Deemo is a mobile music game developed by Taiwan’s Rayark. Its IOS version was published in January, 2013, with Android version followed a month later. In 2015, its PSVita version released.
Deemo builds a quiet and mystery world for its characters, and for its players. Players have to play songs to develop the storyline and speculate the story plots from dubbed animations and tiny changes in the game’s world.
Deemo cooperates with certain indie musicians to provide exquisite original music in the game. It produces a feeling of healing, touching and peace through its music and story. It is not quite popular but has certain die-hard fans in China.
Lens of Elemental Tetrad
The rules in Deemo are quite simple. Players play piano songs just like playing the piano — click on certain position at certain time point. After finishing a song, accuracy rate, grade and some other judgements would be given, along with a new height of the tree, which plays a significant role and implies the total score in the world.
With the tree height increasing, the story goes on, with more songs unlocked and more rooms accessible in the world. Players can explore the rooms and unlock hidden songs as well.
In Deemo, there are only 3 characters, and none of them can speak, one of them does not have a specific appearance, one of them always veils her face. The only way for players to get the story is to watch the dubbed animations, to look out tiny changes after playing certain songs and to combine them with own imagination.
The story starts in a lonely piano hall, with only a piano and a dumb man in black named Deemo. Unexpectedly, a girl falls in the hall all of a sudden. Deemo catches the girl and keeps her company with his piano melody in the following days. In the meanwhile, a sapling appears in the hall center.
Days after days, with the piano melody (played by game players), the sapling grows. Things start to change quietly in the hall. One day, a path comes into existence, leading to a small study, filled with old books and with a veiled girl seated in the midst. Other rooms become accessible afterwards. When the sapling grows into a 14-meter tree, strange broken glass appears. It never grows taller after 20m.
There is no obvious conflict in the story. Actually, no clear story is given. Events are unfolded linearly with the progress of music playing. Author tells the story slowly and imaginably, as an interaction with the players. The story tension is moderate and the imaginary space attract players further.
One of the brightest attractive points for Deemo is its aesthetic, namely, its music, scene and interface.
First, as to the music, all of the piano songs in Deemo are original. Rayark (the producer of Deemo) cooperates with a number of distinguished indie musicians to provide exquisite music in the game. Music style differs from each other but matches current stroy plot, and are divided into different packages, with different illustrations.
Second, the scene in Deemo is attractive. For one thing, it combines some not fashion drawing styles like abstractionism and Baroque, creating a mystery quiet world different from common games for players. For another, every song has its own illustration, which matches the melody style and current story plots well.
Third, the interface of Deemo has achieved much praise. Its interface is simple, clean and clear. Players would feel comfortable and fluent in operation.
Actually, technology does not play a vital role in Deemo. There is no VR, no AR, no sensors and even no modelings. The most “tech” part for the game may be the beats recognition, which is set manually. Unlike common music games, it provides a long-time recognition of each beat click, giving promise to a more accurate judgement for player’s performance.
Lens of Curiosity
A most appealing point of Deemo is its ambiguous, imaginable and gradually progressing storyline.
At the very beginning of the game, the girl falls and Deemo catches her. Players just know something unusual happens but not clear about it at all. Then, the story develops with the tree grows. Some telling details emerge as well. Players play the game to know more about the story, and speculate the story from the tiny details and dubbed animations. Their curiosity on the story impels them to continue the game.
Lens of Experience
Deemo offers nice experience for players.
Psychologically, as mentioned above, Deemo provides a sense of healing and peace through its stories and its music. Different from some popular mobile games on the market which pursue high complexity and make players addicted and frustrated, Deemo is a nice way of relaxation for users.
Physically, the rules and interface of Deemo create great user experience. Some mobile music games require delicate operations, which means players would get much better experience on iPad and some other tablet computers. However, such problem does not happen in Deemo, since Deemo does not distribute certain place for certain key, but each key drops to a wide (possibly overlaps other) key range for players to click on, which made it convenient and comfortable to manipulate on phones.
Lens of Skill
As a music tempo game, Deemo definitely require certain skills.
Deemo requests basically 3 skills for players: tempo sensitivity, response agility and finger flexibility.
Moreover, as mentioned in the technology part of elemental tetrad, Deemo has a more precise judgement system on players, which means it has higher demand on players’ skills.
Lens of Fantasy
The world in Deemo is a world of fantasy with classical music, grand piano and delicate decoration. With the story developing, it shows other fatastic rooms for players.
Also, with more and more story plots emerging, the complete story emerges. Each player has his own guess and story about Deemo. Most regard Deemo’s world a dreamland of the girl or Deemo. Deemo’s world is a fantasy world in name and in fact.