Serment – Contract with a Devil
Gameplay 8
Graphics 9
Sound 7

Serment is an interesting hybrid of visual novel, dungeon crawling and dating sim style management elements. It actually ties all of these genres together nicely, but the dungeon crawling definitely takes center stage. You do get to choose between four different heroines and all of the dungeons are hand crafted instead of procedurally generated. The fact that you are on a strict time limit to earn enough cash to pay back the devil who resurrected you can make it feel like you are forced to fight in the dungeons most of the time. However, the game does give you the freedom to continue playing after completing the main story.

Gameplay: Plenty of dungeon crawling along with some visual novel segments and even a bit of dating sim style time management.

Graphics: Beautiful character designs and backgrounds, but the dungeons look a bit bland in comparison.

Sound: The game features no voice acting and the music is decent, but unmemorable

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Serment – Contract with a Devil

Developer: Nkt Studio | Publisher: Sekai Project | Release Date: 2019 | Genre: RPG / Visual Novel | Website: N/A | Purchase: Steam

Some adventurers brave the depths of dungeons for fame, others do it for fortune and there are even those who do it selflessly to save the world. However, your heroine in Serment – Contract with a Devil do not fall into any of these categories. Instead, her primary motivation for going dungeon crawling is to pay back the money that she owes a demon named Lucifer, or Lucy for short. In case anyone is wondering how you end up owing quite a substantial amount of cash to a devil, the answer is quite simple; your character died and Lucy was the one who brought her back to life. Unfortunately, instead of claiming your soul like most other devils seem to do, Lucy instead insists on cold hard cash. This money has to be paid back in ever increasing weekly installments, so your character has no choice, but to make the demon world her temporary home and go clean out the local dungeon in search of coin. Missing even a single payment means it’s back to the afterlife for you, so the stakes are pretty high.

Don’t let the rather grim sounding plot fool you, Serment is actually a very lighthearted title with plenty of humor. Lucy is pretty much the most adorable devil you’ll ever find in a game and the rest of the inhabitants of the demon world are all cute girls. They all go out of their way to make your character feel welcome while paying off her debt and you can even recruit most of them to assist you with the dungeon crawling. Speaking of the player character, Serment lets you pick from four of them, and your choice also influences the difficulty of the game. Playing as the warrior is the easiest, while the ninja and mage offers a more standard difficulty. Then, there is the freelancer if you feel like a real challenge. Having four different player characters to choose from gives the game plenty of replay value and, as an added bonus, any of the dungeon floors that are mapped during one playthrough will remain so if you start a new game with another.

Although dungeon crawling is the heart of Serment, there is also plenty of other things to do in the game. Your character wakes up every morning at 7 am and you have until 7 pm that evening to find activities with which to fill up your day. Your primary concern should be to make money, which means battling enemies in the dungeon, but you can also take the occasional break to go fishing or try your hand at cooking. There are a number of different locations in the game, but choose where you want to go carefully as traveling to them advances the time on your clock. You can pick to go to Lucy’s mansion to upgrade your stats, go to the shop for buying, selling and crafting, travel to the pub for food items, visit the library to learn some new recipes or hang out at the river to catch fish or just clean the place up. As you visit these places there is also a chance that you’ll fun into other characters and interacting with them makes for a nice break from all the dungeon crawling.

Obviously, sooner rather than later you will have to take on the dungeons, but we recommend always first making a trip to the summon site to call upon other characters to assist you. Having more characters in your party can dramatically increase the odds of you surviving, but bear in mind that each one you add will also take their share of the spoils after defeating enemies. There are thirty dungeon floors in Serment, which is quite a few, especially considering the fact that none of them are procedurally generated. This means that you’ll be making your way through manually designed dungeon floors that are filled with treasures, enemies and even a couple of puzzles. The puzzles mostly revolve around doors and keys as well as orbs with different colors that allow access to different parts of the dungeons. You’ll also find plenty of teleporters scattered about and even the occasional boss fight or side quest. Although we managed to complete the game and pay off the revival debt, it took us more than ten hours to do so and there were still plenty of dungeon floors left to explore. Fortunately, the game does allow you to continue playing afterwards, so if you are a completionist you can continue exploring.

