Puzzle centric games are honestly some of my favorite types of video games. They require a bit of the brain that I rarely get to use when playing shooter-looters or other types of genres. So when Midnight Games EIRL announced Exorcise the Demons I was completely on board. They announced that you would need to work alongside a friend in order to beat the game, but only one of you would have access to each part of the game. I was instantly intrigued. How would this work? Spoiler alert…it is intense in a great way.
The game is fairly simple when it comes to the mechanics. Everything takes place on this mysterious island where the player will need to complete the rituals in order to defeat the demon at the end. The puzzles themselves are built beautifully and you can tell a lot of care has been into their visual designs. As you proceed through the levels, you unlock special collector items including concept art images and little models of the demons you exorcise. The only iffy thing with the visuals is that sometimes the colors are a bit hard to tell apart, like with the crystals yellow and green or the blue candles that I swore were purple. I will say that I feel like some UI elements need to be added, such as a replay level button or next level button on the win/lose screen so you don’t have to cycle all the way back to the beginning each time. This loading screen was the longest for me and was sometimes more frustrating than the rituals themselves.
As you start each level, the main character John is confused with why he is here and what is going on. He has the help of another voice in his head, L who is trying to help him through this time. He eventually goes off the deep end and forces her out of his head which leads to his own demise. The demons also have an effect on him in some levels, causing weird side effects to happen. Sometimes the screen goes from color to black and white, in one level your movement is backwards mean if you move the mouse up you look down and screen and vice versa. The only rough part about keeping up with the storyline is that the voice lines play in the beginning of the level where I am totally focused on getting the rituals started. I actually went back and replayed levels specifically to listen to how to story takes place.
This is where Exorcise the Demons really shines guys. The game is broken up into two roles that both need to be filled in order to work. One player is in the actual game, interacting with the puzzles while the other player is reading from the book of rituals in order to guide their counterpart. Communication is key to making sure everything is correct before moving on. Everything you do is set in stone, meaning that if you make an incorrect choice you need to start all over. There are seven different rituals that are randomly generated so even if you fail and go back, you will have the same rituals but they won’t have the same outcomes. Having to communicate back and forth between your partner is now one of my favorite game mechanics and I need more!
The first time my partner and I played, we tried doing everything from the book without some prep. However, during our second play through she went through and set up some notes so she had an easier time finding things. Without the notes of course, the game did give enough time in order to solve the rituals. Personally my favorite rituals were the Ouija board and the runes. They were fun to interact with and I always felt that we were on top of them. The others, well they added to our stress in a good way!
I love Exorcise the Demons and would 100% play it again with all of my friends. The player reading from the book of rituals doesn’t even need to own the game, as you can download the Book of Rituals from the game itself and send it over to them to use. You can play across states and countries using online chat or sit across from your friends and family and play. It was stressful in the best ways possible. The rituals were hard but never rough we couldn’t complete them and is was so rewarding when you got through everything and learned you did it right as that protection shield popped up before you were dust.