The Deer God is a beautiful 3D Pixel Art platformer from Crescent Moon Games that tells the story of a hunter who is being punished for his sins in a wonderful tale of karma and reincarnation. The game previously released on Steam earlier this year to mixed reviews.
The story starts with the hunter, shooting a deer before being attacked by a Wolf. When he dies, he is met by a Deer Elder and told he must atone for his sins before being reincarnated in Deer form. It’s then up to the player to decide how they meet their fate, by choosing to be evil or good.
The Deer God: Xbox One [Reviewed], PC
Developer: Crescent Moon Games
Publisher: Crescent Moon Games
Release Date: 1 September 2015
Price: $14.99 or free with Games with Gold [Disclosure: Game copy supplied by Publisher]
Slaughtering friendly animals will result in the player earning “bad karma” which fills up your evil karma bar and will eventually turn you bright red. Choosing this path will have consequences, if you die you will be reincarnated in the form of an innocent animal you killed, so you are pretty much helpless against predators yourself and will more than likely meet a swift demise before reincarnating as a Deer to continue your endless torment. I’m pretty sure it is endless. Dying just resets you or reincarnates you, this is good thing with the vast array of predators and obstacles that will try to prevent you meeting the end of your journey and the salvation you seek.
The story sees you travelling the seemingly endless world and helping the various people you meet along the way with tasks ranging from killing skunks to finding an old man’s monocle. The game was confusing at first as you run in a loop passing the same scenery repeatedly, this can make it feel like you aren’t really progressing anywhere and can feel confusing. It’s only when you pass the same people over and over that you realise you aren’t going anywhere until you’ve completed a task for them and even then you’ll be passing the quite stunning but repetitive landscapes.
As time passes you will grow up and become more agile, successful reaching higher jumps and becoming more powerful against enemies. The days you survive will also increase, although this doesn’t really mean anything other than being a statistic. You will also need to keep your food up to survive, as soon as that runs out, you’ll gradually start to lose health and die. Lives are also available to collect, so you don’t lose your progression in terms of growth when you die.
The platforming elements of the game aren’t too taxing, a lot of platformers are tricky and can get quite frustrating, I found The Deer God to be the opposite of this, instead it was a relaxing experience of just jumping through the breathtaking backdrop while either fighting or avoiding enemies to get to my next task. Jumping and fighting was also made a lot easier by finding items in containers, chests and bushes. Things that upped your attack, regenerated health, spawned bees and falcons to aid you and made you glide after each jump all helped on my journey. Although there really is no explanation of the things you should be doing, and the game definitely doesn’t hold your hand at any point.
Even as a deer, you can unlock an impressive array of powers by solving puzzles near deer statues placed around the environment, they definitely weren’t overly taxing but a couple did have me thinking and trying different things. There are also mini bosses hidden in caves, that are quite tough to beat without the help of the items that increased attack and regenerated your health. Attacking will use up your stamina bar so you’ll have to be careful and dodge enemies while waiting for it to regenerate but most enemies are avoidable and as they are numerous and randomly placed, sometimes your best bet is to run and jump leaving them to follow you onto spikes while attempting to jump after you.
Overall, The Deer God is a relaxing, fun platformer set in a beautiful pixel art backdrop. It’s nice to see a platformer portray such a deep, meaningful story and the game was very relaxing to play, although the lack of direction can leave players confused and just running endlessly. As the game is free this month, I definitely recommend you take a look at it even if platformers aren’t your thing.