Developed By: Rayark Inc.
Published By: UNTIES
Platforms: PlayStation 4
Reviewed On: PlayStation 4
DEEMO: Reborn (stylised as DEEMO-Reborn-), unlike its other handheld based versions, is a total remake from its mobile counterpart. With the entirely new 3D remake and the inclusion of VR and the puzzle-solving exploration feature, the game has finally reached its greatest form.
The plot of DEEMO revolves around a little girl with a case of memory loss. After falling into Deemo’s world, the duo works hand in hand in solving puzzles, unlocking different rooms and floors of Deemo’s world. As she explores, the game drops subtle hints of who she actually is.
For those who have played the other versions, the plot remains the same – but now with animated cut scenes instead of the old slideshows (the old slideshows are still available but are hidden in one the puzzles).
Deemo:Reborn is a puzzle-solving rhythm game and the goal is to grow the tree towards the ceiling window. The growing of the tree is where the rhythm part comes in. For every recital performed, the tree grows taller – unlocking new rooms and floors as it grows.
Exploration and Puzzle-Solving
Exploration Mode is one of the key features introduced in this remake – and it’s also the missing piece in the previous versions of DEEMO.
The exploration mode’s main function is to discover puzzles to solve. Each solved puzzle will unlock more music sheets for the rhythm mode and at the same time, you’ll discover pieces of the girl’s missing memory. Some puzzles will also unlock easter eggs for those who’ve experienced DEEMO.
Although the difficulty varies for each puzzle they’re not challenging to the point that will hinder you from progressing further. The puzzle even seems to be designed specifically to entertain your inner child detective.
The Virtual Reality part of the game.
When the game said it would have a VR mode, I was expecting a plain Virtual Reality “Experience” where the player only gets to experience a small portion of the game. I did not expect that the whole game can be played entirely on VR – this was a good surprise.
The character Deemo plays the piano during the rhythmic gameplay part of the game and in VR mode, you’d assume his position as the pianist and the PS Move controller you wield on each hand will represent the pianist’s hand in the game.
When the musical note waterfalls down the lane, you’d drum the controller down the correct lane at the exact time the note lands on the horizontal bar to earn a hit.
The whole experience was surreal. It felt as if I was really playing the instrument and that all this beautiful music was played by me. Using the PS Move in the game feels so natural I didn’t even have to think.
But not all was perfect. When I played songs at a higher difficulty where the notes become more clustered and frequent, more misses would occur as the hits failed to register. I am not sure if the fault is with the game or just a hardware limitation of the PSVR.
Nevertheless, the VR experience in Deemo Reborn is one of the most memorable experiences I’ve had in the PSVR.
Rhythm & Music
Unlike other rhythm games, DEEMO is as forgiving as it gets. Worry not about messing up in the rhythm mode as the game will not cut you off after missing a few notes.
The controls in TV Mode can get confusing at first, but it gets easier after a few tries. The difficulty level for each song is plotted out flawlessly as well. On top of easy, normal and hard difficulty, each song comes with a numbered scale as well, and anything with the level 8 onward can be pretty brutal for your fingers.
Rhythm mode in VR is definitely the most enjoyable feature in DEEMO. Instead of mimicking the feel of playing the piano, it’s more of playing the piano, with drum sticks. The gameplay itself is very smooth, but playing a song on a higher difficulty itself can be rather challenging – imagine the horror of hitting an unending stream of notes with only two drumsticks!
Similar to its predecessors, DEEMO comes with a wide selection of songs for its rhythm mode and some of the classics makes a reappearance. The quality of the music is as good as before, and most of the newer tracks are just as amazing. Most of the songs are piano-based, and some with vocal backings in English, Japanese, Korean and Chinese. I’m not sure if my all-time favourite, Reflection(Mirror Night) is in this version, but I’m still trying to see if I can unlock it. *Crosses all fingers*
What I Liked
- The story of DEEMO is as touching as it gets. On a scale of 1 to 10, it scales on the level of a carton of wet tissue papers.
- PlayStation®VR ready! DEEMO: Reborn itself is VR ready and it can be played in VR entirely if that rocks your boat, or switch it to TV Mode to experience it in both ways.
- The redesign of rhythm mode is much more pleasing to the eye, and the VR experience of it is even more impressive.
- The exploration feature brought much more depth to the game. Back when it was just plain rhythm, It wasn’t very much different from the other rhythm games.
- Goodbye slideshow cut scenes, hello animated cut scenes.
- The design of the rhythm mode is great for people like me – people with a ridiculously bad hand and eye coordination. Rather than punishing the player for missed notes, the game lets you finish the song so that you can practice it without being interrupted.
What I Wished Was Better
- The character animations seem to be a little lacking for the cut scenes. It would’ve brought more emotional impact if it was more fluid.
- The final floor is a little too under decorated for my liking. The emptiness made exploration rather pointless at this stage.
Summary & Verdict
Rather than calling it a remake, Deemo: Reborn to me is the intended final product. Anything published before this seems to the watered-down demo version. With the addition of the exploration mode, players can now choose to either grind through the entire game with just the Rhythm Mode or a combination of both. I’d recommend the latter if you want to fully experience the game. While I find that exploration and puzzle-solving is best played in TV Mode, the VR experience itself is really immersive in Rhythm mode. Some of the songs can be pretty challenging to be played on a non-touch screen device, but it will only take a little bit of practice for better results – except for the difficulty scales above 8. Those are just brutal.
All in all, Deemo: Reborn can be described as an easy-going casual weekend adventure. It is also a title for those who love sweet endings with a touch of melancholy. For the price of one but to get both the normal and VR mode that can be played in full, Deemo Reborn is definitely a must-have for rhythmic games and VR enthusiasts.
Final Score: 85/100
Fans of Deemo rejoice! Rayark has also announced the animated film for Deemo on their twitter. You can read more about it here.
— 【公式】Rayark (@RayarkOfficial) November 16, 2019