DEVOUR - Fight Together Or Die!
A Co-op Horror Game with Bite
Creating a Future Cult Classic
It feels like co-op horror games are making a comeback. With years of languishing in obscurity after the last Left 4 Dead release, games like Phasmophobia have made the kind of four-player co-op that made several legendary horror games cool again. Like its fellow horror hit, DEVOUR has brought in many familiar mechanics, yet it goes far heavier on horror than one might expect. DEVOUR's success with any player relies on how well they think the gameplay and horror elements are balanced.
A House in the Woods
DEVOUR certainly feels like a unique take on the co-op horror genre. The genre stems from games in which you have an active mission - you killed zombies, for example, or fought against monsters. DEVOUR isn't about that, though; DEVOUR is simply about survival. Sharing a fair bit of DNA with games like Phasmophobia or even Five Nights at Freddy's, the game is more about trying to endure horrors than actively fighting back against them.
DEVOUR revolves around a demonic cult known as The Watchers of Azazel. While performing a summoning spell, your cult leader becomes possessed by the demon goat god, Azazel. As an ex-cult member, either solo or in a co-op team of 4, exorcise the demon from Anna before "she" kills you.
While DEVOUR is a small game, it's at least one that stands out as unique. The idea of playing as former cultists trying to undo a mistake is novel, as is the constant rush to complete a few simple goals while being relentlessly hunted. It's evident the developers at Straight Back Games took notes from games like Hello Neighbor but added some horrifying twists.
See No Evil. Hear No Evil.
DEVOUR is a budget game from a small team. That alone should tell you almost everything you need to know about the aesthetics, but it's worth stating there was effort put into making this game look scary. While you aren't going to find anything in the environment that stands out, nothing is terrible enough that it's going to ruin your experience.
However, the in-game audio is a little better. The environmental noises feel like an essential part of the game. While there may not be any complex dialogue, all the simple and subtle sounds in the game go a long way to creating an immersive player experience. You won't find the quality sound design like in many other horror games, but you won't walk away from the DEVOUR wishing you could turn off the sound.
Graphics & Audio: 3/5
In DEVOUR, the players on your co-op team make or break the game's experience. The gameplay loop is the same every time you play - light the fire, find the goats and try not to die before you complete your sacrifices. If you have a good team, that process will be a lot of fun. However, if you don't have a good team, though, the game can feel incredibly frustrating.
Part of this comes down to the basic design of the game. You're trying to survive here, not win. You don't get a chance to fight back against Anna. The best you can hope to do is to slow her down for a moment, but even that is hit or miss. If you can't coordinate well enough with your team, you will be a victim more often than not.
A Bite-Size Horror
DEVOUR is an excellent budget game and a unique proof of concept, though it doesn't feel as fully featured as you might like. Beating the game takes about an hour, and even the randomized item locations can't hide the fact that there is only one map. You will get your money's worth if you have a good team, but that will only take you so far. As it currently stands, DEVOUR is a good investment at its current price point but needs more to break out of that budget gaming category.
DEVOUR is a co-op horror game with a significant focus on survival.