DeerGodIndie

Indie Corner: The Deer God

Since a so-called ‘hunter’ shot down the lion Cecil, there’s a lot of talking going on about hunters worldwide. Deer God starts with a hunter shooting down a deer only to be killed by wolves seconds after his shot. After his death he faces the Deer God and gets one other chance at life. He gets reincarnated as a young deer and needs to learn the ways of the animal.

A second chance comes with consequences

This marks the start of the game that plays like a side-scrolling runner at first sight. You start the game as a young deer, searching for redemption of your brutal deeds as human. Just like in real life, it’s up to you how you want to act. Do you want to kill all other animals or do you let them live? If you go for the friendly approach, you’ll make allies faster, allies that are willing to fight for you but also die for you. There’s this constant struggle between good and evil going on in the Deer Hunter and it looks like every move has some consequences. It’s a great but confronting to have this amount of freedom.

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If you manage to meet another female deer for example, you can have a little deer together that functions as a respawn but is also very fragile. Keeping it safe isn’t easy and losing it to enemies or obstacles is cruel. Deer God wants you to rethink your actions before you act and it really delivers on that promise.

Days, nights, weeks, how long must I keep running

As said before, aside of this moral side, the game actually plays more like a 2D runner at first sight. You have this endless 2D landscape that features some gorgeous environments as green forests, icy mountains and deserts covered in fire. The goal of the game is to keep running from environment to environment but if you do this, you’ll miss out on some of the more important elements.

Just like games such as Journey, Deer God wants to deliver an experience rather than a normal game. Rushing from environment to environment isn’t the goal of the game, exploration on the other hand is. Every environment is filled with little hidden items to improve your skills or to give you special powers for a certain amount of time. These items can make your life as a deer a little easier and are important to find. This is a reward system the creators used for those who are willing to really discover the gorgeous world as a deer.

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You die, you start over

This brings us to a more unique mechanism used in the game. As said before, you start as a young deer but grow older the more days pass and the longer you survive. Surviving isn’t easy since you need to eat from time to time to keep your strength and you need to watch out for powerful enemies such as hunters. If this isn’t challenging enough, the environment is filled with dangerous obstacles as well. Surviving is crucial since it makes your deer stronger but what happens when you die?

If you die, you get reincarnated as another young deer, losing all your strength and powers you gathered before. You start as this young deer at the last checkpoint or at the last place where a younger deer was born. Guiding a young deer and keeping it close is challenging but rewarding if you don’t want to replay the level. It’s an interesting mechanism and it never gets frustrating thanks to the gorgeous graphics and ambient music.

Great atmosphere

The best thing about this Deer God is the way the game is created, using a pixelated art style and ambient music. It transforms every play session to a rather relaxing experience where exploration always remains more important than running as fast as you can. It isn’t on the same level as games such as Journey but it comes close. The presentation is what makes this game stand out from other games. It’s never a frustrating game if you’re open for the unique atmosphere

DeerGodVerdict
The good: The bad:
+ Unique story – Too difficult for some
+ Great visuals – Backtracking when you die
+ It makes you think about life

Deer God brings something new and fresh to the table and it’s a game that can be enjoyed by a wide audience. The unique, even religious, theme results in a rather unique gameplay mechanism that gives the gamers a true challenge. If you’re looking for a unique and relaxing game that plays a little like Journey, this is one to pick up from the digital market.

4 out of 5:

4sterren

 

Got interested in games since I could read. Started with Nintendo but evolved into an all-round gamer. I love all kind of games; triple A games to Indie. If the vibe is right, I'll enjoy playing it.