The Deer God (PS Vita) Review

By Josh Di Falco 18.02.2018

Review for The Deer God on PS Vita

With the huge abundance of indie-developed titles out in the wild, it can be hard to dig through the huge pile in order to find those with real worth and value. Fortunately, due to the nature of these titles, they do venture out into weird and wacky paths that may never normally be trodden down by a big game publisher. Crescent Moon's beautifully crafted The Deer God is a procedurally-generated, side-scrolling platformer that has a seemingly never-ending world. The entire game takes place on a singular stage that traverses through a series of different locations and backdrops, although it leaves a lot to be desired. After looking at the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 versions, Cubed3 hunts the PS Vita edition.

With the simplicity of the side-scrolling element, it allows for greater detail in The Deer God's other areas of the stage. The beautiful backdrops and the well-crafted pixel design of the characters and world are a terrific art style that features many awesome scenic shots. Unfortunately, this is the only real promising factor, as it tries to act as a commentary on why hunting animals is wrong. When a hunter is killed out in the wild, he is resurrected as a deer, as he must then avoid the hunters and other wild animals in order to survive.

While this is an interesting concept, the emotional story thread ends there. The story is never revisited until the very end, upon which the titular Deer God hopes that the character has learned his lesson. Unfortunately, the game itself doesn't employ many of these lessons, as the countless enemies are easy enough to get through quite quickly. Every fight can literally be avoided, and The Deer God can be approached as a Sonic the Hedgehog runner.

In order to atone for his sins, the playable deer has to collect six relics and bring them to the deer statue. Collecting these relics is as simple as completing the various quests that the deer finds along his travels. Due to the quirkiness of this endless platforming, it means that the same areas will be revisited again and again, especially if there is a specific quest that is kept at that location, in which case the deer can be locked in an endless cycle until that quest is completed before the game adds new locations into the mix.

Screenshot for The Deer God on PS Vita

Although this procedurally-generated approach means the game theoretically should be a different experience each time, in reality it really isn't. There are other deer on the journey at key moments, who grant new abilities upon completing their tasks. Again, not completing these tasks means that these deer will continuously pop up on the stage until their task is completed. Unfortunately, while trying to be helpful, this approach means that The Deer God is extremely repetitive.

Boss fights are hidden in secret doors and underground caverns, but they are otherwise pretty boring and easy encounters. Making good use of the power-ups found throughout can bring any boss down to their knees in three to four hits. If the aim was to make this a breeze for casual enjoyment, then give The Deer God a massive tick. Unfortunately, there is really no other reason to play this due to the lack of an engaging story, and a pointless quest that doesn't effectively challenge the morality of hunting animals, which seems to be the hook that the developer was going for.

Dying as the deer then causes regeneration into a fox at times, although this is when dying again to be a doe is the preferred option. Having a lack of abilities and a lack of height in the jumps begs the question as to why playing as this fox is even included. The worst moments come when the fox gets stuck in a pit and he literally cannot jump his way out, nor can he kill himself due to the lack of enemies or a pitfall to jump down. Again, resurrecting as other animals sounds interesting, but it doesn't exactly help out the narrative, nor does the game even allow for the effectiveness of playing as these animals.

Screenshot for The Deer God on PS Vita

Cubed3 Rating

4/10
Rated 4 out of 10

Subpar

Having an interesting premise and a wacky idea can sometimes lead to a successful gaming achievement, but unfortunately The Deer God fails to put the emotional care into what should have been a really moving and powerful story. Illustrating the concept of how wrong hunting animals are, and then turning the main character into a hunted deer in order to teach him right or wrong doesn't work that well when the entire quest focuses on helping two people get to a church, or hunting skunks for the evil witch in the woods. The art style is beautiful and it makes for some nice shots of the locations, but other than that, there is really no need to delve into this endless-platformer.

Developer

Crescent Moon

Publisher

Crescent Moon

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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