The Deer God

The Deer God is shaping up to be one of the most uniquely beautiful experiences any indie game has had to offer in quite some time.

By Artemis, Posted 18 Feb 2015

You were once a hunter, now you're the hunted. After mistakenly shooting a fawn you are killed by a pack of ravenous wolves only to be brought before a mystical deity offering you a second life: a life as the fawn that you killed for your own personal gain. This is The Deer God, an independent game from Crescent Moon Studios that was funded via Kickstarter last year. The game is about reincarnation, karma, the beauty of nature, the circle of life and various other spiritual subjects.

The pixel art graphics of the game are beautiful and paints the world in a very "realistic" light, despite the blocky nature of the pixel art. Things get dark when it's dark out, the fire lights up just enough area for you to see the danger ahead of you and the animals look like their real world counterparts. It's a world that you as the deer live in and it very much feels alive with every step that you take. The art correlates with the music giving you an almost otherworldly feel to it as if you're actually in this pixel world as this deer.

The Deer God,Crescent Moon Games,Indie,Games,Preview,Screenshots

The Deer God plays a lot like classic platformer games with very tight controls giving you a sense of control of everything your deer does.. There are no cheap deaths in this game; everything that happens to you is entirely your fault for not being perfectly on point with your skills. The deer itself controls like a deer. A deer with superpowers, but a deer none the less. The abilities in this game range from natural things like jumping, charging with your antlers and striking things with your hooves to the more extreme things like shooting fireballs.

This game is not easy ether and it takes a lot of patience in order to get through it fully. It's a rogue-like so that means that when your deer dies, it's game over. But that's not all: you can collect lives throughout the level or you can breed with female deer and harvest little fawns that if you protect them, you can become them if you die. The only issue with this is that the AI of the fawns sometimes isn’t the best because they get stuck in a hole from time to time, unable to jump out and you can only stare down helplessly as the fawn starves to death from not knowing how to jump out. Nonetheless, they are a sort of failsafe if you lose all of your lives by starving to death or being killed by the environmental hazards of the game.

The Deer God,Crescent Moon Games,Indie,Games,Preview,Screenshots

In this game, lots of things are out for your blood, like foxes, cougars, wolves, humans, alligators, rhinos, and even angry poltergeists, so being aware and knowing how to get away is essential. This game gives you the option to ether try to stay and fight or to run away, and at times it'll be the better option to flee and fight for another day rather than dying. You do have the option of "beating" the game by helping various people on your journey, gaining artifacts to put into the shrines and becoming a better deer.  In a way it helps repay the misdeeds the mystical deity saw in your past life. Speaking of misdeeds, in this game, if you decide to kill helpless little bunnies or cows, any animal that doesn't openly attack you, you will get negative points. If you get too many of those points to the point that they outweigh your good points, when you die, you'll be reincarnated as a less useful animal as punishment, and are forced to live the rest of your days in the virtual world as that animal. This game takes your evil deeds very seriously, so it's best not to anger the floating deer head that controls your entire future.

There are also various boss battles in the game, all of them are optional in order to give you some fun items that you can use to help make this game easier. With every boss slain there is a sense of accomplishment, that you just conquered something impossible. Each fight requires the deer to use everything to his advantage including the world around him, so if you aren't paying attention the deer could fall to his doom on spikes that were supposed to be meant for the boss.

It mixes the right amount of actually feeling like you're a deer with the fact that you are in a video game and crazy things tend to happen. You start off as a fawn and grow progressively larger each passing moment, living your life out as a young buck, getting stronger every day. It's extremely satisfying to watch your young buck grow to his fully adult form, having young fawns of his own, conquering daunting tasks like defeating a giant bear. The game has a real sense of progression that makes you as the player feel as if your deer is growing with you and you with him. Throughout the days when your deer forages for food or defends his sons from ghosts, you'll feel as if it is you doing the same thing. That’s the sort of feelings you'll get from playing The Deer God, you'll become completely and utterly immersed in the world around you if you allow it. It's the kind of game where it's more about the journey you have rather than everything else.

The Deer God,Crescent Moon Games,Indie,Games,Preview,Screenshots

The Deer God is by far one of the most difficult games to describe because, while it is a platformer/adventure/rogue-like game, it is so much more than that. It's a journey the player takes with this man turned into a deer and there's just something magical about that. For a game that's just in early access beta, The Deer God is shaping up to be one of the most uniquely beautiful experiences any indie game has had to offer in quite some time.

Angelina Bonilla, NoobFeed (@Twitter)

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General Information

Platform(s): Xbox One, PC, Mobile
Publisher(s): N/A
Developer(s): Crescent Moon Games, Cinopt Studios
Genres: 2D Platformer
Themes: Open World
Release Date: 2015-02-27

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