(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)
See that Demeo screenshot above? It's the first floor of the game's Roots of Evil campaign sitting right on my photo table in my office, and it feels more real than I could have ever imagined.
I captured this on a Meta Quest Pro (opens in new tab) while playing the game's new passthrough feature, which launched alongside the Quest Pro headset on October 25. It's available for both the Quest Pro and the Quest 2, so if you don't have $1,500 to blow on a new mixed-reality headset this year, never fear, the Quest 2 is here to save your bacon.
If you decide to try it out on the Quest 2, you'll just have to deal with the black white passthrough video versus the Quest Pro's full-color passthrough video. It breaks the immersion a bit but is still a cool way to play the game, nonetheless.
To activate the new AR mode, head to the game's settings (the little cog/gear wheel on the title screen), navigate to the Game section, then change Basement to AR. If you've got a table or desk mapped on the Quest — which is done in the Quest system settings under Guardian — Demeo will automatically move the game board to the table and resize it.
It's the latest free update in a long line of free updates for the successful Dungeons Dragons-like virtual board game, players can take the virtual table to any real surface in their homes (or elsewhere) and play tabletop like a proper board game. Demeo will automatically scale the board to fit the table and even remove those cute virtual table sides in favor of just the game world sitting right there on your very table top.
Demeo plays largely the same way in this mode as it does in other modes. At least, the basics do. Each round, you'll move your characters up to two times and attack using the deck of cards in your hand. Enemies will also take a turn, so make sure to strategize to avoid disaster.
The big difference between the new passthrough mode and Demeo's regular gameplay is all in the board itself. Unlike regular mode, where you can resize the board at will and either bring yourself in for a closeup with each character or get a birds-eye view of the tabletop, passthrough mode's board is a fixed size. That means you'll have to stick your actual head right in there to get a close-up on the action.
Check out this gameplay I recorded of it. Just be aware that there's some weird fisheye effect in the recording that's not present while actually playing the game. It's also cropped very closely and looks like I'm almost jamming my head into the table. Don't worry, that's just how recording passthrough looks right now. My head is fine.
Since this is the same virtual board that all players will see, you can enable passthrough on your end of the game and still play with your remote friends without them running into issues. They also won't see into your home since the passthrough footage from your Quest's cameras is private data.
The only reason you can see the room I'm playing in is because I hooked up a cable to my PC and ran the screen streaming functionality from within SideQuest (opens in new tab), a free popular third-party app store that's chock full of useful tools for Quest owners — like this one!
Demeo has been on our best Quest 2 games (opens in new tab) list since its debut and it just keeps getting better. The game already has four major campaigns and more are on the way, all of which have been free downloads for players. You can even play on a flat-screen if VR just isn't doing it for you via the Steam version, although you'll be missing out on a substantial part of what makes Demeo so darn fun: the feeling that you're actually sitting in a room with a bunch of friends playing an epic board game.
Nick started with DOS and NES and uses those fond memories of floppy disks and cartridges to fuel his opinions on modern tech. Whether it's VR, smart home gadgets, or something else that beeps and boops, he's been writing about it since 2011. Reach him on Twitter or Instagram @Gwanatu