When it comes to visuals we absolutely loved the character designs of this game as well as the background art. The color and detail that have been poured into these are great and really give the game a unique look. In comparison, the dungeons themselves look a little bland as it is just endless corridors with the exact same looking walls. Considering the amount of time that you spend in these dungeons, it is a pity that there’s not more variety to them. Your enemies are a really interesting bunch consisting of relatively harmless critters like sheep, bats, slimes and tigers at first before becoming more menacing the deeper you go. The enemy designs defintely veers towards the cute side of the spectrum, but some of them can look a little simple compared to the detailed character designs. None of your enemies have any type of animations either, so battles are pretty static, turn-based affairs. Serment also doesn’t feature much in the way of visual options, apart from selecting whether you want to play in window or full screen mode.

Considering the large cast of cute characters in Serment, it is really a pity that it doesn’t feature any type of voice acting to bring them to life. The music is mostly of the upbeat variety, although none of the tunes are particularly memorable. The same could be said about the sound effects as they are decent, but don’t really stand out in any way. You are given the option to adjust the volume levels of the background music and sound effects independently, though. For the visual novel sections of the game you mostly use your mouse while the first person dungeons are controlled via your keyboard. The default controls work fine, but it is nice that the game allows you to remap the controls if you want.

Serment might not be a game that takes itself too seriously, but the dungeon crawling parts are actually really good. After you get through the early dungeons the layouts become a lot more complicated and we were left scratching our heads while staring at the map a few times trying to figure out how to get where we wanted. You cannot see your enemies while moving around the dungeon, so the battles are random and can occur at any time. You can escape from these battles, but doing so will cost you money, which is something you really can’t afford to lose. Don’t worry as characters who die during a battle will be fine again if you win and everyone slowly recovers health while navigating the dungeon. Characters can run out of stamina, though, which will cause them to leave your party until the next day. It also doesn’t matter where you are in a dungeon, even if it is in front of the stairs leading down to the next floor, if it becomes too late your character will pack everything up and return home immediately. This means that you will have to keep an eye on the clock, which advances with every step you take, to make sure you don’t waste any time.

You can leave the dungeon at any time you want and when you return, you can enter any floor that you have previously reached. Although the game looks relatively simple, it actually features quite a number of stats for each character. Your health and magic points are obviously the most important, but you also need to focus on improving your strength, defense, intelligence, agility and so on. This can be done by paying for it at the mansion or for free with certain rare objects found in the dungeons. In addition to a weapon and piece of armor, each character can also wear one accessory that influences their stats. You can even get your hands on some extra special items that bestow bonuses such as reducing your travel time or lowering the amount of stamina drained after battles. Some players may find the grind of the dungeons a bit repetitive, but we enjoyed this aspect of the game. Completing side quests like defeating a malfunctioning golem to retrieve his core for repairs or helping to resolve the conflict between the children of the fox and tiger clans is also a blast.

Overall, Serment is a fun game that combines a lot of different genres into one unique package. If you enjoy visual novels, but don’t like dungeon crawlers, then you probably won’t enjoy it too much as the dungeons are such a big part of the game. The visual novel sections and light yuri romance elements are also not as in-depth as what you might find in a pure visual novel. However, if you enjoy dungeon crawlers and don’t mind the dating sim style time management system, then you’ll have a blast. Having to return home to go to bed in the middle of exploring a dungeon is a bit annoying, but makes sense within the context of the story. Serment is by no means perfect, but despite some minor annoyances, it is a great game with plenty of replay value. Because a lot of the things in the game stays the same no matter which character you choose, we were not in a rush to start over after completing the story, but the urge is definitely strong to continue exploring the dungeons. Considering the length of the game, it definitely offers plenty of value for money and we think that fans of the genre should definitely add it to their libraries. Of course, tastes differ, so do yourself a favor and go download the demo of the game first to get a taste of what to expect.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP+
  • Processor: 2.0 GHz
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: DirectX® 9 Compatible Graphics Card, at least 1280 x 720 screen resolution
  • DirectX: Version 9.0
  • Storage: 1 GB available space
  • OS: Any
  • Processor: 2.0 GHz
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: At least 1280 x 720 screen resolution
  • Storage: 1 GB available space
  • OS: x86/x86_64
  • Processor: 2.0 GHz
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: At least 1280 x 720 screen resolution
  • Storage: 1 GB available space

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