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DEO Review

By , on August 23, 2011


DEO
Download on the AppStore
3 out of 5

PROS

  • Elegantly simple gameplay; touch to jump and land on rotating platforms.
  • Beautiful aesthetic design; engaging soundtrack makes it easy to enter a 'zen like' mode.
  • Lots of content to slowly uncover.

CONS

  • Lacking in variety; occasional twists keep things interesting, but not for long.

VERDICT

DEO is a beautiful and elegantly simple platformer for those who revel in stripped-down skill-based challenges, but lacking in substance for those after more than a pretty way to jump around asteroids.


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Indie games often get an unfair reputation of being able to 'get away' with providing less content, gameplay, diminished visuals or audio simply because they're not a major studio. This leads to fans and critics talking about the 'experience' as being worthwhile as opposed to every other basic feature of the game being worthwhile and as such the word has been tarnished as it's now synonymous with being a videogame hipster.What does this have to do with DEO by Strapped to a Meteor? Well, just about everything - from its dark and depressed aesthetic to the single-touch, single-mechanic gameplay it's a one-trick pony that provides only the most threadbare of reasons to pursue such a mundane task - 'DEO has to rebuild the universe'.And yet hours later it's easy to find yourself doing the exact same thing you were doing when you first loaded up the game because it balances its challenging twists on such a fine edge that you can't help but continue on.The gameplay is simply this: Get DEO from the starting location to the final 'red' platform while jumping to safety on green platforms on the way. This is immediately complicated by the platforms being relatively tiny and irregularly shaped surfaces on a small planetoid that rotates around the screen. You can only jump forward, holding down longer to jump higher and further, so each jump has to count if you want to survive.Small touches such as DEO slipping off surfaces once they reach a certain angle (or if you land too fast) prevents players from trying to simply cheese their way around by landing on a 'pixel', though skilled players will realize that 'corners' can be exploited to land safely and turn around corners with minimal fuss. Occasionally 'gimmick' levels appear (such as giant planetoids or 'dark' planetoids) to mix up the challenge, though more often than not you'll be performing the same task over and over ad nauseam.As you complete each set of three levels you'll unlock a new stage, eventually completing a planet and unlocking further complex challenges. It's an endless cycle that only provides replay value by challenging you to complete each set with the minimum of deaths, which is something best left to the hardcore fans.What DEO represents is a game for gamers obsessed with the mechanics of gameplay over variety, novelty or narrative. The beautiful art design and musical score serves to make the experience all the more pleasant, but the stripped-down and abstract gameplay won't be enough to hold the attention of most casual gamers forever.

Screenshots

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