Book of Demons

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Book of Demons
"Book of Demons" cover art
Developer(s)Thing Trunk
Publisher(s)Thing Trunk
Producer(s)Filip Starzyński
Designer(s)Filip Starzyński
Artist(s)Maciej Biedrzycki
Writer(s)Konstanty Kalicki
Composer(s)Paweł Błaszczak
SeriesReturn 2 Games
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows, iPadOS, Nintendo Switch
ReleaseMicrosoft Windows
13 December 2018[1]
Nintendo Switch
30 April 2020
Genre(s)Action role-playing, hack and slash

Book of Demons is an isometric hack and slash action role-playing created by Polish studio Thing Trunk. The game was officially released through Steam[2] on 13 December 2018.[3][4] The game was originally developed for Microsoft Windows, but the developers informed about plans to release it also on Xbox One.[5] Book of Demons is the first installment of the Return 2 Games series that aims to bring classic hardcore genres to broader audiences. The game features an unusual art style - all elements of the game (starting from the GUI and ending with monsters) are visualised as papercuttings and pop-up book elements, and such style defines visual framework for the whole series.[6] The game also brings some novelties to the genre - the card system which replaces equipment and skills systems typical for the genre, the Flexiscope feature which allows players to control duration of a game session and movement restricted to a path which add a tactical element to the gameplay.[7]

World and plot[edit]

The world created in the game relates to the classics of hack and slash genre. The action takes place in the Paperverse, more specifically in the dungeons beneath the cathedral standing in Town. In the depths of the maze under the cathedral, a new evil has awakened and threatens the lives of the locals. Their only hope is the help of a wandering hero, the player's character, who starts the crusade against the Ultimate Evil.[8][9]

In the dungeons player meets most of the monsters typical for games set in dark fantasy settings - ghosts, spiders, goatmen, demons, skeletons, zombies and gargoyles. Above the ground, in the Town, the player can interact with four citizens - the Sage, the Fortune-Teller, the Barmaid and the Healer, who build the story of the game through rumours. Citizens of the Town also provide various services:[10]

  • Sage - identifies cards found by the player and writes the Bestiary.
  • Fortune-Teller - upgrades the player's cards, recharges them and fuses Rune cards used for upgrades.
  • Barmaid - brews a stew from ingredients found in the dungeons and exchanges it for various prizes.
  • Healer - heals the player, brings him back to Town after death and charges the Death Rage skill.


In Book of Demons players can choose from three classes, each characterized by a different playstyle and set of class cards.[11][3]

  • Warrior - character specialized in melee combat and defensive skills, relies heavily on Artifact cards.
  • Mage - character specialized in ranged attacks and offensive Spell cards, which utilize a mana resource.
  • Rogue - character that mixes melee and ranged combat, focused on using Item cards.

Card system[edit]

The card system is a uniquely implemented mechanic in the hack and slash genre. It replaces skills, statistics and equipment. In Book of Demons the player can choose from three types of cards and then build their own hand:[3]

  • Items - cards that can be used a limited number of times and which have to be charged by the Fortune-Teller in exchange for gold.
  • Spells - skills and spells which require mana to be used.
  • Artifacts - cards with passive effects that reduce the amount of mana.

Every card has three variants (common, magic offering one additional effect, and legendary with two additional effects with one unique to that card) and can be upgraded up to two times.[12]


The development of the game started with the establishment of the Thing Trunk studio and initially only the founders of the company (earlier co-funders of Codeminion and Twin Bottles) participated in the project. Book of Demons was meant to be a light and humoristic tribute to classic games from the hack and slash genre made in the '90s.[13] The game is created in CUG - an in-house engine of Thing Trunk's focused mainly on 2D graphics.[14] In the second half of 2016, the project entered Early Access stage and at the end of this year, the developers released a free demo of the game.[15][16] At the beginning of 2018, the team of developers consisted of 7 employees.[17] The game was officially released on Steam[2] on 13 December 2018.[3][4] The game was released on Nintendo Switch on 30 April 2020.[18] and on May 21, 2020 in Japan.[19]


Critics refer to the game cautiously, refraining from reviews until the release date, however there are some opinions already - Khee Hoon Chan (Unwinnable) commend the game for flexibility in terms of progression and possible play styles, mentioning also that removing the statistics mechanics denies players the opportunity to immerse with their heroes more deeply.[22] GameSpot reviewer, Rafał Kurpiewski ( and Szymon Liebert (TVGry) admit that even though the game is heavily inspired on old hack and slash games there is still a lot of originality in it to refresh the genre (citing cards system, restriction of movement and boss mechanics), while noting similarities in stories told in Book of Demons and Diablo games.[23][7][10]

