Release Date: March 28, 2023
Anyone who has played Deemo, the rhythm music video game, will know how the animated movie Memorial Keys ends. This fact is not too detrimental as it fills in some narrative beats the original incarnation some gamers may feel didn’t get very deep on. Here, there’s more of a world that goes beyond what the game is about. The ideas SIGNAL.MD & Production I.G. presents lets us know that to experience everything music represents is also like therapy for the soul.
At first, I was just as curious as Sania and her friends about the new student with a mysterious past. They attend a music academy and for this girl whose talents outshines hers, trying to figure her out is tough.
When she eventually reveals her name as Alice, the wonderland we’re taken to is dreamlike and surreal. The backgrounds are highly detailed, and I was lost in her story. This castle where she finds herself in may have once been used as the set for Beauty and the Beast. That’s mostly because of the supporting characters which come alive. One is a stuffed cat, another a nutcracker come to live and the last is a tiny doll.
As a result, this fairyland welcomes her in and as she floats down from the castle’s aerie, Deemo catches her. This black orb headed figure is just as mysterious, and all we know is that he’s a very skilled pianist. What’s presented is quite the musical odyssey where he teaches the young girl the wonder of sound.
We hear classical style compositions and even jazz. I rather enjoyed this mix as it highlights all that’s wonderful from music which doesn’t necessarily begin with Mozart. To hear just the piano is because that’s what the video game is about. Players have to hit the keys in time to the balls that drop down, and to master this requires finger dexterity. On another level, knowing how time signatures work keeps those fingers moving fast and furious.
If anything, Deemo Memorial Keys is designed to put the music on the spotlight than present a straightforward tale. That’s mostly because it is designed to remind us why the video game is special. The final act puts together all the pieces of the mystery in a crazy melodramatic moment, and once when I realised what’s going on, I couldn’t help but feel for Alice.
And what I discovered had me shedding a tear. In what I learned is that music can heal the heart, and as for what this young girl must face, I’m glad she finally finds courage.
3½ Stars out of 5