Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Developer: Rayark Inc.
Publisher: Flyhigh Works,
Release: 28th August 2018
I checked out a lot fo rhythm games but with the physical release of Deemo on Switch, I noticed just how I never got around to this one, even though it looks just like the perfect title for me. The mascot is a big, dark, slender “monster” and a cute little girl, playing silently on the piano, a theme I always found enchanting and I soon noticed just how much it should influence my experience.
For once, it´s a rhythm gane that features somewhat of a story, presented by little, beautiful cutscenes every now and then for completing songs. They tell a cute heartwarming tale of a little girl meeting Deemo I assume and how they got to connect through music, an experience I also had at least with one other person in my life. Surely, not unique by any means in terms of its narrative but it sets the tone for Deemo as whole: It´s a game that isn´t primarily about highscores the moment you start it, it´s about discovery, music and harmony.
This is also reflected in the visual presentation, Deemo doesn´t feature flashy backgrounds, flashy effects or outstanding graphics, often just a simple background, a few colours and the button prompts fading in and out of the screen. Compared to Superbeat XONiC for example, this is almost relaxing, mixed with the piano heavy main music pieces. While it features all the customization, speed changes and what-not expected from a rhythm game, the first time, these visuals may seem scarce but combined with the msuci and whole setting, the first few hours it´s simply a relaxing experiencing, since it´s not really hard too, unless you want it to be.
Speaking of the difficulty, as already mentioned Deemo´s main pieces aren´t all that hard if you don´t crank up the speed. Instead, it aims to bring a lot of diversity in difficulty and style through many, many songs. Yes, there are dozens and dozens of songs from various Japanese artists, game soundtracks, original tracks and mixtapes. Honestly, this is by far the most diverse selection I´ve seen on the Switch. Even though it takes a while to unlock all, especially in the beginning you´ll get dozens of songs for practically nothing, making it fairly easy to get to the biggest portion without much grinding.
First and foremost though, the gameplay. As I said already, it manages to deliver both, a rather calming opportunity to enjoy popular JPop songs or Piano ensembles, as well as aiming for the highest scores in the long run. Particularly the higher difficulty songs, that are also unlocked as some of the last, offer quite a challenge comparable to Superbeat XONiC with the right settings. Deemo also offers a pretty similar control scheme with its various button lanes, rapid button presses or slides. Unfortunately, I constantly got the impression it´s more geared toward touchscreen play than with buttons, at least it seemed quite a lot easier with a controller and some concepts couldn´t be carried over that well.
Overall, Deemo was a surprisingly fun experience and actually became my go to rhythm game besides Superbeat XONiC, due to its giant music selection and wide variety of playstyles. Mix that with the unique personality it creates with its mascots and “story” and you got a really, really good game here. Maybe the best on the Switch if you don´t want a more hardcore oriented experience.
[A Review Code was provided by actil]