Diets & Deities Review – Rapturous Rhythms

Diets & Deities Review - Rapturous Rhythms

With funding from Screen Australia and Screen Territory, Northern Territory Larrakia country based developers Larrikin Interactive were able to self-publish their latest title Diets and Deities. A celebration of diverse cultures and their distinct foods, Diets and Deities is a narrative driven rhythm game that will whet player’s appetites by subverting the staples of the rhythm genre while incorporating a cooking theme. While across the globe culture is intrinsically linked to music and food, alas, Diets and Deities is too short an experience to fully savour.   

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The narrative weaved in Diets & Deities critiques aspects of colonialism, capitalism and its impact on first nations peoples; the land has been silenced and the Deities struggle to hear the songs they once heard clearly. The music from the land would tell the Deities how to cook their cuisine and celebrate the culture that created them. That was until KFZ came along. The Colonel’s food was so simple and fast that the people flocked to it. With the homogenisation of food, the deities’ powers began to dwindle. It was almost too late by the time they noticed that they were willingly heading towards their demise. The Deities hedged their bets on creating a new Deity, the first in a century, before separating a piece of the land and placing it outside of the reach of KFZ’s corrupting influence. In the safety of the Bazaar, the name for the separated land, the new Deity Nephele learns of the world’s issues and that she is the last hope to reclaim the cultures that could be lost forever. Using her innate ability to hear the songlines from the land, she decides to try and save the Deities that have been corrupted by KFZ’s fast food.   

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In a strange move, Diets and Deities doesn’t bother with the combos or precision that are normally pervasive in rhythm games. Rather, Larrikin Interactive have taken a different approach to give rhythmically challenged players a chance to enjoy the game, despite their two left feet, (or hands, in this case). Normal rhythm games require players to hit enough of the right notes to stay in the game, but Diets and Deities takes the opposite outlook. If players don’t hit the corruption on the field too often, they can complete the level. Missing ingredients, or hitting corruption lowers the score but it doesn’t stop the game meaning that players can continue the story regardless of skill. It’s a novel idea that removes the issue of balancing a game that is driven by narrative but has its combat entirely in the sphere of a rhythm game.  

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“But where’s the cooking element?” I hear you ask. Well, by collecting ingredients, Nephele creates a dish and serves it at the end of the song. The game helpfully provides a recipe for the dish that Nephele just cooked which allows players to try the cooking the dishes themselves. It’s an interesting idea and a way to try and share cultural knowledge, but it feels like the game has a limited focus on the food theming in gameplay terms. Earlier iterations of Diest & Deities had a prep, cook and serve bar where players had to hit enough ingredients to fill up each of the bars, but these were removed due to the mechanic causing confusion among test players. It’s a shame this aspect wasn’t able to be salvaged before a full release. A possible solution to that would be to split the song into three shorter sections and have each represent a separate part of the cooking process.


This reduction in gameplay elements leads me to the other problem I have with the game; it’s too short. I completed it in three to four hours after taking my time and a restart or two on the harder songs. People who read quickly will probably blitz through it a lot faster than I did and be left wanting more. I know I did and that’s because the game is genuinely fun. 

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Diets and Deities has not only made a compelling story with fun gameplay but managed to include underrepresented cultures that are ignored in the gaming sphere. It’s refreshing to see Australian Aboriginals, Brazilian, Chinese and Indonesian cultures present. The soundtrack expertly blends the instruments that each culture is well known for with compelling melodies. It really is a great way to learn and appreciate the things that make each culture unique. This is represented in the fictional characters such as Guan Ying, Barong and The Gamon Brothers. The Colonel seems to be based on Zeus, but if he were an American who liked their burgers a little too much. He also happens to be the only deity that is almost monochrome. It’s possible by using fictional characters and not naming where they’re from to avoid offending people, but it’s a little sad for people who may want to investigate the culture the characters are based on that more detail isn’t imparted to players who would like to learn more about each culture featured herein.

Overall Diets and Deities is a solid game that is trying something new. Whether it be a fresh approach to rhythm games failure mechanics or how to introduce underrepresented cultures into a fictional universe. As it is now, it is like a dish or song that is missing that little something to bring it to the next level but its still perfectly enjoyable as it is. At least, for a short time.  


Diets & Deities was reviews on a PC using code kindly supplied by the publisher. 

Diets Deities Review Box

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