Early Access with The Deer God
by Marcus Estrada
[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t’s hard to know what to expect from a game called The Deer God. Sure, there are deer, but what’s it all about? Everything begins with some hunters out looking for deer. “You” discover a deer, but as you’re preparing to fire a wolf lunges. At the moment you’re taken down your gun discharges anyway and shoots a fawn seconds before dying. After a run-in with what seems to be the actual Deer God, you are reborn as a deer. The setup is strange, but the game keeps up its odd nature throughout.
Your goal is to survive and solve puzzles, although what that entails is not obvious at first. In fact, it took me around 5 playthroughs to even start coming to grips with what was going on. With The Deer God currently in Early Access it makes sense that integral features such as a tutorial are not included. Without one, you’re really in the dark. Some games excel at letting you teach yourself, but this game doesn’t feel structured like that. In fact, because there’s no instructions available it took me a terribly long time to realize I had items – and how to actually use them.
Eventually I began to get a hang of things and survive for more than 10 minutes. Your deer grows up, mates, and becomes faster and stronger along the way. However, it is mortal and requires food as well as staying out of danger as often as possible. While you skirt danger you’re also required to talk to certain characters and do tasks for them. In all there only seem to be six puzzles right now, but it could take you anywhere from 2 to 5 hours to complete them all. That’s going off of my pace, anyhow, as I took 3 hours.
With that said, some of these sections prove challenging not because of twisting logic but because of bugs. Such bugs include falling through a building’s floor to your doom or having an AI character simply not follow your lead. One puzzle in particular couldn’t be solved with an Xbox 360 gamepad because of how controls are assigned. Instead, you must swap to keyboard controls to complete it. On one occasion the game suddenly kicked me out without a save despite my deer having collected many extra lives. Again, this is Early Access so you’re going to have to bear with all this for now.
Despite the many issues currently present, The Deer God is incredibly easy to get wrapped up in. Part of this is because the “pure” nature of gameplay alongside gorgeous visuals. Pixel art is viewed as lazy a lot these days (despite being an incredibly tough art form!) but this game does unique things with it. For one, the pixel backgrounds actually are 3D and look pretty cool. Foreground and background planes intermix and create neat vistas. Every once in a while the foreground might block your view of tiny platforms or enemies, though.
It took me a while but I finally came around to the game after slowly uncovering its controls and concepts. Yes, glitches are definitely annoying, but most of my experience has been solid. Those with a tolerance for these things should pursue The Deer God. In its current state there’s already a lot to like. Most players, however, should wait at least a bit longer. Puzzle glitches are a bit too annoying considering you need to solve puzzles to progress. Keep an eye out on The Deer God because it is poised to become a very strong experience once it leaves Early Access.
Be sure to check out our extensive coverage of The Deer God.
[author image=”http://cliqist.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/marcus.jpg” ] Marcus is a fellow with a love for video games, horror, and Japanese food. When he’s not writing about games for a multitude of sites, he’s usually still playing one. One day when he became fed up with the way sites would ignore niche titles he decided to start his own site by the name of Pixel Pacas. Writing about video games is something he hopes to continue doing for many years to come. Some of Marcus’s favorite games include Silent Hill 2, Killer7, and The Sims. [/author]