Demon Gaze is one of many Dungeon crawler games released for Sony's PS Vita (in 2013/2014), and one of the few that is surprisingly still exclusive to it. If you had to describe it in a nutshell, it offers the character customization and classes of your standard Wizardry titles (barring the namesake class, "Demon Gazer"), a slightly deeper plot with supporting characters with some characterization and rewarding quests, and a few twists on the familiar formula, like finding hidden treasures through the use of different Demons, Demon Keys, avoiding Demon Rage, buffs through Demon Assistance, etc. As you can probably guess, demons play a big role in this game. As one of the first original RPGs released for the system outside Japan along with games like "Sorcery Saga: Curse of the Great Curry God", it helped pave the way for future titles. It is followed by a sequel, "Demon Gaze II" (which has preset characters along the lines of Dungeon Travelers 2, mild dating sim elements, improved character interactions and ending nuances) and future Experience Inc. titles pay tribute to it such as Ray Gigant (that features a few tunes from it). While not a sequel to it, it takes place in the same universe as the Japan-only "Entaku no Seito: Students of Round", with events thousands of years in the future.
The game's plot is relatively light and serves as a cool backdrop to get cool loot, with a bit of interesting lore here and there. The amnesiac player (Oz by default, who must always be a male human and gazer class) awakens in the cursed land, Misred, with no memories of his past. It is here that he makes a living exploring the surrounding labyrinths and quests of the Dragon Princess Inn, slowly unraveling the mysteries that surround him and his past. The ultimate goal is to stop the revival of Sol, a great evil deity, but there are few finer points to the plot that can be spoiled with very little exposition, so I'll leave it at that.
As stated, "Demons" are very important in this game and influence everything from sideline assistance to party composition. The purpose of the hero is to use his gaze to capture demons, who typically require you to occupy a number of "circles" before they show up, battle them, then capture the rest for them to appear and reveal their true power. Demon circles are what mainly generate the demons of the labyrinths and they must all be occupied to bring the enemy numbers down to manageable levels so weaker adventurers can explore without fear of dying (though the player won't benefit from this... there is no difference in the encounter rate or anything... it's plot armor). Defeating demons will seal their power into your "Demon Eye", which can then be taken to the Inn and converted into demon keys where they can manifest themselves into a less hostile version that serves as an ally, granting your team many benefits from negating traps, boosting item drops, offering battle skills, etc. In the beginning, you can only have one key out, but as you get stronger, you can have multiple, expanding the range of your abilities.
Demon Gaze also allows players to enchant gear and items within areas are often mysterious until identified, but it approaches the matter in a different way; players can buy or earn a variety of gems that can be used at Demon Circles, which summon enemies with varying strength depending on the gems used for items of different types, creating a risks vs. rewards approach... at least, ordinarily. Since players can also save at Demon Circles and the waves that spawn are random from enemies in the area, there's actually very little risk.
While Demon Gaze has occasional difficulty spikes, the game is actually easier than the average games of this genre. Occasional nuisances like party formation change, "Soul Gaze" (when the hero becomes enraged and attacks the party) and "Demon Rage" (Demons attack party) rear their ugly heads, but most battles are manageable with simple strategies once you build a full party. This is because the game has useable items like the healing staff that can be used outside battle and are infinite, the game's economy is rather generous due to the low cost of Nameless Gems (quite useful, you can sell the gear from them for profit) and early demons like Mars and Chronos are OP, not to mention the Assassin class with the right artifacts is a total murderer. While there are better games in the DRPG category, this game is a good starting point if you have a Vita to see if these games are your jam; the graphics and sound are nicely presented (and the English voice-overs are actually decent) and the gameplay isn't too complicated. If you like this, you can probably graduate to titles like Dungeon Travelers and Etrian Odyssey. This is a video showing some things in action. Enjoy.
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