entry in the franchise, offering the same core foundation but with a different, competitive-based ruleset. Sitting in the shadow of Demeo, the biggest question is clear: does Battles do enough to justify being its own release?
What is Demeo Battles?
Demeo Battles is a competitive PvP spin-off of Demeo that sees 1-4 players go head-to-head in short 10-15 minutes matches. It is available on Quest and SteamVR and was developed by Resolution Games. The price is $19.99.
Going Into Battles
In the two years since release, Resolution Games has added several free content expansions to Demeo that add entirely new campaigns at no added cost. The team’s continued commitment to supporting existing players, while also expanding onto new platforms like PC and PSVR 2 (and soon, Apple Vision Pro) is impressive. Resolution Games initially announced Battles as a PvP game mode coming to Demeo. Further down the line, however, the team instead pivoted plans towards Battles, an entirely standalone release that would arrive separate to the core Demeo title.
- Available today as a paid release, Demeo Battles sees Resolution Games begin to expand its newfound intellectual property into a budding franchise
- There’s a lot of shared ground between Demeo and Demeo Battles – for those who have played Demeo before, a lot will feel familiar
- All of Demeo‘s best system-level integrations are present in Battles
What’s the Same?
Demeo Battles takes the foundation of the co-operative dungeon crawler and spins it out into a new format, based around quick competitive matches. Instead of working together through campaigns, players will go head-to-head in shorter matches that last 10-15 minutes and support 1-4 players. There’s a lot of shared ground between Demeo and Demeo Battles – for those who have played Demeo before, a lot will feel familiar. There’s many of the same heroes from the base game, as well as cards, attacks, abilities, and monsters. The base controls, UI, and general game systems are identical.
With so much borrowed from Demeo, this might sound like Resolution Games is re-hashing previously-trod ground, but that’s not the full story. Yes, a lot of the assets and core fundamentals of Demeo are being re-used here, but Resolution has also put in effort to create something new where it counts. The maps carry over the fantasy settings established in Demeo‘s campaigns, but completely overhaul them with new layouts designed specifically for competitive play.
- There are new layouts designed specifically for competitive play
- There are a beautiful new virtual environment surrounding the game board
- There is a minute-long turn timer to speed up the pace
- There is a perimeter of lava that begins encroaching onto the map halfway through a match
Players can join one of two teams during pre-match setup, with four available hero slots. Some resources are more expensive than others, so part of the strategy is how you invest between monsters and abilities, balancing them against your heroes’ style of play. Other additions spice up the formula – a minute-long turn timer speeds up the pace, as does a perimeter of lava that begins encroaching onto the map halfway through a match.
Does it Work?
In a wide sense, absolutely. It would be easy to dismiss the format as just a variation on Demeo, but that undercuts just how engaging a match of Battles actually is. The shorter length of a given match is a huge boon – it gives you the best parts of Demeo in a much tighter presentation. Demeo’s core cooperative campaigns are fantastic, but they’re also a big commitment. There’s no such thing as a ‘quick’ game of Demeo. Battles scratches that itch, arguably presenting a version of the game that will be more immediately engaging to new players. In terms of game modes, there’s a quick play matchmaking option, as well as private match hosting for friends via room codes.
In my opinion, this new game mode offers an exciting twist on the original VR Game News and provides an engaging experience for both new and existing players. The shorter, competitive format of Battles adds a layer of complexity and strategy that sets it apart from the cooperative campaigns and expands the Demeo universe in an exciting new direction.