Demonschool is a promising occult turn-based tactics take on Persona that's finally coming out this year, and I think we've got another Into the Breach on our hands

 A quartet of plucky high-school students stand before an ominous skeleton boss looming out of the shadows, with a bone to pick from them, in Demonschool.
A quartet of plucky high-school students stand before an ominous skeleton boss looming out of the shadows, with a bone to pick from them, in Demonschool.

Turn-based tactics game Demonschool has been in the cooker for a while—we actually featured it during the PC Gaming Show last year, and it was announced at the PCGS the year before that. Just about everyone who has played it in the past two years—myself included—has come away with plenty of kind words to heap upon developer Necrosoft.

Well hey, good news: we've got a release date. Demonschool should be ready to skip class and hang out in your parent's garage September 13, 2024.

PC Gamer contributor Sam Greer got a look at a demo back in 2022 and made a far more detailed write-up than I'll have room for here—though I got my hands on a more recent build and, dear reader, I'm pleased to report it's looking real good.

I was able to tinker with about 40 minutes of gameplay, and in that time Demonschool is immediately charming. Even divorced from most of the requisite context, the game's clever character writing pulled a couple chuckles out of me—and the sprite art and UI design is already gorgeous. What I'm really hyped for, however, is the combat.

If you've played Subset Game's triumphant strategy mecha title—which we gave a 93 in our 2018 Into the Breach review—you'll be pretty familiar with the general gist. Demonschool's combat is all turn-based tactics, giving you a party of superpowered students whose powers range from psychic stuns to just kicking stuff really good.

Your objectives vary, but generally your job is to slay demons and zombies at a school that turns into a nightmare when the sun sets. Enemies telegraph all of their attacks via a mouse-over description, and will take said attacks after you finish each of your turns.

An example of the top-down turn-based strategy tactics featured in Demonschool.
An example of the top-down turn-based strategy tactics featured in Demonschool.

What really stands out about Demonschool, however, is how elegant it is. The game's skill floor is relatively low, but the room for optimisation and strategy is astronomical. The demo I played didn't have a tutorial—I was simply provided with a six-minute explainer from the devs—but I got a grapple on it basically right away, and I'm not that strategy-brained.

Essentially, you have a shared pool of action points (AP). You move and attack at the same time, keeping things simple—however, you can sidestep one tile before doing anything without spending more points. Your characters can act in any order, any number of times (while your AP lasts) and in any configuration—so if you've got one character who can't do much, you can just keep 'em still.

What I really like about Demonschool, though, is how it's not really interested in punishing you for moment-to-moment misunderstandings. You have the equivalent of an undo/redo button that you can use as many times as you'd like before you commit to your turn—which proceeds to play out all of your choices in a flashing, satisfying action scene brawl. Sure, once your turn plays out you'll be locked in, but there's not really a way you can misclick here.

What'll really be the meat and bones of Demonschool, however, is getting the perfect turn. There are so many things to consider (like enemy attacks and movement), as well as combo moves you can execute by knocking enemies into your allies, that the room for expression is sky-high. All signs point to Demonschool rocking hard.