When you play a new mobile RPG, you sadly too often know exactly what you are going to get.
While there is a comfort in familiarity, too much of it can often lead to a contempt for the thing itself, for no longer distilling the pleasure it once did. This is where I’m at with mobile RPGs as a whole, which too often find it easier to tip their hat to the past, rather than put their head down and blaze a new trail.
Unfortunately, this growing trend happens to be the same view I have on Devils and Demons, a game so generic that I had to double check its uninspired title just now for accuracy.
Uninspiring. That’s the word. Devils and Demons bills itself as a strategy RPG (in fact the “best strategy RPG ever” according to its Google Play listing) that sees you assemble a group of heroes to battle a long-vanished ancient evil back for more. In it, you follow a grid based system and, through the use of two action points per character, vanquish your foes back to the oblivion from whence they came.
But you’ll be hard pressed to care about any of it. Technically Devils and Demons makes good on its claim (hyperbole aside) and provides a strategy RPG experience not entirely dissimilar from great games before it of the same build. What it doesn’t do, however, is make any effort whatsoever to break the mold.
There is not a plot to be found which hasn’t been seen in countless other works of the same medieval fantasy nature, nor a world which doesn’t feel like it couldn’t have been assembled from clip art of the same period. Instead, Devils and Demons hedges its bets on providing a competent version of a game like Final Fantasy Tactics on the go.
The results are a game that just feels cold. It’s like that scene from sci-fi films where the ship is going down, and the captain says to throw aside everything non-essential to remove weight. That’s what you’re left with. A vessel doing all it can just to stay above the clouds.
Yet even in that pursuit Devils and Demons falls short. The way it makes you navigate its grid system even in moments of calm feels cumbersome and outdated, and it’s pay to play approach is particularly bothersome. Gold rules in this game as it buys you the usual RPG equipment and items, but also buys you new abilities when you level up. There are experience points, but they only unlock the abilities you spend gold on. Gold being used to do pretty much anything becomes a problem when you realize it isn’t exactly plentiful, but can be bought with, you guessed it, real money.
So what are we left with? Well, a game that is technically proficient in the sense that you’ll be able to dungeon crawl, level-up and micromanage battles to your heart’s content. Make no mistake that when it’s at its best, Devils and Demons does provide a strategy RPG that showcases an understanding of the essentials that drive this genre. There are moments in this game where everything feels right, and you’re playing the type of game you expect to play. This is accentuated by the fact that in short bursts (say en route to work) the experience it is offering can feel quite epic.
Is Devils and Demons a bad game then? No. Not by any traditional means. It does its job and it only fusses about it as much as can reasonably be expected.
At the same time, there’s nothing here which is in and of itself truly worthwhile.
Is it Hardcore
It’s a strategy RPG. Nothing more, nothing less.