Event Awards and nominations
Digital Dragons 2018 Best Polish Game Art award, Kraków Technology Park [24]
Indie of the Year 2018 - Editors' choice" Best Singleplayer game, IndieDB [25]
Indie of the Year Awards 2017 10th place, IndieDB[26]
Momocon 2017 "Indie Award Finalist", Atlanta[27]
Casual Connect 2016 1st place in Best Game Art, Tel Aviv[28]
Digital Dragons 2016 3rd place in Indie Showcase,
Best Indie Game, Cracow[29]
Freegalaktus 2016 "Best Game" in Jury's Choice category[30]
Pixel Heaven 2016 "Pixel.Award Finalist", Warsaw[31]


  1. ^ "Demons are out of Early Access! Woohoo!". Steam. 13 December 2018. Retrieved 2018-12-13.
  2. ^ a b "Book of Demons page on Steam platform". Steam. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  3. ^ a b c d "Book Of Demons Pops Up On Early Access". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. 2016-07-28. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  4. ^ a b F. Starzyński (15 June 2016). "Book of Demons will launch on Steam Early Access on the 28th of July!" (in Polish). Thing Trunk. Archived from the original on 2022-03-12. Retrieved 2018-01-29.
  5. ^ "'Book of Demons' hack 'n' slash revealed, heading to Xbox One and PC exclusively". Windows Central. 20 April 2016. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  6. ^ "Making of the Paperverse, the art-style of Book of Demons". 27 April 2016. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  7. ^ a b GameSpot (2016-07-24), Exclusive Preview: Book of Demons, retrieved 2018-02-06
  8. ^ "Gra Book of Demons - Encyklopedia Gier". (in Polish). Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  9. ^ "Book of Demons – Action-RPG from Thing Trunk Studio". 13 April 2016. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  10. ^ a b TVGRYpl (2016-08-12), Diablo parodia... na szynach?! Gramy w Book of Demons [], retrieved 2018-02-06
  11. ^ "Book of Demons - Description of heroes". Return2Games. Return 2 Games. Archived from the original on 2022-03-20. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  12. ^ "Book of Demons (Game)". Giant Bomb. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  13. ^ "Hack & Paper Cut: Book Of Demons Is A Diablo Tribute". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. 2016-03-15. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  14. ^ "Book of Demons: The Search of the Art Style". 10 November 2016. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  15. ^ "Book of Demons Now Has a Demo". Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  16. ^ "Polska gra RPG Book of Demons otrzymała demo na PC". (in Polish). 28 October 2016. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  17. ^ "Book of Demons - Presskit". 24 January 2018. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  18. ^ "Book of Demons coming to PS4, Xbox One, and Switch on April 30". Gematsu. 23 April 2020. Retrieved May 21, 2020.
  19. ^ "ブック・オブ・デーモンズ". Nintendo Japan. Retrieved May 21, 2020.
  20. ^ "Book of Demons for PC Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 2020-02-16.
  21. ^ Wyndcliffe, James (2020-02-17). "'Book of Demons: Tablet Edition' Review – Demons, Comedy, and Adventure in a Pop-Up Book". TouchArcade. Retrieved 2020-02-18.
  22. ^ "Book of Demons is a Delightful Jaunt Across Hell | Unwinnable". 31 October 2017. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  23. ^ R. Kurpiewski (28 July 2016). "Robimy porządek z demonami przeszłości – godzina zabawy z Book of Demons". Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  24. ^ ""Best Game Art Winner 2018: Book of Demons"". (in Polish). Archived from the original on 2019-09-02. Retrieved 2019-09-02.
  25. ^ ""Editors' Choice - Indie of the Year 2018"". IndieDB. 23 December 2018. Retrieved 2019-09-02.
  26. ^ ""Players Choice Indie of the Year 2017 feature"". IndieDB. 24 January 2018. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  27. ^ ""Judging MomoCon's Indie Games Competition"". Kotaku. 30 May 2017. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  28. ^ ""Best Indie Games Announced at the 16th Indie Prize Awards During Casual Connect in Tel Aviv - Gamesauce: Global Inspiration for Game Developers"". 3 November 2016. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  29. ^ ""Digital Dragons 2016 - podsumowanie"". (in Polish). Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  30. ^ ""Znamy najlepszą grę indie w Europie! Poznaj wyniki konkursu FreeGalaktus 2016"". (in Polish). Archived from the original on 2018-02-01. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  31. ^ ""Znamy finalistów Pixel.Awards 2016"". (in Polish). 24 May 2016. Retrieved 2018-01-30.

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