The Deer God (PlayStation 4) Review

By Thom Compton 24.04.2017

Review for The Deer God on PlayStation 4

It's always nice to see games getting ported and getting a second chance. Games that might have snuck under the radar on one system get a healthy dose of advertising when they suddenly arrive on another system. It also ensures more gamers are able to take a crack at them as time goes on, and for many designers, that's the most important thing. The Deer God finds itself ported to the PlayStation 4, ready for even more people to dive into its depths.

The Deer God tells the story of a slain hunter, reincarnated by a deer god into the very animal he hunted for fun - or for food… The game doesn't really explain that. The hunter is simply forced to become the very creature he has mercilessly killed for years. There's not a lot as far as story, but that's the basic principle of the tale.

The Deer God functions as a survival platformer, which is an interesting idea in and of itself. Players will cross treacherous terrain, all while maintaining health, stamina, and making sure they don't starve. That starvation part is incredibly frustrating, as each type of terrain seems to have different food for the deer to ingest. That's perfectly fine, but it's not always obvious what that food is. Because the game appears to use a procedurally generated terrain, it's also easy to just not find food for extended periods of time. Players may find themselves starving with nothing in sight to save them.

As progress is made, other animals will be fought against. You can assault other friendly animals, if you want to receive negative karma. Otherwise, stick to wailing on baddies. Powers will be unlocked as you go through the game and complete some puzzles. Everything functions okay, though it seems that death comes a bit too easy at times. Every so often, you'll stumble across someone in need of assistance, but most of the game is spent exploring and moving towards the inevitable end.

Screenshot for The Deer God on PlayStation 4

Now, The Deer God definitely excels at one thing, and that is that it's one of the best looking pixel art games of the indie age. Using a multi-layered design, this 2D game instantly looks 3D. While characters aren't much to go on about, aside from the titular Deer God, the world is stunning and gripping. Everything feels real, at least in this context.

It's a shame, then, that The Deer God can't manage to feel really enticing. Instead, it just feels aimless. There are points that are important to the story, but so much of the game just feels like wandering into an inevitable sunset. While there a brilliant ideas here, they never really amount to much.

For instance, early on, double jumping is unlocked, a standard for the platforming genre. When you reach the desert, you will often find that jumps need to be performed with incredible precision. This makes for some exciting progression, until it is realised that the foreground can actually block you from seeing your jump. Perhaps it's the price to pay for procedural generation, but it's very annoying. The ever-changing terrain just doesn't work here, almost always ranging wildly from humdrum boring to just plain unfair.

This goes for other facets of the game, as missions tend to be somewhat mindless, while combat has a tendency to be really difficult. This isn't to say it's just hard, but that it's hard in the way where it's no longer fun.

Screenshot for The Deer God on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

The Deer God gets points for trying to mix things up in two genres that are growing increasingly stale. It's a balancing act that the game manages to maintain, but much like the tightrope walker who never falls but is always flailing, the illusion is definitely broken. Perhaps if the formula was tweaked to make the experience a bit more fair and to have a lot more going on, The Deer God would be the game it clearly set out to be.

Developer

Crescent Moon

Publisher

Level 77 Pty Ltd

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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