Animals can play a significant role in video games, from the trusty, noble steed in Red Dead Redemption to your dog companion in Fallout. So it’s nice to see games which cast animals as the main character, which is something The Deer God accomplishes, as it puts you into the hooves of a young deer reincarnated from a hunter. You become the hunted.
The idea behind the game is that you tackle the harshness of nature as a deer, so there might be hunters chasing after you with guns or an aggressive snake trying to catch a tasty snack. It’s a beautifully scripted game and brings together those memories of a tranquil woodland. The backdrop no only looks stunning, but leaves a lot of intrigue, as you explore further into the level.
As you progress, new threats are introduced and you’ll find new powers throughout, which make tackling obstacles all that more easier. While the forest may look safe, you’ll soon be encountering wild fires and dangerous caves filled with creatures that will try to attack you. These powers also make tackling enemies easier, as you can dash into them to defeat them. Some of the more exaggerated moves such as fireballs seem a tad bit far fetched, but they helped to maintain the gameplay interesting.
Finding these power-ups is probably the hardest task though, as they’re scattered throughout the world randomly and sometimes you might not even find them for an eternity. I spent about an hour on the title on my first play through and only found one ability, so that just shows you how hard it can be to locate them.
The survival element comes in the form of a days survived counter, as you progress through the world the days go by and you’ll find things get tougher as they go on longer. You’ll also need to keep your eyes peeled for berry bushes so you can replenish your health if it gets low, although you don’t need to keep eating in order to live, so that’s one bonus I suppose.
What’s eye-catching about The Deer God is its 2D pixel art style set in a 3D world. You’ll notice different layers of back drops in the background, which help to create this 3D effect and it’s something I’ve not seen much of on the Xbox One. So seeing something unique is always a good thing.
Although after a while, you’ll start to notice some repetition in the level design, such as the same obstacles being introduced – so you might find yourself jumping over pits you recognise from before. For games like his there really needs to be some variation in the gameplay, particularly in the obstacles which challenge you. A new style of pit jump or a completely brand new obstacle such as a river with floating logs.
While you’re admiring the beauty of the pixelated world, there are also quests to complete, which mostly revolve around collecting a particular item or finding someone. Once again, after all some time it feels all very tedious, which is a huge shame as the game had potential.
Crescent Moon Games have done a magnificent job on The Deer God and I really like the idea of playing as a hunter reincarnated as a deer to pay for his mistakes. The whole idea of survival is also an interesting one and I’m sure lots of you will have a blast playing this one.
- A beautiful game visually
- Well-crafted storyline
- Repetitive obstacles to overcome
- New abilities are sometimes hard to locate