Demimonde, developed by Everdead Studios, is a game played on a smart phone or tablet device and is available on Android or iTunes for Apple free of charge. In-app purchases are possible and range from 78p to £78.38 per item. In this full review, I’ll take a look at the game, it’s workings and usability as well as how close to the show it gets to.
This review was conducted using an Android Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. Some areas or sequences may differ between devices or if you’re using iPhone.
The history of the term “Demimonde” is an interesting one. It was first used in 1855 in a comedy by Alexandre Dumas, fils called Le Demi-Monde. It’s French translation is Half-World and this turned into meaning a group of people who led lives of drinking, gambling, drug use and sexual promiscuity by night while living a life of refinement and etiquette by day. As time went on, this became a euphemism for prostitutes until the term died off in the 20th century.
Since it’s release towards the end of series one, Demimonde has had one or two upgrades added to it including being able to converse with online gamers, increased rewards, improved loading times, Facebook invites, Energy recharge on level up and the option to turn off notifications.
The game starts with signing in using an email address that is linked to your Google+ account (Android). You can claim additional rewards for linking to Facebook. You can then choose a character avatar and each one comes with a description of their personality. The game will then load to the card area (at this point the game crashed and I had to restart) where you’re given a pack of cards to start you off. You can examine the qualities of each card by tapping on them and go back by pressing the back key.
Pressing Next takes you to the gameplay area. There are five buttons down the left side that allow you to perform various tasks. They’re titled Battle, Quest, Tournament, My Deck and Collect.
- Battle: Lets you attack friends or enemies. This is where other online players will fight each other using the card packs. It will say if you’ve won or lost and is simply about being nasty by attacking or seeking revenge. In order to win a Battle you must defeat the opponent’s avatar card. You do this by pitching your cards against the other fighter.
- Quest: Allows you to explore various elements of Victorian London associated with the Penny Dreadful show. It shows a map with a selection of buildings and each one represents a mini game.
- Tournament: The Tournament allows you to win Elegant cards but costs 20 gold bars to register.
- My Deck: Shows the current deck of cards that you hold and allows you to swap them around to strengthen your attack.
- Collect: Here you can collect various cards by gambling your gold on a wheel spin game or by battling other players.
Each battle that you play outside of the Battle area will cost you a Blood Point which are replenished over time. This prevents you from playing too much and going back to the game over a longer period. It’s similar to the Angry Birds or Candy Crush method of allowing five lives then having to wait for them to fill back up.
The Home page also features a scrolling display of Featured Cards and a news bulletin section on the main display area. Along to top of the page is information regarding you and your games. It shows which level you’re on, the amount of gold, silver and blood points you have as well as a link to the store. Down in the bottom left of the screen is a settings button, daily rewards, achievements, leaderboard links and messaging area where you can chat to people playing the game.
With many games that are based on films or television shows, they either follow the plot completely or they branch off at an acute angle so that the only thing that’s similar is the name and the characters. Demimonde seems to manage to get right in the middle of those extreme opposites; like a father sitting between his daughter and her new boyfriend. They have a splendid blend of imagery from the show and links to areas that each episode visits without actually using the plot of the episodes to directly drive the game.
As well as pictures of the characters, the theme music is used throughout the game. It’s a gorgeous piece of music, but can be turned off should you tire of it. This is done in the Settings area where you can also turn off notifications should you desire it. The background of the play area is nicely done using a dark grey to add to the bleak outlook of the television show while including the faintest hint of Victoriana by the presence of a Victorian street light in the top left corner.
Some people on the Android reviews page have complained about the UI but I don’t have any complaints about its usability. It did crash once whereby I had to close it and reload. My only gripe about the game, though, is the voice over that proclaims you’ve won or lost. It booms “You Lose” or “You Win” – dependent of the outcome, obviously – and I don’t feel it fits well with the game or the television show. Having Ferdinand Lyle excitedly saying you’ve won or Vanessa Ives congratulating you in her ever formal, yet shatteringly sexy voice while having Sir Malcolm Murray in his low undertones or Lily Frankenstein looking upon you with pity and amusement telling you you’ve lost would be so much better. Still, I suppose the licence only went so far. Maybe just a statement in an upperclass voice with Victorian themes would work though?
I’ve really enjoyed playing Demimonde and I’m sure that I’ll continue to do so. I like that the game is free and that you can buy add ons if you choose to. It comes with a Pegi 12 rating, so out of control in-app purchases shouldn’t be a problem with older children who are allowed to play it. The thriving community in the chat area suggests that it’s a popular game the world over. If you like strategy based games and you’re a fan of Penny Dreadful then this is a game to look for.