DEVOUR - Fight Together Or Die!
A co-op horror with bite.
Creating a Future Cult Classic
Co-op horror games feel like they're 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 defined several legendary horror shooters cool again. Like its fellow horror hit, DEVOUR has brought in many mechanics with which players are familiar, yet it goes far heavier on horror than one might expect. As such, DEVOUR's success with any given player really relies on how well he or she thinks 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 was really built on games in which you actively did something - 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 ends up becoming 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 who are trying to undo a mistake is novel, as is the constant rush to complete a few basic goals while being relentlessly hunted. The developers clearly took notes from games like Hello Neighbor here, but put some horrifying twists on what they learned.
What You Don't See Is Scarier
DEVOUR is a budget game from a small team. That alone should tell you almost everything that you need to know about how this game looks, but it's worth stating that there was clearly some effort put into making this game look scary. While you aren't going to find anything in the environment that really stands out, nothing is exactly bad enough that it's going to ruin your experience.
The sound is a little better, in that the environmental noises feel like a key part of the game. You're not going to get any amazing dialog or anything like that out of the game, but all of the little noises in the game do go a long way towards making everything feel immersive. You won't find the amazing types of sound design that are present in so many other horror games, but you won't walk away from the game wishing that you could turn off the audio.
Graphics & Audio: 3/5
DEVOUR is another one of those games where the people on your co-op team make or break the game. The gameplay loop is always going to be the same every time you play the game - light the fire, find the goats and try not to die before you complete your sacrifices. If you have a good team, that process is going to be a lot of fun. 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. As such, you don't really 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're going to end up a victim more often than not.
A Bite-Size Horror
DEVOUR is a great budget game and an interesting 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're going to get your money's worth here if you have a good team, but that's only going to take you so far. As it stands, the game is a good investment at its current price point but needs more to really break out of that budget gaming category.