Thursday, August 18, 2011

DEO - 0.99 (Strapped To A Meteor)

DEO, by Strapped To A Meteor, is a new platformer available in the AppStore. Strapped To A Meteor’s last game, Go Go Giraffe, was an interesting addition to the iOS platformer genre as well, but this time it seems that they’ve taken Deo a couple steps further in terms of gameplay, graphics, and presentation. And we as gamers could not be more happy about it.

As soon as you start Deo up on your device, you’ll notice the awesome graphics. You’re thengreeted with a short tutorial, explaining how to navigate the level select menu, and how to play the game. Controls are simple, touch the screen to start charging your jump, let go to execute the jump. The goal of the game is to make it around the rotating level to the red piece of real-estate without touching any black part of the levels. While you’re making your way around the levels, charging your jumps and landing on the grassy parts, you need to kind of be quick and time your jumps just right because the gravity stays the same while the level is rotating, so you could potentially end up sliding off of the level, or jumping right into a part of the level that ends up blocking your path if you’re not quick enough. The level design here is a huge part of the game, and thankfully, STAM has definitely spent an extreme amount of time working on the levels, and getting the physics and rotation just right.
Between levels, or after you die, there’s a nifty little screen jump that sounds and looks kind of like static. This little addition helps set the mood of the game, along with the dark graphics and rain, really create a gloomy atmosphere. Coupled with some light music, it conveys sad and bittersweet feelings while playing the game. Playing Deo for long periods of time just gives you the same feeling you’d usually get staring out the window while it’s dark, cloudy, and muggy. I personally love this sort of atmosphere within games.
But even with all of these very nice graphics, and good tutorial, there are some issues that might hurt the gameplay. The amount of charge that you give your character isn’t always clear, making it pretty hard to know how far or high he’s going to jump. Also, closing the app, then re-opening it, it can be pretty confusing to find out where you left off, and you might just end up re-playing previously beaten levels. This complex level select screen might turn people off of playing as much as they normally would, along with the unknown charge amount, you’ll probably end up playing levels over and over again, even after you beat them. This is a pretty major downfall for the game, as everything else is just top notch, and looks awesome.
There’s also no online leader boards for fast times, and in fact, no scores for the game at all. You pretty much just play the game to experience it. I don’t really mind this, as Dirt is one of my favorite iOS games, and is also just a game that you play to experience. But for a lot of people, no scores, no times for the levels, no leader boards, and no achievements can be a very big turn off. It’s very hard for me to rate Deo 3.5 stars out of 5 because they got so much right, but neglected quite a bit as well. I do have very high hopes for this game’s future updates, and even higher hopes for Strapped To A Meteor’s next game, because the jump from Go Go Giraffe to Deo was a HUGE one.


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