Crescent Moon Games
Crescent Moon Games
A hunter meets an accident and is told by a deer God that he must build karma if he wants to become human again.
- Good art style
- Fluid running mechanics
- Flexibility with progression
- Procedural generated world can work against progression
- Goals are not always clear
In an industry that is filled with space marines, bald military types, and professional killers, stepping into the world of Deer God, by Crescent Moon Games, was incredibly refreshing.
Deer God starts off laying down the story hard as an omnipotent Deer God requires the player, a young fawn, to right the wrongs of the crimes against nature. But you are no ordinary fawn. Through some sort of soul transference, the player is actually a hunter who died in a accident while shooting an awe-inspiring stag and is reborn as a fawn. And only when you have gathered enough karma will the Deer God return you to your human body.
The gameplay will remind you of endless runners like Canablat, or other roguelikes where environments are procedural generated. However, the first thing you are likely to notice is the pixel art style graphics. The art style is very pleasing, with good use of color and beautiful detail in everything you come across in the environment. The foreground showcases some great lightning techniques and particle effects, and there is a nice collection of critters to encounter, help, fight, and defeat.
Galloping around as a four legged fawn feels different then controlling a humanoid runner. The game will have you monitoring a hunger meter as well as health bar. Food is dropped all around the stage for you to keep that bar full, but lurking predators, hunters, and other animals will seek to deplete your health bar. They are pretty standard mechanics and function as they should.
There are other abilities to acquire, most of which you will get from solving basic environmental puzzles, or just found about in the world. What starts as a game with just a single button tackle, ends up being a mad dash of accumulating powers such as fireballs, planting bouncy mushrooms, and lightning bolts.
As you keep your furry avatar alive, the fawn will begin to grow into an adult, increasing its speed and strength. This is where the roguelike features come in, because once you die, you will lose the growth of your deer when you respawn. In the Normal difficulty mode, you will find yourself respawning as a newborn fawn at checkpoints, whereas in the Hardcore mode all you will find is perma-death. In true roguelike fashion.
Deer God does have boss battles as well to use your newfound powers on. Most of these bosses seem to be found randomly in the world, so you may not run into the same ones at the same times through different play throughs. Fighting the bosses showcases some of the more tactical moments in the game, whereas fighting regular enemies felt shallow.
The biggest enemy of Deer God is repetition. Sure, this genre calls for a certain amount of it, but after a few bosses, a few puzzles, and a few deaths, I found that the fun had diminishing returns. The procedural generated moments could cause some confusion or stress as well. If you have certain goals or ideas in mind, the progress may become hindered due to the procedural environment not quite working with you or giving you what you need.
As you defeat enemies, your karma bar will increase. The goal of Deer God is to get that bar completely full. You have to be careful of what you are doing as you can accumulate bad karma as well. Bad karma has many functions from unlocking different abilities, to punishing you for killing innocent animals. Acts such as furry genocide may have you returning to the world as a rabbit or another small animal that you will find useless in combat. You will need to do something special in game to revert yourself back into a fawn, so all is not lost.
There is a multiplayer mode in Deer God as well, where two players can work together to solves puzzles. The idea is to just survive as long as possible. There are no quests, and if one of you dies, the other one has to mate with another deer to create a fawn. If both player’s deer die, the game comes to an end. It was fun enough for a short while, but with nothing guiding you or no real goals, I found multiplayer to be a one and done experience. The woes of repetition unfortunately follow into this mode as well.
Deer God is a pretty and inoffensive runner, but it also feels a lot like many mobile games I have played. If you need a calming title to play on the Nintendo Switch, Deer God‘s identity shines through with its focus on nature and playing as a fawn.