Evercade Cartridge Preview: Demons of Asteborg/Astebros Dual Cart

Written by Pete Davison

Tags Astebros, Demons of Asteborg, EVERCADE

Today, we turn our attention to one of the two dual carts releasing at the end of November 2023. Alongside the Goodboy Galaxy/Witch n’ Wiz double-whammy, the Demons of Asteborg/Astebros dual cart brings you two substantial, beautifully presented 16-bit action adventures that, had they been released back in the day, would doubtless have become all-time classics that we’d still be talking about in 2023. Better late than never, though — and if there’s any justice, the gaming world will still be in awe of these fantastic games in another 30 years’ time.

Anyway, let’s take a closer look at the two games on this cart!

Demons of Asteborg

The first game on the cart, and the first to be released by developer Neofid Studios, is Demons of Asteborg. This is a side-scrolling action-adventure in which you take on the role of the brave Gareth, a young man with a destiny to fulfil.

The demon Zadimus, once banished to another dimension by a heroic warrior named Sagramor and his witch companion Maria, has returned to wreak havoc on the people of Asteborg in an attempt to take revenge for a Great War that unfolded thirty years ago.

Gareth’s mother — the very same Maria — was murdered, but he was taken into the care of Bohort, chief of the royal guard, and trained in the art of swordsmanship. Now, with Zadimus’ return imminent, it’s up to Gareth to fight back against the Demons of Asteborg using swords, magic, and the sort of beautifully flowing cape that protagonists of this sort of game inevitably sport.

Demons of Asteborg is an all-action platformer in which you work your way through a series of stages on your quest to defeat Zadimus once and for all. While each stage is a self-contained challenge, they all involve much more than simply proceeding from left to right, murdering everything vaguely demonic-looking along the way.

Instead, you’ll have to explore each stage thoroughly, solving puzzles and interacting with characters along the way. Most notably, you’ll regularly come into contact with a wandering spirit named Uther, who appears to have lost his memory — but with each magic scroll you bring him, he recalls a little more. And in exchange, Uther teaches Gareth to use various forms of magic that will help him proceed.

The stages you’ll work your way through over the course of the game are enormously varied, and many have their own unique gimmicks you’ll have to master in order to successfully survive their challenges. Not only that, but with each stage having its own distinctive aesthetic and unique soundtrack to enjoy, working your way through Demons of Asteborg is as much about enjoying the spectacular audio-visual experience as it is about mastering the mechanics.

It was an impressive debut from a new studio, for sure — and that’s not all there is to enjoy on this cartridge by a long shot!


Although released after Demons of AsteborgAstebros is actually a narrative prequel, telling the tale of how humanity came to the continent of Asteborg in the first place. Specifically, it tells the story of how an initial expeditionary force to the then-unknown continent ended up captured under mysterious circumstances — and how three plucky heroes set off to save the day.

Astebros, although superficially resembling Demons of Asteborg, is actually a rather different sort of game. Instead of unfolding as a linear action-adventure, Astebros adopts the “roguelite” format. This combines elements of exploration-centric platformers and the notoriously challenging “roguelike” RPG format, the latter of which places a heavy emphasis on presenting completely new things to explore and discover each time you play.

Roguelites differ from roguelikes in that failure doesn’t cause all your progress to be completely reset and demand you to start all over again; instead, there are persistent progression elements that you’re able to unlock at various milestones that — in theory at least — gradually make the game a little easier to deal with.

Specifically, in Astebros, you’ll discover members of the aforementioned exploratory expedition who have been locked up in prison cells, and releasing them will cause them to join your camp, unlocking access to various helpful services such as forging weapons and providing bonuses for your next run.

A really fun part of Astebros is its use of “modifiers”, which are power-ups you’ll discover in special treasure rooms as you explore each dungeon, and which tweak the game’s mechanics, balance and structure slightly for your current run. These mostly have a positive effect on your adventure, but be wary — there are often side-effects you’ll have to deal with, too!

Perhaps best of all, if you don’t feel you can face the challenges of the untamed land of Asteborg alone, you can bring a friend along for the ride in Astebros, with each of you playing one of the three different playable characters. Complement one another’s skills to survive — or compete to see who can nab the most treasure.

Like Demons of AsteborgAstebros is a beautifully presented 16-bit game that would have been among the top-tier titles for its original host platform had it been released back in the day. We’re delighted to play host to it on Evercade, and look forward to exploring its many secrets and challenges alongside you all when it releases in December 2023!

The Demons of Asteborg/Astebros dual cart releases on November 28, 2023. Find out more here.


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