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New games: Book of Demons mixes deck building with dungeon crawling

A cardboard tribute to the Lord of Terror.

The dungeons in isometric action RPGs like Diablo and Path of Exile always look like little miniatures dioramas instead of the supposedly enormous caverns they’re meant to represent, and it’s something I’ve always enjoyed about them. Book of Demons leans into that look, and blends the addictive loops of loot-hunting and deck-building together in a unique papercraft style.

We’ve seen this done before, of course – both Card Hunter and Guild of Dungeoneering have tied dungeon exploration and monster combat to hands drawn from decks of equipment and ability cards. Book of Demons does this too, but the key difference is that here, the action unfolds in real time.

Book of Demons isn’t shy about its influences, and is even willing to throw a bit of loving irreverence toward Diablo, which it is clearly modeled after. The look is enough to carry it quite a way: all the characters and monsters are built like little cardboard models, hopping along the way you might move a piece on a Dungeons & Dragons map.

Here’s the trailer:

The attacks and abilities you have available will be determined by cards you pick up and equip as you explore the Book of Demons’ dungeons, which are haunted by your usual walking corpses, skeleton archers, and evil wizards. But the action is simple and mouse-driven, and the classic 3/4 view is built like a home-made playset – which makes Book of Demons a pleasantly nostalgic experience, all without the usual frustration of re-learning an ancient control scheme.

Book of Demons is the first game from Polish indie studio Thing Trunk. It released on Steam this week, and it’s currently on sale at a launch discount of 20% off. For fans of the original Diablo, Book of Demons will be a pleasant and often funny diversion.