Thanks to Mobot Studios for the review code
Title: The Deer God
System: Wii U (eShop)
Release date: 04/28/2016
The main game/story
In this strange mix of a platformer and a RPG, you take control of a reborn human, placed in the body of a deer and forced to survive in the wild as revenge for killing a deer for hunting purposes. With a focus on growth and surviving as long as possible, The Deer God ends up being one of the strangest concepts that I’ve seen in a game to date.
Once again we get another game with a pixel art style, and while normally they lead to a sharp looking game, for some reason The Deer God is not one of those. The sprites look fine, but the backgrounds tend to clash with the sprites, making it hard to see due to the generated nature of the game. What few menus are given are also rather confusing to navigate at first, but over time you’ll get the hang of things.
Music and Sound
Outside of the occasional voice sample or sound effect, don’t expect to hear much of anything in this game at all. What’s here does sound clear and easy to hear, but with not much of it, due to the apparent focus for a mystic ambient tone, it ends up feeling eerie… Which actually ends up working in the game’s favor.
As mentioned above, the main point of the game is to grow stronger by defeating enemies, solving puzzles and gaining new abilities, which sounds like your typical metroidvania affair, except The Deer God is not. Due to the generated nature of the game, it becomes very easy to encounter nothing but the same sort of puzzles in a row or to just simply run around, hoping for something interesting to happen. As you move around in this strange world, your character can get hungry as his meter depletes, which requires having to refill it with a fruit or something else to keep it from running out, but thankfully said items are frequent so you’ll get the hang of refilling every once in a while.
Unfortunately, the game is not without its fair share of annoying problems with the performance. Multiple times during my playtime with the game, I noticed choppy framerates, occasional stuttering and the odd glitch, such as one time where I thought I found a secret area, only to have it literally drop me in an endless void where I had to reset the area to progress. This combined with the slow nature of the game ended up causing me to lose interest in the game much faster than I hoped.
In conclusion, The Deer God is a bit of a dull mess. From an interesting concept comes gameplay that’s either been done before and ends up just dull overall. While some may be willing to stick to the game and grow stronger over time, the occasional technical issues made me lose interest rather quickly. From what some folks on the Miiverse claim, the Xbox One version runs better, but I do not have one of those systems so I can’t verify their claims. Still, if you have both a Wii U and a Xbox One and you want to give the game a shot, it may be safer to grab the Xbox version, or just get the mobile version on the App Store. Whatever way you choose, there seem to be better alternatives and places for this game. I give The Deer God a 5 out of 10, and only recommend it to those who are willing to deal with the slow pace of the game, and to those who have no way of playing it on another system.