I remember when the original Black & White came out. I was in high school at the time and spent many summers playing games like Starcraft and Civilization. Just as I thought I was growing interested in the genre, Peter Molyneux’s masterpiece came along and reinvigorated my love for the concept.
While Deisim doesn’t have giant apes or lions that you can raise to do your work on this planet, it does give you something Black & White never could: the actual feeling of being a powerful deity.
See, while Black & White (and similar games) tend to rely on gaining influence or lifting a specific person off the ground to do your bidding, Deisim gives you full power over your creativity right from the start. The game recently graduated from Meta App Lab – having the honor of being one of the Best Quest 2 Games (Opens in a new tab) For some time now – to the fullest Oculus Quest 2 (Opens in a new tab) a store.
Deisim starts out deceptively simplistic and doesn’t seem very deep at first. However, patience and time will reveal the many layers of complexity that have been added over the past few years since the game was in Early Access on Steam.
Deisim started on Steam years ago as a kind of Zen-like avatar game that lets you build a world and watch the population grow with it. Throughout its evolution, we’ve seen the addition of modern and futuristic eras, kingdoms, army battles, and even UFOs. It is a game that is best tried when you want to relax and enjoy the slow life. In a way, it is not the same as caring for bonsai.
The visuals aren’t designed to blow your mind – or even tax Quest 2 itself, really – but that’s okay because they’re charming in their own way. The globe is built with simple polygonal patterns and bright colours, with a clear color scheme for each biome.
In addition to the simple colors, each biome will also attract a certain type of civilization. The icy plains harbor the cultures of the North, while the cherry blossom forests have cultures of clear Japanese influence. Each culture also has its own musical style, so hang out at your favorite local spot as you watch your world develop.
picture 1 From 3
The controls are simple enough, and one main menu includes all the actions and miracles that you can perform in the game. Your stock of abilities grows as your world and its civilizations evolve, eventually culminating in an array of world tiles, miracles, plagues, and even the ability to spawn individual hero units like doctors or priests.
While I didn’t care about movement in Deisim at first, I quickly realized that pressing and holding the triggers on the console enabled me to push and pull the entire globe, similar to how you might imagine yourself standing on a globe and spinning to find the next place. If you prefer, you can use teleport or smooth motion instead.
Deisim allows you to engage with people or manage the entire world more effectively from a microscopic perspective. Again, pressing and holding the triggers – followed by a typical pinch-to-zoom motion with the controllers – will expand the world to your liking.
While some of this was just trial and error, I needed to go through – how will you know your preferences if you haven’t tried something? – I felt that some of these procedures could have been explained a little better.
I love that Deisim gives you the feeling that you are a powerful deity and yet keeps human control confined to his own automated means. It’s not SimCity – you don’t order buildings or areas to be built – and it’s not populist. Alternatively, Deisim is something in between the two and outside of those descriptors as well.
First, you are literally creating the world as you go, shaping the land using a set of simple tile-based tools that will drop them into any empty square. You can even lay the tiles in patches of six if you want a sprawling forest or a larger area of water. Be careful, though, that you can’t easily undo the work you’ve done.
As you expand your world, kingdoms appear in each biome and thrive – or die – as you see fit. Will one kingdom become unruly, heretics spawn and attack neighboring kingdoms while their rulers grow paranoid and angry? Rain fire from the sky or send plague locusts to teach them a lesson.
But, before you get to that point, you’ll need to inspire kingdoms to expand, replant forests that have been cut down and deplete their precious resources, costume mines carved into rocks, and even animals in a way that only a deity can.
The humans in Deisim, like real humans, are surprisingly complex. They can look simple on the outside – walking around and doing their daily errands and jobs – but they each have a different personality and culture that can influence those around them.
Once you reach the era of the kingdom, you will find that the residents of your realm may feel anxious and need to expand. Since this isn’t an RTS and you don’t command real humans, you’ll indirectly interact with them – although in addition to miracles and catastrophes, you can also capture individuals or their dwellings and smash the Hulk, if you so choose.
But Deisim is best experienced over long periods of time, pruning a little here, enriching a little there, and experiencing the wonders of artificial intelligence and the virtual world in a way that virtual reality can deliver. It is a divine game for the new age, not exhausting and full of highly complex stats and strategy.
$15 might be a bit high for most people depending on the pace of the game, but if you can get it on sale or just barely enjoy in a virtual world as you do in a park, Deisim is a unique gem that Quest 2 players should experience.