A far cry from the high-octane pop and EDM overload that characterizes most rhythm games, Deemo and its freshly released sequel, Deemo II, stand out. The latest installment from the mobile brains of Rayark Games, Deemo II has more to offer than your standard rhythm game. And best of all, it’s completely free with no ads.
Between its really stunning animations (I would say Fortunately watch a feature film with these graphics), heart-pounding piano-centric graphics, and surprisingly good world-building, Deemo II does some heavy lifting to elevate its genre to new heights. I may be party-biased thanks to my undying love for rhythm games, but don’t be shocked when you see Deemo II on our list of the best Android games.
Rhythm game aspects are joined by adventure elements to create a unique genre experience.
Since it is primarily a rhythm game, the core progression and gameplay of Deemo II lies in making musical charts. Most of them are piano-focused, with some fun jazz bits thrown in for a bit of pep and energy. This is for good reason, as the whole story of Deemo II is centered around the music, and in particular the piano.
Even the rhythm game aspect looks like you’re playing a piano. Black and white keys descend from the top of the screen, and you must hit them when they’re right at the “judgment line” to nail a perfect (or “lovely,” as the game calls them) note. If the notes flash gold, you’ve done it, if they’re green, you’re almost successful, and if you completely miss, they turn off and disappear. Luckily, you can miss notes with no repercussions other than a deduction from your total score, unlike Beatstar’s more punishing tactics.
It sounds simple, but I’m hot and fired up at this game right now. I’m getting better with practice, but I’m definitely out of my Cytus II and Muse Dash comfort zone. That’s not a bad thing, as it shows there’s still room for new challenges in the rhythm landscape, especially among more veteran players. There are also special in-game events that players can participate in for greater rewards. Some of them are suitable for beginners and intermediates, but others are specifically for experienced players aiming for those leaderboard spots.
Outside of the rhythmic segments of Deemo II, the game had some major elements that really caught me off guard. I have obsessively played Rayark’s other titanic rhythm track, Cytus II, so I thought I had a good idea of what to expect with Deemo II. I couldn’t have been more wrong, and mostly in a positive way. The biggest surprises were the inclusions of adventure and RPG elements like NPCs to befriend, a large map to explore, and even optional side quests.
Echo must find a way to eliminate the dreaded Hollow Rain and save the inhabitants of this musical world from certain doom.
Cytus II had a compelling story and setting, but if you chose not to interact with it, it left the world building to a handful of cutscenes. Deemo II is very different in that it has a single central protagonist, Echo, and she exists in a world that you actively interact with: the train station.
Echo and the other humanoid inhabitants of this mysterious world are plagued by hollow rain, a destructive phenomenon that causes anyone it touches to “bloom”, erasing them from existence by turning them into a flurry of white flower petals. Echo herself fell victim to the hollow rain and she herself seemed to have turned into a storm of petals, but supposedly a divine figure known as The Composer saved her and brought her back to the life.
The story feels confusing and confusing at first, but as you unlock more of the narrative and continue to interact with other characters, the puzzle becomes clearer. Having a history of the first Deemo title might help give a bit more context, but I don’t think it’s necessary for new players jumping straight into Deemo II.
The stunning visuals and gorgeous tracks make the handful of issues easy to overlook.
There are a few downsides with this trendy title, however. Progress in unlocking new graphics can be painfully slow, as can the amount of XP you get from completing the graphics you have. If you don’t buy the premium pass, you’ll spend a lot of time replaying the same graphics to advance the story. Sure, you can buy the premium pass to unlock more maps, but that costs $20, and I’m not sure I’m this still in this game.
I also ran into a few technical issues, like the game kicking me out for doing updates (even at the end of playing a chart before saving my progress) or faulty screens when entering in-game. Closing and reopening the app has always fixed these issues, but it’s still annoying. There is also a known bug at the moment with events not giving the correct amount of rewards upon completion. Rayark however is very proactive in responding to these reports and will continue to roll out more updates with necessary fixes.
Overall, Deemo II is a beautifully crafted rhythm adventure game. I cannot stress enough its visual beauty. The cutscenes are great, but even the backgrounds are absolutely gorgeous. It’s clear that a lot of love and dedication has gone into the art and design. Other than a few issues, which I’m sure will be fixed in time, there’s not much to complain about here.
Moreover, Deemo II is free and does not even contain ads. It is monetized through in-app purchases for things like cosmetics, event tickets, and additional music packs. If you like rhythm games and you haven’t tried Deemo II yet, you need jump on this train.
A worthy successor
Not rain on me.
From the creators of Deemo and Cytus comes the fantastic latest entry in rhythm gaming: Deemo II.
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