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Review: Exorcise the Demons is a Great Asymmetrical Multiplayer Concept Botched by Bad Instructions

 

Screenshot: Exorcise the Demons

I love asymmetrical multiplayer games. The simplest way to explain how they work is that one player does one task, while another player supports them by doing an entirely different task. One of my favorite asymmetrical multiplayer games ever was Keep Talking and No One Explodes. It’s so asymmetrical that only one person has the controls as the bomb defusers, and one or more people help the defuser by working together to disarm the bomb. When I found out that there was another game using a similar idea–involving exorcism rituals instead of bomb defusing–I knew I had to give it a shot.

Exorcise the Demons is a game where you play as a person trapped in some hellscape. To escape, you have to complete a ritual by solving a puzzle (or several) before time runs out, and then test the answer when your character uses the results of the ritual to exorcise whatever demon appears when the book is opened.

Screenshot: Exorcise the Demons

In Exorcise the Demons you’ll be manipulating Ouija boards, candles, runes and other objects to complete rituals—with the instructions on how to solve these puzzles coming from the person with the Book of Rituals–a PDF that is the essential tome for solving the puzzles you’ll come across. This is where problems become apparent.

Screenshot: Exorcise the Demons

It’s obvious there’s some translation issue in the Book of Rituals—or even just badly written instructions. That wouldn’t normally be an issue, but the ability to understand how to solve the puzzles is essential to even begin to play the game. Failure comes with a cost, too, as each time you fail to complete the rituals properly, you’ll lose the round and be subject to the entire sequence’s dialogue over and over again.

Nevertheless, my partner and I soldiered on, and we eventually started having a lot of fun. Communication is key—and the only way to be successful is to be accurate in your descriptions. The first time you come across a new puzzle, it’s always the most difficult, but after a while you might start to develop your own lingo for the runes, puzzle types, etc, and become more comfortable with how each one works.

Screenshot: Exorcise the Demons

Progress came to a screeching halt later though, and that was because we could not, no matter how many different ways we tried it, figure out the solution to a specific puzzle given the vague, badly translated instructions provided. Unfortunately, that totally put a stop to our progress in the game, and we weren’t able to continue.

That’s not too big a loss though, because the campaign’s story isn’t a great one. In fact, it’s bad on almost every level–from the writing to the presentation. The voice acting is abysmal, coupled with terrible writing. It’s something that shouldn’t have escaped the bowels of hell, where this game should be cast. The story is a joke, and most dialogue is just a variation of the dialogue that came before it.

Screenshot: Exorcise the Demons

Unfortunately, I’d like to recommend Exorcise the Demons—but I can’t. Perhaps it will be redeemed with future patches, but it’s currently in a state that makes it less than pleasant to try to experience. The translation of the Book of Rituals is an issue–and it’s an issue that goes from mildly amusing/annoying to making the game unplayable. It’s one of my biggest disappointments this year, and it’s something that we spent an extremely long time trying to have fun with. And while we did manage some fun, that fun was stopped abruptly, and left a hellishly sour taste in my mouth.

On top of this, Exorcise the Demons doesn’t seem to be getting any support from the devs. There was one patch, and the “first free DLC” released—but not a peep in about a month. It’s too bad, because I was holding off this review in hopes that some of these problems would be fixed.

Screenshot: Exorcise the Demons

As it is right now, Exorcise the Demons is barely playable.

 

Exorcise the Demons is available now on Windows

 

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