By Vincent Haoson (Ojogo)
The MOBA genre has dominated the PC e-Sports scene for a considerable amount of time. From its humble beginnings as a custom game of Warcraft III, it has spawned numerous versions of what we now accept as one of the most competitive e-Sports genre to date. Now think of that and mobile gaming. It seems highly unlikely that the two shall meet, right? However, it seems that Sega didn’t see that line drawn in the sand and practically messed the status quo the MOBA genre has set up with the release of its latest title, Demon Tribe.
The currently iOS-exclusive mobile free-to-play game mixes the gameplay elements from eCCGs, RPGs and (of course) MOBAs, creating a weird but extremely interesting lore-rich world.
Demons, you say?
The game universe revolves around the concept that the world we “live” in consists of the Waking world and the Dream world. We, the humans, are those who live in the “Waking” world, while the “Dream” world is inhabited by creatures that we call “demons”. Since these two worlds are closely connected, there are times when some creatures from the dream world cross over to ours; since they are demons, normal humans can’t do squat about it, and that’s where you come in.
Your part in this whole story is that you wake up one day and you suddenly find out that you’re the current director of this super-secret organization named Omega Surveillance, which handles cases where demons would cross over between worlds and cause mayhem. As the director of this team, you are tasked to assign “agents” to vanquish these demons. These agents have the ability to fuse with different demons and bring them out to this world but at their control.
Crossing Over Not Just Worlds, But Gameplay
Being the new director of this group, it is your responsibility to task your agents with weapons, equipment, demon chips of varying rarity, and even enhancing all of the above mentioned items. You can in fact assign “decks” or a group of certain number of demon chips per agent that will serve as their options in-battle.
Battles on the other hand take the shape of MOBA-style system, where you are given a fixed camera angle with touch-based agent controls. Depending on the battle you jump into (more details later), the game lets you face a variety of monsters and demons. During these battles, your agent’s overall stats are based on the weapons equipped and the level he/she is at. Another battle option, however, is that your agent turns into a demon him/herself for a certain duration, thus increasing their mobility, attack strength, or even range.
The game’s inclusion of the Demon changing system ties itself nicely to the game’s CCG aspect in the sense that aside from battling the demons crossing over, you are also out there collecting demon chips (i.e. demons) yourself. Demon chips are Demon Tribe’s version of “virtual cards”. Aside from cards having different rarities, Demon Chips are comes in a lot of shapes and sizes of monsters from various mythologies.
More about Demon Chips
Each demon chip you acquire has its own set of stats that is ranked alphabetically, with S being the highest and E being the lowest. Aside from its stats, each demon chip has its own inherent ability that you can access in demon form.
Demon chips basically have all the features you’ll see in eCCGs. You can mix and match them, level them up, combine them and whatnot. However, there’s an added feature in Demon Tribes that sets it apart from other released eCCGs and that would be the inheritance system.
The inheritance system allows you to get ability from one of the demon chips you have and add it to your demon chip of choice. This of course uses the selected chip but in exchange you’d get a stronger demon chip to use.
Setting aside the gameplay features the Demon Chip system employs, Sega went to great lengths in establishing a game “bestiary” since every demon chip you acquire, you also get a moving figure of the said demon chip coupled with its lore.
Let’s move on to a more in-depth look into the game’s battle system. As I mentioned earlier, the game pretty much takes on the MOBA genre and puts its own spin into the mix. Single player stages follow the typical quest-system mechanic, where story progression happens after every mission and you are put into instanced dungeons with a predetermined route/mission.
Multiplayer battles, on the other hand, take the form of 3v3 base destruction, where both sides have a designated amount of turrets and a base to defend. Everything is similar to MOBA style gameplay that your base spawns minions that you can accompany and escort to help you destroy the opponent’s turrets. The match would end if the enemy base is destroyed, or if the time ends wherein the team with the most points wins.
I’d also like to add that Multiplayer battles in Demon Tribe require players to play the game in real time and not asynchronously like other mobile games. In the off chance that you don’t have friends that are online (or everyone in your clan is offline) you have the option to use dumbed down AI to help you with MP battles.
Demon Tribe is a game that tries to shake up the status quo within the mobile game industry, and in its own right, it has. The game feels that it had a specific goal in mind with every system/feature working hand in hand to make the experience highly cohesive and complete. What I didn’t really like was the constant downloads that you’d have to do before playing the game because of a constant chain of necessary game updates. It is a minor inconvenience, though, since it shows that Sega is not dropping the game upon release and let everything hang.
I liked how Sega was able to create a game by mixing the different genres, proving that it takes someone to think outside the box to make something different (well in this case, making things work within the box). I see the game having a more prolonged lifespan because of the MOBA-esque game system in place, since it would make playing Demon Tribe to be more competitive than most mobile games out there.
However, its strength is also its weakness since the game relies heavily on having players being online at the same time. It means that players are at the mercy of time zones, especially if he/she is playing solo.
All in all however, Demon Tribes is a pretty interesting game to play. If you’re looking for a mobile game that has taken a tried, tested and now overplayed genres and delivered something new. Demon Tribe is a really must play for anyone looking for something new to the mobile genre.