Demon’s Mirror is like two games for the price of one, and it actually works

Demon's Mirror header artwork

There are a lot of deckbuilding roguelikes out there, and there are also a fair few match-3 games out there, but to my knowledge, Demon’s Mirror is the only game that combines all of these ideas into one. It’s a fairly strange genre mashup, and one that I initially struggled to wrap my head around, but once it clicked, it all made sense.

Basically, you’ve got a character who has various cards they can use. Some of these will impact the enemies, some will impact you, and some will impact the board. You have to balance spending your available energy on cards and on matching things on the board. Every chain you create on the board costs one mana more than the one before, and then resets on the next turn. So, if you want to destroy an attach an enemy has placed on the board, you’ll need to keep that in mind.

As you chain things together on theboard, you can also reduce the cost of cards in your hands with the right passives, which will allow you to essentially cheat cards out for free if you play your, well, cards right. It’s a good mix of the two systems, and it does work pretty well for the most part. It’s hard to escape that feeling of “these two things shouldn’t be together,” but ultimately, Demon’s Mirror is a fair amount of fun to play.

Demon's Mirror gameplay deckbuilder

Previewing the Steam Next Fest demo ahead of time, I could only access a small portion of what the game will offer, so I can’t speak for how powerful your builds can feel as you progress through different levels, but there are plenty of hints for how strong you can make yourself if you’re a good mix of lucky and smart. Even with only the first level to experiment with, I still found a few different playstyles to try out. There are also meant to be other characters as well, so that’s something to look forward to if this concept sinks its claws in.

Movement is your standard Slay the Spire affair, so you finish a battle, choose the next room, and so on. It’s a tried and tested method, and the only issue with it is that it feels so familiar when you’ve got a battle system that’s so unique. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, I just feel like we could have had something else in its stead, and Demon’s Mirror would stand out even more from the crowd.

Demon's Mirror gameplay chain-3

Actually, I did have one other issue with it, and that’s that I wanted to keep playing! I don’t like repeating the same first level again and again, even though it changes between runs. I want to see how far a build can take me and explore the meta progression a bit more. That being said, when the biggest issue with a game preview is that you want to play more of it, it’s pretty clear that something special is going on. I’m very keen to see how Demon’s Mirror progresses, and you can try it out yourself now thanks to Steam Next Fest.

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Jason can often be found writing guides or reviewing games that are meant to be hard. Other than that he occasionally roams around a gym and also spends a lot of time squidging his daughter's face.