iOS Rhythm Game Deemo Review: Unlike Anything I've Ever Played | Fanboys Anonymous

iOS Rhythm Game Deemo Review: Unlike Anything I've Ever Played

Posted by Casey Phillips Thursday, November 21, 2013
Do you remember Guitar Hero or Dance Dance Revolution? Me neither. Rhythm games have mostly fallen out of the public eye. Whether we grew tired of the lack of innovation or simply ran out of space for plastic guitars and turntables is unclear.

Deemo decidedly does away with each of these gripes in a new iOS finger-tapping rhythm game that is quite unlike anything I’ve ever played. While the gameplay itself will feel immediately familiar to fans of the genre—notes fall from the top of the screen and must be tapped in time to create a melody—it is the presentation that sets Deemo apart.

iOS rhythm game Deemo Review

Deemo weaves a narrative, but it does so without text or explanation; the music and artwork tell this tale. Each song has a beautiful image of one of the characters on display beside the title to give your imagination a jumping-off point. It sounds strange, but there is a complete story to be gleaned from the imagery, titles, and most importantly, the music.

The titular character Deemo is a strange shadow creature who sits alone in his castle playing the piano. When we meet him in the first song, “Dream,” he is wistfully perched atop a mountain of chairs; the melody is melancholy and instills a feeling of longing. Deemo is lonely.

Deemo hardest song video perfect full combo

Things change when a young girl falls through the skylight and into Deemo's arms. The songs become more upbeat. They allude to adventures had and laughs shared. Yet as Deemo and the girl grow closer, they notice a sapling sprouting out of his piano. With each song the tree matures slightly and its limbs reach ever closer toward the skylight through which the girl tumbled. As Deemo realizes that he is cultivating a means of escape for his companion, the songs become dark and resentful.


In another medium, you might accuse me of reading between the lines a little too much, and I might agree with you. However, in Deemo, the marriage of music, image, and narrative forms a cohesive fantasy about loneliness, regret, and our need for connection.

When looked at as a game, Deemo is good. There are a total of twenty-eight tracks ranging from classical to hip-hop, each with three difficulties. The soundtrack is hit-or-miss, with a few truly exceptional tracks ("Dream" and "Wings of Piano" are particularly good). Tapping the notes is responsive and almost makes you feel as though you’re playing the piano.

Deemo iOS Free Download tips
Hard mode provides ample challenge for experienced players.
However, when looked at as an experience, Deemo is simultaneously enchanting and haunting. Despite having completed the game, I often find myself thinking about poor, lonely Deemo in his castle. If you are a fan of the rhythm genre, or simply enjoy artistic, transcendent experiences, you owe it to yourself to give Deemo a try.


Deemo is available now on the App Store for $1.99.  Do you guys have a favorite rhythm game?  Let me know in the comments!
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