Oh my DEER God, where do I go?
It’s dark, but in the distance you see a buck. The chance is too perfect, so you get into position, line your sights up and take aim. Steady as you look down the scope, and at the right moment a wolf attacks as you pull the trigger. You awake by the voice of the Deer God, see you did not kill the buck, but a baby deer that ended up walking in front. The Deer God gives you a second chance at life but due to your horrible act, you are reincarnated as a baby deer and must live like one to prove your worth.
The opening scene of the Deer God sets the stage well, but the execution of what you need to do unfortunately halts any excitement and progress to the game. You start as a baby deer and as you complete quests and kill enemies you gain experience that eventually helps you grow into a mighty buck. The main issue is that there is no direction in the game so finding what you need to do is very frustrating.
In all honesty, I started the game over a few times to see if maybe I had missed something at the beginning that would help me find my way. It was not until I found a control bug that I realized that there is more I could have done in some areas. On the Switch, at least, you can control your deer either with the D-Pad or the left control stick. For platformers, I usually tend to go with the D-Pad as for me it feels tighter than control sticks. This ended up being a mistake as you do have access to go inside houses and other buildings in the game, and the way to do it is by pressing the down button, which is fine, however it does not work on the D-Pad. I just happened to accidentally hit the control stick next to a building and found that it will only work on that input. This is a pretty blaring issue as the first quest requires you to go inside a house.
Despite the lack of direction and control bugs, The Deer God does have some bright spots. The visuals have a beautiful pixel art style. Even though it is a 2-D platformer, it has three planes to it, so seeing the background and foreground mix as you race across the game world is stunning. The weather and lighting effects also add to the view. As you continue on to the right, you will see the sun come up and go down and the scenery changes as you traverse through the various areas.
The music and sound are also spot on based on the game world. It has a relaxing and zen vibe in most areas but pumps up the energy a bit when you enter a cave or area with more dangers. It mixes very well and I noticed myself just stopping in areas just to listen for a while.
The Deer God is a tough sell, its visuals and music can’t help make this game any less frustrating. If you have a lot of time and more importantly a lot of patience maybe this game is good for you, but as it stands, I would stay clear.