Game: Contract Demon
Format: Windows (Reviewed), MacOS, Linux, Android
Release Date: March 31, 2019
First Contract – The Prologue Comic
Contract Demon, a kinetic novel, created by NomNomNami, serves as the direct sequel to First Contract. Created for The Monster Anthology Vol. 2 in 2014, First Contract depicts the original meeting between our two main characters.
Eleni, a demon obsessed and subsequently ostracized angel, summons the contract demon Kamilla as a means to satiate her curiosity and loneliness; however, instead of forming a stereotypical contract, the pair somehow manage to form a friendship contract.
First Contract concludes with the formation of their, albeit rather ambiguous, relationship. Unfortunately, ingrained in every devil’s deal is deception; however, the true nature of their newfound contract would not emerge from hell’s depths until the 2019 release of Contract Demon.
- Age: 24
- Race: Angel
- Pronouns: She/Her
Eleni, an exceptionally unusual angel, is inherently fascinated with all things associated with demonology and the occult. This obsession, however, has rather lamentably caused her to become ostracized from her peers. Undaunted, but lonely, Eleni successfully manages to utilize her knowledge to successfully summon, and even befriend, the contract demon Kamilla.
- Age: 2480
- Race: Demon
- Pronouns: She/Her
Kamilla, who in spite of her age, serves as a newly appointed contract demon in her brother Olog’s company. Obsessed with upholding the societal, along with her own self-imposed, image of a demon, Kamilla desperately tries to emulate said view in both her personal and professional lives. Unfortunately, her kindhearted nature, and lack of experience as a contract demon, drastically offsets her attempts at imposing her ideals.
Eleni’s summoning served as her first ever contract, but when pressured by the obsessive angel she, much like a frog, inflates her experiences and exaggerates her personality to a degree that would make Megumin blush. These setbacks, along with her sympathy for the angel, allow the pair the opportunity to form their friendship contract
The Devil is in the Details
I would be reticent to begin reviewing, let alone recommending, Contract Demon without first mentioning its evocative hand drawn artwork and character designs.
The game, as a kinetic novel, demonstrates a charming, hand drawn, Halloween themed ascetic which further accentuates the characters while simultaneously demonstrating its uniqueness and memorability.
Initially, I started reading NomNomNami’s works after viewing an image of Kamilla on Twitter, but the characters, especially Eleni and Kamilla, are so vividly striking that they have remained ingrained in my memory.
Contract Demon, due to its format, lacks the pure graphical pull of some “AAA” titles, however, the charming and memorable nature of its art direction more than aptly compensates for this.
I would, due to the oversaturation of reusable assets and homogenized designs with game’s industry, even struggle to equate a character from a recent “AAA” game with the same degree of remembrance and fondness that I have for these characters.
NomNomNami’s character designs have always been some of my favorites, but games Contract Demon aptly demonstrate the feelings of emotion which unique and hand drawn art work can evoke.
Games, such as this, which implement good, and unique, art direction will always be superior to those which are bland, homogenized, but altogether graphically superior.
I, as previously mentioned, was initially drawn to @NomNomNami’s works after viewing a drawing of Kamilla; therefore, I was overjoyed upon learning of Contract Demon’s release.
The lighthearted nature of the original comic led me to believe that its sequel would maintain an equally easygoing tone. Instead, Contract Demon, rather expertly manages to utilize the events from First Contract as a means to delve into feelings of love, conformity, regret, and guilt.
In First Contract, Kamilla, primarily motivated by sympathy, agreed to Eleni’s friendship contract; however, she, given her lack of experience, was vastly unaware of the consequences associated with signing a contract.
I am still surprised that the characters did not realize this, given both the setting and their species, but in signing the contract, Eleni forfeits a small piece of her soul every time she summons Kamilla.
Thankfully, this transference will not, by definition, kill her; however, it will eradicate her entire sense of self and cause her to be reborn anew as a denizen of hell.
This rather grim reveal, while rather foreseeable, was quite the shift from First Contract’s innocent depiction of inter-species friendship; however, Eleni’s worsening condition provides Contract Demon with a catalyst through with the game, given its playtime, an exceedingly vast degree of character depth and development.
I absolutely adore the game’s characters, and I would love to see them featured in another game, but their vastly polarized responses to Eleni’s worsening health left me, during my playthrough, feeling deeply conflicted.
Eleni, as a character, never particularly interested me, but her positive and forward thinking attitude had me increasingly voicing my admiration. Unfortunately, Eleni, for a significant portion of the game, shies away from her role as a primary character in favor of becoming a catalyst through which, the more conflicted, Kamilla develops as a character.
Kamilla, rather regrettably, fell on the opposite end of the spectrum due to suffering from a significant disparity between her role, as a contract demon, and her relationship with Eleni. Kamilla’s actions, while understandable and relatable, had me actively frustrated in her character.
This frustration, coupled with Eelni’s temporary removal, would normally be viewed as detriments; however, while initially aggravating, these factors were entirely necessary for both the story and the character’s progression.
Removing Eleni as a primary character, albeit temporarily, was not only in line with the game’s narrative, but also served the added function of propelling, the emotionally compromised, Kamilla towards a satisfying internal resolution. Simultaneously, Kamilla’s actions throughout the game, while frustrating, demonstrated the reality of the pair’s situation while also making her encroaching growth all the more satisfying.
Contract Demon, as a kinetic novel, offers players no choices or dialog options throughout its miniscule playtime; however, the game nonetheless excels at delivering exactly what it needs to in order to provide an enjoyable adventure.
While short on playtime and interactivity, Contract Demon is instead bereft with both personality, surprisingly deep development, and overall charm; therefore, I would highly recommend spending the roughly 20 to 30 minutes necessary to complete this adorable story of love and friendship.