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Growing pains.

Deemo: The Last Recital is a game that is filled with good intentions. It has a lot of charm and personality. Unfortunately, it is also filled with a lot of issues. Deemo has some of the most beautiful music I have heard in a rhythm game in a while. It has a beautiful mix of piano, jazz, and j-rock/pop. The diversity in this game came as a surprise to me as I was expecting this game to exclusively have piano tracks.

Deemo tells the story of a young girl who falls down a ceiling window and ends up in an underground world. Deemo is an inhabitant of said world who uses his music to help a small seedling grow into a tree. The tree grows as you play the songs, allowing the young girl to climb her way back to the surface world. This story is touchingly told through dungeon exploration and cutscenes in between performances.

The Caveats

While Deemo is an auditory pleasure, it can also be self-defeating. While its music is great for listening, its difficulty progression is a little off. I found myself shocked while playing “Light Polution” when the difficulty levels went from 1 for easy, 3 for normal, and a jaw dropping 8 for hard. Making your plant grow can also be a daunting task. The plant’s growth is tied to the songs you play, but the in-game tree grows extremely slowly unless you are playing at the harder difficulties at near perfect precision.

Getting near perfect precision can be an impossible task unless you are playing this game on a table like a piano. The positioning of the note receivers is awkwardly placed at the bottom of the screen, making it hard to reach out with your thumbs from the side of the console. The songs are almost unplayably slow unless you are playing at level 3 speed or faster.

Conclusion

I’m having a hard time finding a demographic to suggest this to, as this game falls in an odd place. While it is easy to pick up and play due to its more lax music selection, its grind heavy gameplay is a big turn off. I also can’t suggest this to rhythm game fans as there are better offerings on the Vita such as Technika Tune or PM Studios’ very own Superbeat: Xonic. This game began its life as a mobile game, and it shows. I really wish I could recommend this game because I had a fun time playing this game until I had to grind for perfect scores. If you’re looking for a rhythm game to play and have played everything else on Vita then by all means, indulge. I would, however, suggest that you check out Superbeat: Xonic especially since it was also released this week on the PS4 and Xbox One on the same day as Deemo.

2.8/5