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Demeter: The Asklepios Chronicles Review: Goodbye, 4th Wall

Platform Reviewed: Meta Quest 3

Also on: Quest 2, Quest Pro

Price: $19.99

Does anyone remember the old arcade game Time Traveler? Well, when you get a chance, check out some videos on YouTube. It was published by Sega, and used a projector and mirror to create a hologram effect as you played. It wasn't seen in many arcades, but it was quite the marvel when you first saw it. I had flashbacks to that game when I first started up Demeter: The Asklepios Chronicles. And while it did have a couple wrinkles to iron out, I still found the game to be an enjoyable experience.

Demeter tells the story of Atalanta, a traveler who crash-lands her ship into, well, your living room. You will guide Atalanta throughout her journey to repair her ship, escape the hostile environment, and learn more about the history of the islands surrounding her. To accomplish this, you control Atalanta as she fights enemies, warps from island to island, and locates the shards needed to complete those repairs.

Demeter is a 3D puzzle-platformer. Each island has climbable cliffs, environmental hazards to avoid, and secrets to find. You'll have to physically get up and walk around the island to get a view of every nook and cranny. Once you've found the hidden shards or unlocked the exit, Atalanta turns into an orb and warps to the next island. It's actually pretty cool seeing this orb fly around your living room and settle over by your desk or couch, only to have a whole new island open up.

As you play through the game, you'll unlock new abilities for your controllers. For example, there's an ability where you can cause hidden platforms to appear for Atalanta to jump on – but only while your controller is focused on it. Another will have you manipulate and move platforms to make new areas accessible.

Demeter really works best when you have a big, open space – about 3x3 meters. You'll be doing a lot of walking around, and sometimes I couldn't see much because an island was up against a wall. Luckily, the developers included an Accessibility Mode and you can grab islands, rotate them, and bring them closer to you. So for you lazy players who want to just chill on your couch and play (like me), you have that option.

The game really draws you in by having Atalanta speak to you directly. Her dialogue helps further the story, provide tips on how to control the game, and even yell at you when you've been idle too long. The voice acting in the game is top-notch. Atalanta has a spunky, free-spirited voice that really adds charisma to her character. In addition to this, hidden pilot logs and ancient runes are narrated and breathes life into the environment. Same goes for the music, which is provides relaxing and whimsical tunes as you work through your missions.

As a mixed-reality game, Demeter succeeds. It controls well, has a fun and engaging story, and offers a style of gameplay I've never experienced before. There are a few downsides, though. First, the game does play pretty slow. Atalanta doesn't seem to be in much of a hurry, as her two speeds are walk, and walk slightly faster. Also, using the analog stick to move while climbing can be a little cumbersome. I've seen a few times where I've just had to randomly move in a direction to see if it moves Atalanta the same way. However, I understand that this can be a challenge due to the mixed-reality perspective. The game is a little clunky as well. Moves are basic – you have your basic jumps, dashes, and two attacks. It still works, but I've misplaced more than my fair share of jumps.

Final Grade: B

Demeter: The Asklepios Chronicles really showcases the mixed-reality feature of the Meta Quest. If you're playing on the Quest 3, you also get the added benefit of seeing your living room in full color, as opposed to the Quest 2's black-and-white view. It has that “wow” factor when you first start playing, and the characters and story keep you going well into its campaign. More hardcore gamers may be turned off at first at Demeter's slower pace, but stick with it – it's worth the journey. Just make sure that you have enough space to play. Demeter is a fun title and definitely worth the reasonable asking price.

Review code provided by Mighty PR.


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