The Deer God, as it currently stands in beta version 0.1, is a strangely compelling, mysterious game of survival. However, because of its secrecy (or rather, a lack of any tutorial) many players run to the Steam Community looking for answers. What are the controls for the game? What do these found objects represent? Although there’s something to be said for figuring out everything on your own it is also sensible that many players could use a tutorial as well. This guide was created to serve those players since no official tutorial currently exists. Read on if you’re looking for some basic information about how to play and survive!
First I’ll list the controls for both keyboard and Xbox 360 gamepad.
WASD / Arrow keys – Move left, right, and jump
Down arrow / “S” key – Talk to characters and eat food from bushes
Esc – Open game menu (resume, menu, quit)
Tab – Open item menu
In item menu: Press Space to select an item, then press Space again in another square to move item there.
1 – 6 – Open inventory row during gameplay
Shift – Use selected inventory item
Dash – Hold left or right then press Space
Razor Hoof – Jump, then press Space
Xbox 360 controller:
Left analog stick – Move left and right
Down on analog stick – Talk to characters and eat food from bushes
A button – Jump (press twice to double jump)
Start – Open game menu (resume, menu, quit)
Y button – Open item menu
In item menu: Press A to select an item, then press A again in another square to move item there.
Left and right bumper – Open inventory row during gameplay
B button – Use selected inventory item
Dash – Hold left or right then press X
Razor Hoof – Jump, then press B
There are many animals thriving in The Deer God. However, much of what you come across will be dangerous. Here is a list of all dangers to avoid while playing (with notes where applicable):
Bear, fire, fox, mountain lion, piranha, porcupine, skeleton, snake, snow wolf, warthog, wolf.
Alligator – Not dangerous if you jump on their back.
Bat – Flies overhead and dives down once to attack.
Crow – Flies overhead and dives down once to attack.
Ghost – White ghost just follows, while other ghost shoots orbs.
Hawk – Flies overhead and dives down once to attack.
Hunter – Hunters are not dangerous until they raise their rifles, at which point they shoot a single bullet.
Owl – Flies overhead and dives down once to attack.
Quicksand – Darker colored sand that your deer will sink in if you don’t jump continuously to get out.
Skunk – Releases a stink cloud when animals come near.
Spider – They shoot webs which do not hurt but immobilize your deer for a few seconds.
Spike – Landing on spikes results in instant death.
Stag – You can tell these apart from regular stags by their larger stature and darker coloration.
Although the GUI is very minimal, there are three bars to the upper left of the screen which may confuse new players. Here is what each represents and how to refill them:
Red Bar – Health – You’ll die when this empties. Health refills automatically with time or by eating food.
Green Bar – Hunger – This decreases with time and can only be refilled by eating food. If it runs out then your health bar starts slowly being eaten into.
Blue Bar – Magical stamina – This depletes when you use an ability. It also replenishes automatically.
Your goal in The Deer God is to solve six puzzles and tasks which will get you to the current “end state.” However, you begin as a fawn which makes survival very challenging. If you can survive multiple days then your deer will grow up, becoming faster and stronger in the process. This requires staying healthy and well fed for as long as possible while hopefully solving puzzles.
Another issue with survival is you only have one life to start with. Once you’ve aged beyond fawn you can actually mate with does (light brown deer). Stand by one until the heart fills completely and a baby will be born. Provided they survive, if you die you will be reborn as this baby. Unfortunately they are very prone to death with their current AI.
Try and keep an eye out for what looks like a deer head item. Collecting these grant you extra lives. Activate one as soon as you get it so that the next time you die you’ll be able to respawn immediately. They don’t work if you just keep them in your inventory! Of course, even if you’re stocked up and prepared an unfortunate bug may just ruin your run. That’s just how Early Access games work!
There are three types of puzzles you’ll run across. The first are ones which require you to move small stone blocks in various ways to appease a deer statue. These reward you with special new abilities which are not necessarily required to beat the game but can be a great help. The other two puzzle types involve helping either
Elder deer or humans, though both play out in a similar fashion. You hear their issue, solve it in some way, and then return to receive a gift. When you help an Elder they provide you a new skill. There are four skills in all and you will collect each on your way to finishing the game. Humans help too, but typically in ways which provide a relic. Relics are small square items that need to be brought to a deer “shrine” (a large stone monument with two deer and a vertical shape in between). Stand there for a few seconds with your relic and a light appears. Remember to pause here each time you’ve gotten a new relic to place it and proceed to the next puzzle.
The Deer God is the kind of game that rewards exploration, but sometimes you just want help to get started. Hopefully this guide proves useful to some of you new players out there! Feel free to comment if you have any questions.
Interested in picking up a copy of The Deer God for yourself? You can pick it up on Steam for a pretty reasonable price. If you’d like to learn more about The Deer God be sure to check out our previous coverage, including review of the Early Access, and a strategy guide