Deo

Deo is a 3D platformer for the PC that is, for me, reminiscent of games from yesteryear. When I turned on the game, I was reminded of the Playstation 2 days with its soft, bright graphics and even softer music as a backdrop for whatever new 3D world I was about to be roaming around in. This one definitely feels like it took some cues from Spyro the Dragon in graphics and then looked at, well, just about any platformer from that era on collection quests. We were really excited to collect all sorts of shit in those days, weren’t we?

The mushrooms laugh at you when they kill you, which happens often.

The mushrooms laugh at you when they kill you, which happens often.

The story for this game is that a dragon stole your crown and you must get it back. That’s about as good a reason as any for me! I’ve played a bunch of games that had even less going for them. Perhaps it’s nostalgia for a gaming era gone by, but I had hope for this game when I read up on it. Unfortunately, right from the initial boot-up, things went downhill quickly.

Some of the features that are advertised for this game include:

  • Full controller support.
  • Unique input model.
  • The rich set of actions and game mechanics make Deo a truly challenging game for even the most experienced gamers.
  • Featuring a cutting edge “smart” camera system for seamless, dynamical game experience.

The first three can be lumped together, so let’s talk about them first, shall we?

Full controller support. That’s great! No one wants to run around in a 3D platformer that requires quick reflexes with a keyboard if they can help it. Don’t get too excited too quickly, though, because the controller is a huge burden on the menu screens. The smallest movement on the analog stick sends your cursor flying, requiring you to switch to your keyboard when you want to do anything such as go to the options screen or load up a previously started game. It’s so awkward!

In-game movement is not much better, as the smallest nudge on the analog stick registers as applying full force. No! No no no no no. Even Super Mario 64 back in 1996 got this right. Hell, I got this right in my Intro to C# game I made last autumn. When someone asked about movement on Desura’s page for the game, the developers kept insisting it has eight-directional movement, something completely different.

I alt-tab a lot during games to either check emails, post classy things on Twitter, or be distracted by cats on Reddit. Imagine my surprise, then, when I alt-tabbed and came back to the game a moment later to discover that it had completely lost the ability to recognize controllers. This is absolutely unacceptable.

Another promoted feature states the game has “rich actions and game mechanics”. Okay, well, there’s run, jump, glide, and shoot. To their credit, this is over three times the number of actions in Star Runner that I played a while back.

One of the first things you’ll experience when you load up the world is that your weapon is awkward but effective. It’s short-ranged, spreads fireball of sorts, and allows you to hit enemies in an arc which is useful since the controls aren’t all that hot. You can also charge up your fireball, which turns it into a powerful, fireball that shoots straight ahead. However, being that you can’t aim it worth shit, there’s no point in charging it up.

Suggestive feature in the distance.

Suggestive feature in the distance.

In order to progress through the game, you need to gather musical notes in each world’s stages. Hidden in various places, they typically lay encased in large, crystalline monoliths that look like something from bad-dragon.com (not that that’s a bad thing). To reach to the note, you need to touch the dildomonolith to make it dissipate. Don’t stand too close to the object when it’s finished dissipating for it explodes and will kill you. ಠ_ಠ

Another “mechanic” is gathering gems throughout the maps which don’t actually seem to do anything. Coins in Mario games add up to give you extra lives, and rings in Sonic games allow you to be hit without dying, but these gems seem to be there for nothing more than to serve as things to gather that make blips when you pick them up. There are two types of chests that hold crystals: silver ones that are destroyed with by fireball and gold ones that require a key to open but hold the exact same loot as silver chests. The game tries to encourage you to pick up keys, but there’s no point. All you need to do is find musical notes and advance.

The “smart camera” that the description boasts about? It means that you have to control it 95% of the time with the L and R buttons. You are the brains of a camera which, when left to its own devices, has no issue with trying to kill you. Sometimes you’re launched into the air, and where you land is vital to you not being hit by an enemy. What does the camera do? It locks itself under you, giving you no idea where you should try to land to avoid an untimely death. At other times you will turn a corner but the camera angles itself in such a way that it’s impossible for you to know an enemy is waiting to take you out until you’ve memorized its location after dying a few times.

You'll never kill those bats because they don't fly low enough to hit them.

You’ll never kill those bats because they don’t fly low enough to get hit.

The music isn’t atrocious though it, too, has a problem. On occasion, some sounds effects such as the one that plays when you blow up one of the many chests lying around cause the music to restart. Sometimes it restarts twice in the same second!

A lot of passion goes into making games, and I’ve no doubt the brothers who made this gave it their all. I hope these criticisms are taken to heart and consideration is given to improve the game. There’s potential to make it not that bad, but in its current form, it suffers heavily. Unfortunately, the devs seem to have abandoned the project as it is still on version 1.0 and has been out since May 2013.

I like to take my own screenshots when I can, but for Deo I had no choice but to use press kit pictures because none of my screenshots would turn out. If you’d like to see footage of the game and some of its problems, you may rewatch my stream here: Miko Plays “Deo”.

DeoDeo was developed by linman3D.

This game is $13 and I’m going to go find a copy of Spyro to play.

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2 Responses to Deo

  1. Joseph says:

    Spyro is one of those platformers that just works. It’s one of the few I go back to once in a while when I’m in the mood lol. Deo looks ok, be nice if it went to psn

  2. It’s a shame it’s so rough around the edges, judging from the video it looks like with another few months of polish the game could really shine! Not necessarily for me, but I could see kids loving this thing… but the controls need to be sorted well before that. Kinda brought me back to my Banjo-Kazooie days!

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