The Deer God, currently in early access status on Steam, started off as a humble Kickstarter project. I was initially drawn to the game’s fantastic pixel art on its Kickstarter site, and I continued to be pleased while playing an early alpha release of the game. Thankfully, the project moved forward at a rapid pace, and playing through the beta version was no less pleasant. This is a procedurally-generated 2D platformer/exploration game, and while there is no lack of these popping up around the Indie development scene, The Deer God feels rather unique in its delivery and message. Its own site describes it as “a game about survival, reincarnation, and karma,” and it does not fail to deliver on this description.
You start the game as a young buck, having learned that you were once a man, or more specifically, a hunter who has experienced the tables turned. You learn very quickly that life is beautiful, but also dangerous. The beautiful pixel scenery houses a wealth of aggressive animals, people, and terrain. You must always remain on the move, searching for food and safe haven. Death is easy to come by, but the chance to find a mate and procreate, and thus lengthen your life within the game by creating checkpoints, is slim. The final touch that ties the game together nicely is the combination of skillgates and puzzles. You will gain new skills by completing a series of increasingly difficult puzzles, and these skills will allow you to increase your chance of survival.
While this game does not encourage extended re-play, I was fascinated by everything it had to offer (I am also very impressed by how polished it is while in beta, as there are only a few minor bugs). I even hear that it’s coming to mobile, which seems like the optimal platform for The Deer God.
+ 1 video-games-as-art