Demeter is one of the first fully-fledged mixed reality titles for Meta Quest 3, but is it fun?
Demeter: The Asklepios Chronicles was released exclusively on the Meta Quest Store on January 25, 2024. It supports Quest 2, Quest 3 and Quest Pro. I tested the Mixed Reality game on Quest 3, on which it looks best thanks to the improved color passthrough.
Demeter: Review in a nutshell
Demeter is the first attempt at a fully-fledged mixed reality adventure. It doesn’t reinvent the platformer genre, but it adds a new dimension thanks to its mixed reality component. The game only scratches the surface of the technology’s potential, but is still unique in this form and is recommended for anyone interested in mixed reality.
Tested on: Quest 3
Demeter is suitable for you if you …
- you like mixed reality,
- like to explore experimental new gaming experiences,
- and love platformers.
Demeter is less suitable for you if you …
- are a couch potato and don’t want to move while playing and
- have little space to play.
What is Demeter about?
Demeter is a platformer in which you control a character named Atalanta through a world full of dangers and obstacles – right in the middle of your living room.
Atalanta crash-landed in your home and brought splinters of the planet Demeter to our world. You move the protagonist from fragment to fragment, which appear in the form of floating islands and rocks. Atalanta is aware of you and speaks to you, while you must repeatedly intervene in the world to help her to overcome obstacles and solve the mystery of the planet Demeter. Similar to Moss, this creates an emotional bond with the game character.
What makes Demeter special?
There is no artificial movement in Demeter. You are the camera and everything you see is coming from your perspective. To keep track of what’s going on and to get Atalanta safely to her destination, you have to move around the living room and walk around the floating islands and rocks, sometimes even leaning down. This is fun – if you like to move around and have enough space.
Demeter stands or falls with the space available. It needs a lot of space and a free playing area of at least two by two meters. And in my experience, even that is not enough. In my relatively small living room, furniture or walls were always in the way, so I couldn’t move freely around the island, even when I scanned the room and outlined my furniture.
So I decided to play Demeter in a nearby forest and had an absolute blast doing that. The surrounding nature and the game world seemed to merge, and I was able to move around freely. You can find a short video of this experience below.
How well is mixed reality implemented?
The game uses passthrough and places the splinters of Demeter in your world, even on objects like tables if you outline them beforehand. Beyond that, I didn’t notice any meaningful interactions between the game world and the physical environment.
But as a gaming experience, it still offers something new and exciting: I had a lot of fun walking around the islands and the rocks that are anchored in space, and it actually creates a new relationship between your own body and the game world and the character that I haven’t experienced before. I don’t think this type of gameplay will become widespread because people tend to be lazy, but I hope it will be explored further.
By the way, there is an accessibility mode that allows you to pull the island towards you. However, this takes away from the main appeal of the game, and you might as well play a classic platformer sitting down.
Is Demeter fun?
One of the shortcomings of the game is the rather weak story, which is told in the form of audio logs and through encounters with a divine being, and comes across as rather confusing. In any case, I couldn’t make any sense out of it, playing through for the first time.
Demeter also takes a while to get going. In the beginning, you learn the basics of jumping and climbing, and get used to the new, kinetic style of play and the constant shift from world fragment to world fragment. Atalanta repeatedly enters portals and floats as a sphere from one splinter to the next. This is a bit disorienting at first.
Gradually, new challenges and ways to affect the world are introduced. For example, you must use a kind of magic torch to make bridge elements appear or move parts of the world to clear the way for Atalanta, which creates a sense of empowerment and impact.
As you progress through the game, Demeter becomes more challenging and compelling, and the ending is truly impressive. One of the best moments of the game for me was in the last third when I had to manually move Atalanta in spherical form through a room filled with moving lasers. It was a mixed reality experience like no other and one I won’t soon forget.
You can buy Demeter now for $20 in the Meta Quest Store.
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