January 16, 2019 at 12:48 AM #1282
The Deer God
Rating: 1.5 – Bad
One of the benefits of services like with the Games with Gold program and PlayStation Plus Instant Game Collection, is that it gives players opportunities to try out games that they may otherwise have never given the time of day. Sometimes this results in players discovering hidden gems that become their new favorites. Other times it results in experiences like The Deer God, where the best thing that can be said about it is "Well, at least it was free."
And so is the case with The Deer God, a really weird game that is, in simplest terms, about a deer running through the woods. It is a roguelike game, with procedurally generated levels, and a sense of permanent death. Players begin life as a young deer, and then grow into an adult deer, or at least attempt to, while exploring the environment and running away from enemies – or, less preferably, fighting them.
The game controls well enough, but the way that it throws players into things with very little explanation is a poor choice. This approach works for some games, but The Deer God seems like a typical platformer to most. Its gameplay mechanics then quickly break away from these expected conventions, and players will find themselves just running forever across the screen without much sense of progress being made.
This can become very frustrating, especially when one realizes how shallow The Deer God experience is. Players will just be running across the screen with seemingly no end in sight, dying, starting over with a new deer, and trying again. There’s virtually no sense of accomplishment in this game, and no real objective to chase. It’s just a boring jog across the game world.
The game world, at least, is quite good looking, which is why The Deer God does earn at least some points. The game combines 2D and 3D art to great effect, creating a blend of modern and retro graphical flavors. The music is also done well enough, so the developers definitely know how to create an interesting presentation, it’s just the gameplay that is flawed.
The Deer God is a very strange game indeed, and one that most people probably would never bother with if it wasn’t a free Games with Gold game. It functions properly, but the gameplay is not interesting or engaging, and is more frustrating than it is fun a lot of the time. As someone that came away very unimpressed with the game when it was free, it’s hard to recommend that anyone actually buy it, as they will likely be even more disappointed than I was.
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