Taiwanese PlayStation Vita cover art
Li Yung Ting
|Platform(s)||iOS, Android, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo Switch|
Deemo is a rhythm video game developed by Rayark Games, an independent game developer in Taiwan. The game was released on iOS and Android mobile platforms on November 13, 2013. An enhanced port for the PlayStation Vita, titled Deemo: Last Recital (Japanese: DEEMO～ラスト・リサイタル～), first announced late 2014, was released in June 2015. A Nintendo Switch port was released worldwide in September 2017. A remake of the entire game in 3D, titled Deemo -REBORN- was announced in October 2017 for PlayStation 4 with PlayStation VR compatibility.
The core gameplay of Deemo is a score-based music video game. Each playable song features three levels, namely Easy, Normal, Hard, each given a difficulty rating measured in a 'Level' scale. The levels were originally being ranged between 1 and 10, however the introduction of the Level 11 song Myosotis in the 2.0 version and the Level 12 song Marigold in the 3.0 version, marks the extension of the levels range, now being ranged from 1 to 12. A few selected songs also have an unlockable "Extra" difficulty which may have letters in place of the level number. The player can also customize the speed of the notes before starting a level, in a scale of 0.5 (slowest) to 9.5 (fastest).
In each level, a black line is affixed at the bottom of the screen, and horizontal bars known as "notes" approach the line at a perspective from background to foreground. The player must tap on the notes when they reach the bottom line in time with the music, resembling playing on a piano. Black notes requires the player to tap each individually, while yellow notes allows the player to slide across in a chain. Black notes with a white interior is the same as normal black notes, only representing non-piano sounds.
The player's performance is judged by the accuracy at which each note is hit, where a "Charming" hit is more accurate than a normal hit. At the end of each level, the game shows the player's overall performance in a result screen, providing the proportion of "Charming" hits, the longest chain of consecutive successful hits (Combo), and the overall accuracy in percentage form, with 100% denoting all hits are "Charming". The result screen will congratulate the player for hitting all notes successfully (Full Combo) or achieving 100% accuracy (All Charming). The level is considered completed when a 65% or up accuracy is achieved.
Deemo uses both instrumental and vocal music to accompany its rhythm game elements. The selection consists of works from composers from multiple regions including Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong. Notable contributors include Earthbound Papas and guitarist Shinichi Kobayashi. Deemo also uses songs that were used in Cytus, another rhythm game by the same developer and songs from Alim's Role-playing game Brave Frontier for the game's collaboration event.
The game's plot centers around a little girl named Alice that falls from an open trapdoor in the sky, and a black, mysterious character Deemo who, to help the girl return to her own world, plays piano music to grow a special tree sapling sprouting from the piano. As the tree grows, various rooms of the structure open for the girl to explore. The girl also encounters a person wearing a white gown and mask, referred to as the "Masked Lady", who expresses annoyance towards Deemo and the girl trying to grow the tree.
When the tree stops growing at a 20-meter height, the girl discovers a stairway through a painting in the side room and walks into it with Deemo. The stairway leads to a chamber with another piano covered in thick thorns. As Deemo plays on that piano, large-scale tremors occur and the tree resumes growth.
The tree stops growing again at the final 50-meter height, which unlocks a final room from thorns. As the girl and Deemo enter the room, the Masked Lady grabs hold of the girl and the two struggle. Deemo stops the Masked Lady with pats on her head, and proceeds into the room with the girl, leaving the Masked Lady behind.
The final room contains a piano and a hovering platform. Deemo plays more piano music which builds a stairway to reach the platform. When the stairway is fully built, Deemo walks the girl up the staircases and raises her onto the platform, then returns to the piano to play one final tune. The playable song ends with the message "Goodbye, my beloved sister, Alice.", suggesting the girl's name.
As the song finishes, Deemo is revealed to be a manifestation of Alice's elder brother Hans and gradually disintegrates. A series of flashback scenes reveals the siblings were involved in a fatal traffic accident, where Hans sacrificed himself to save Alice. Alice bursts into tears as the platform elevates towards the trapdoor and the Masked Lady removes her hood and mask, revealing her as another Alice (Revealed to be called Celia in The Last Recital) who wanted to prevent her from leaving so that they could be with Hans. As Deemo's world crumbles and he disappears, Alice wakes up in a hospital bed, attached with medical instruments. She removes them and rushes to the window only to find that she escaped Deemo's world, that she was in a coma the whole time and her brother is dead, after the two were hit by a truck and Hans was fatally injured. Alice then collapses into tears as nurses rush to her side to try and comfort her. After the credits, it is revealed that she takes up piano in his memory.
Deemo was released on November 13, 2013, on the AppStore, and December 27, 2013, on Google Play for Android devices. The Android version is a free trial only allowing limited progress, the full version of which can be unlocked by in-app purchases.
Deemo: Last Recital for the PlayStation Vita was released on June 24, 2015, in Japan exclusively as downloadable software. Different from mobile releases, Last Recital included additional modes for cooperative and competitive play, and extra story exclusive to this version. Cutscenes were remade with full animation produced by CoMix Wave Films. All lines by the little girl are voiced in Japanese by voice actor Ayana Taketatsu.
The game's ending songs are titled "Sakurairo no Yume" (桜色の夢 Sakurairo no yume, lit. Cherry-Colored Dream) by Chihiro Toki and "Alice Good Night" by Riin for the 2.0 version.
On September 1, 2017, Japanese publisher Flyhigh Works announced during a live stream that Deemo would be coming to the Nintendo Switch in Japan. The port will be handled by ESQUADRA and published by Flyhigh Works in Japan, similar to their previous port of Voez to Nintendo Switch.
On October 17, 2017, Unties, a new publishing label under Sony Music Entertainment Japan, and Rayark announced Deemo -REBORN- for PlayStation 4. The game is fully remade in 3D and is compatible with PlayStation VR.
Rayark claims that Deemo saw 200,000 downloads within one month of release, and 7 million downloads as of October 2014, ranking first in music game genre in the Apple App Store of over 100 regions.
Deemo received generally positive critical reviews. Smartphone game review site TouchArcade gave a 4.5-star rating, citing "the game's art style and subtle story meld together beautifully to create an overall presentation that simply works". A Kotaku review praises the story delivering spectrum of emotions while accompanied by a fitting soundtrack, akin to "the rhythm game equivalent of musical theater". Last Recital for PlayStation Vita received a 33/40 Famitsu Score (8/8/9/8).
Deemo was nominated "Best of 2013" in the independent developer division by Apple App Store's Taiwan division. The game was later named "Best Game Music" by Google Play's Taiwan market editorial.
Playable song I Race the Dawn won the Outstanding Achievement – Vocal Theme award at the 2013 Annual Game Music Awards by Game Music Online.
- (in English) Official website
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