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Demo Bonus

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Demos are a great way to build hype for a game by giving potential customers a tease of what the game is like. But what about people who aren't going to bother with the demo because they already know they're going to get the game? Playing the demo would hype them up even more, and inflate the download numbers of the demo as a selling point. There must be something that can entice them to try out the demo anyway. That's where this trope comes in.

A Demo Bonus gives some sort of advantage in the full game to people who played the demo. If the demo consists of the first level of the game, the full game may let them carry over their progress so they don't have to start over. A Self-Contained Demo, on the other hand, will usually give some nods to the events therein, whether just letting you keep the minor rewards given for completing "Level 0" or even giving something that can't be obtained any other way.

Related to Old Save Bonus and Pre-Order Bonus.


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    Action Game 
  • Save data for the Balan Wonderworld demo unlocks a launcher costume for the full game themed after the platform it's played on. Since the demo has been delisted from digital storefronts, the costume can now be obtained using a Cheat Code on the title screen.
  • Kirby and the Forgotten Land: Completing the demo gives you a special code to use in the full game, alongside an additional one if you also completed all of Level 2's sidequests.
  • Monster Hunter commonly deals with these, starting from the 3rd Generation. Having demo save data awards a small starter pack of common items, typically consumables that would require a minor amount of work to obtain otherwise. Monster Hunter: World in particular had a special campaign where defeating the demo version of Nergigante (a Nintendo Hard challenge in itself) would reward a set of Nergigante materials in the full game, a far more substantial reward considering it is not possible to fight a Nergigante or make its equipment for a good long while.

    Eastern RPG 
  • Bravely Default allows you to unlock bonuses in the main game by achieving certain objectives in the demo, and to transfer your villagers from the demo over to the main game.note  The sequel, Bravely Second, does the same.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • Dragon Quest XI on PS4 has a demo penalty. The demo is the first few chapters of the game. If you install the full game after playing the demo, you have the choice of starting a new game or continuing from where you left off. If you choose to continue, you miss all of the trophies from the early game. If you want the trophies, you have to start a new game and replay over ten hoursnote .
    • A similar situation happens with Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince. Importing data from the demo will force you to start the game from the beginning, giving you as a bonus a few extra items in your inventory. Also, the monsters that were in your party at the end of the demo are instantly unlocked in the bestiary and you get one exemplar of each when you reach the monster storage for the first time... except that they only share their nicknames with the ones you had in the demo and nothing else, and for some reason they're also missing the second skill tree (the one with the stat boosts).
  • Final Fantasy:
  • In Octopath Traveler, you can carry over your save file from the demo into the full game.
  • Pokémon did this a couple of times:
    • Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire: Completing the first mission in the Special Demo Version gives you a Steelix (in Japanese) or Glalie (everywhere else) to transfer over. Since they come at level 40 it's very easy to beat the game with them, and they come with their Mega Stones much earlier than you would normally be able to get them. You also get extra, lesser rewards for every additional mission that you do.
    • Pokémon Sun and Moon: Again, you can collect a variety of rewards, this time mostly from beating challenges in the demo area or returning to the demo after a certain number of days has passed, but the real standout here is what you get for beating the demo's main scenario: a Greninja with the Battle Bond ability, which allows it to transform into Ash-Greninja. This is the only way in the entire series to get one of these, as the ability can't be bred. It also comes at level 36, so again it's very easy to steamroll the game if you transfer it.
  • Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale lets you carry over your save from the demo.
  • The demo for the first The Denpa Men lets you carry over your completion of the first dungeon, Digitoll Cave, as well as all the Denpa Men and items you acquired, into the full game.

    Fighting Game 
  • Dissidia 012: The demo costs US$5 by itself. That said, having a completed save file for the demo is the only way to get Aerith in the full game as a powerful Assist Character, as well as any items you won in the fights.

    Real Time Strategy 
  • Valkyria Chronicles 4: Save data from completing the demo can be carried over to the full version of the game. Doing so is the only way to unlock the Participation Award, which is a bonus accessory that boosts the user's HP by +10.

    Rhythm Game 
  • Patapon: If you use the full game to load a save file created from the game's downloadable demo, it gives you a powerful, special sword for one of your troops to use.

    Survival Horror 
  • The "Beginning Hour" demo for Resident Evil 7: Biohazard rewards you with the Dirty Coin for completing the demo without taking any damage, which carries over to the main game to serve as an extra Antique Coin to unlock the cages that hold several bonus items. Alas, it's something of a Bragging Rights Reward, as the only real use it has is letting the player skip the "Derelict House" VHS segment near the start of the game, since the extra coin doesn't really help you unlock any cages earlier than you normally would by finding every other coin, and there's one more than you need in the main game anyhow (which is good, really, because beating the demo without getting injured is much easier said than done).

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • By playing Code Name: S.T.E.A.M's demo, players start the game with the Phoenix Rifle, a fairly weak gun which has low steam cost and pushback properties. Any coins earned in the demo also carry over into the full game.
  • Playing through the demo of Project X Zone 2: Brave New World up to five times resulted in more cash and some bonus starting equipment.

    Western RPG 
  • A staple of several demos made for Bioware RPGs made in the mid-00s:
    • Completing act 1 or obtaining all five Achievements in Dragon Age Journeys, a demo/tie-in game for Dragon Age: Origins, unlocked either the ring Embri's Many Pockets or the Helm of the Deep for usage in the main game. After a period of exclusivity, the two items (along with several other Pre-Order Bonus pieces of equipment) were made available to fans to download and use for all versions of the game, and later through EA Origin directly.
    • Dragon Age II:
      • Completing the demo on the same online account as the main game unlocks a unique greatsword "Hayder's Razor" (although nowadays, it is much easier obtained as part of a free DLC bundle). The sword is named after the end boss of the demo, whom you also fight in the game proper during Isabela's recruitment quest (though this version of him doesn't drop any named gear), allowing you to kick his ass with his own weapon.
      • Playing Dragon Age Legends (a tie-in demo/mobile prequel to the main game) would unlock one of five items for II. Like "Hayder's Razor", the items were eventually unlocked for all players through the Bioware Social Network, and later through Origin proper.
    • Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning: As part of a cross-promotion, booting up the demo awarded the Reckoning Armor in Mass Effect 3, while completing the demo awarded the "Chakram Launcher" weapon for the same game. The weapon was later included in the Omega DLC, while both items were eventually integrated into the Legendary Edition release of the latter trilogy.

    Visual Novels 
  • Analogue: A Hate Story lets you continue from your demo save.
  • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony: Transferring your save data from the demo into the full game causes you to start off with additional money, the Nail Brush item (needed to unlock one of the early extra scenes), and the Machine Gun skill (normally only available through playing minigames in an area that isn't even accessible until the second chapter).