Think back to something that you enjoyed in the past. It could be a movie, book, favorite game and think of the fond memories that you had when enjoying them. What if the things that we once enjoyed, the ones that left that lasting impression were able to see a new light in a way that only Virtual Reality can allow us to enter and experience? Would you jump right in without any hesitation? So does Developer Rayark and Publisher Unties allow us to revisit a familiarity and take it all in a new way? Let’s find out with DEEMO -Reborn- for the PlayStation VR.
DEEMO -Reborn- for those who may not be familiar with is part not new to the gaming scene as it has been on IOS and Google Play Store in 2013, then to PlayStation Vita as Deemo: Last Recital in 2015 for Japan only and then in 2017 for N. America in 2017 as well for the Nintendo Switch in 2017. But now Deemo has been reborn for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR hence the title DEEMO -Reborn-.
In DEEMO -Reborn, you play as a little girl (named Alice in the other versions) who have fallen from this opening in and this is where DEEMO, is found sitting and playing the piano and catches her. The thing about DEEMO is when you first look at him, you may think he looks a tad like Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas except he is darker looking and he cannot talk. But the thing about the little girl who is curious, but she speaks in Japanese, luckily there is English subtitles to help understand what is going on. All this girl wants to do is get back to where she came as she doesn’t know this place and doesn’t know what happened and seeing DEEMO at first has her a little terrified but she realizes that DEEMO has a big heart and helps but in a more rhythmic way.
Before we really get into DEEMO -Reborn- there are some things that you will want to think about before deciding if playing in VR is best for you. First, in VR, you use the Move controllers, nonVR is the DualShock 4. With VR, you will be pointing and clicking your way for the movement and in nonVR, you can move more freely. Also, because there are some rhythm parts to DEEMO -Reborn-, you will have to select from Normal and Hard difficulties for songs in VR, wherein nonVR, you have the option for Normal difficulty. So as long as you know this before jumping in, you should be good and yes, you can switch between the two, just make sure you save your game before switching.
When you first start and are in this room and I really do like not only the way the lighting is used but the realistic the water on the ground looks. You will notice two doors that you can not enter as well as a piano where DEEMO plays. So what we have here is part puzzle aspect as you have to figure out how to get the doors open and once you interact with the piano, part rhythm where when you play in VR, your arms become that of DEEMO so you can then hit the notes to play accordingly. And I will say that playing this is something that is a blast in Virtual Reality.
It’s not until after you play that a tree forms. So the better you play the songs the more the tree will grow and you want the tree to grow as much as possible as it possibly may be your way back home. One thing to remember is if you get stuck and not sure where to go, remember that playing a song a different difficulty counts towards new songs. So it may result in you having to play the songs on hard, which can get very hard depending on the level of difficulty, but it is still fun to play no matter what. And speaking of the songs, they may not be songs that you are familiar with, but they are beautiful and I enjoyed every single one as I kept wanting to play them over and over again.
Playing in VR, you are limited to your moving abilities, but to help with this, you can pause the game by hitting the X and O buttons to pull up the different cameras angles you can switch to and the Square and Triangle pull up your menu so you can save, pull up your inventory, as well as move to a different room without having to travel by foot, that is unless you are stuck in a room that the puzzles have to be solved before you are able to move on. The puzzles like the songs, do you range in difficulty. The easy ones can be as simple as moving some books to find an item or they can be difficult such as playing the notes in order or listening to music and then trying to guess which instruments are being used. So not only will you need to think about some of these, but you will really need to listen to what is being played as well.
As you continue to complete more puzzles, you find more items, more songs to play and even discover new rooms to explore. I am not going to spoil anything as beautiful as DEEMO -Reborn- is, it is something that you should experience. But one thing about the inventory that I did appreciate is how you didn’t have to guess to see if an item would work if you had the missing piece to solve the puzzle, the item is automatically used which is a very nice touch.
When you think about Virtual Reality, you want that sound and you want the visuals and you will find that here. Visually, the art style that is used almost is like how you would see a picture or painting of an artist painting within that picture or painting and just almost admire it from a distance. Here you are within that form of art and you can admire it from within. And this is where the sound helps to balance it in a way that I am not sure if the music is more important and the story is backing it up or vice versa, but hearing the music while playing the piano had me feeling different emotions at times and then seeing the visuals and the gameplay and I couldn’t wait to see what new puzzles I would encounter or just the rooms alone or even what was the reason for the masked girl and the mysterious relationship she and DEEMO seemed to have, but it made me want to keep going and not stop.
Some may look at Deemo -Reborn- as if the beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, but really it may be Deemo -Reborn- looking at us to bring out the beauty we all have in ourselves and intertwine within the adventure of having our questions answered as we are reborn through the sound of the piano. It just goes to show that sometimes when you bring the dimension of Virtual Reality into the mix, it is reborn and given a new breath of life.
DEEMO -Reborn- is out now on PlayStation VR. A review code was provided.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I going to play some more piano.