The Deer God from Blowfish Studios and Crescent Moon Games is one of the latest indie games to make the jump to the Nintendo Switch. It comes in at a budget price of $7.99, which is appropriate for a game that originally launched in 2015 at an already low price. It is good that it is a cheap game to acquire, too, because that is one of the only ways you will feel you get your money’s worth out of this game. Even clocking in at around three to four hours for a playthrough you will find that the game gets repetitive long before you are done playing it.
The main selling point of The Deer God, besides its low cost of entry, is the lovely pixel art on display here. During your short journey you will cross many different types of terrain, and whether it is the stark browns of the desert or the rich greens of the forest, all of it looks great. There is an excellent attention to detail in the artwork, which helps drive you forward to see new things. Sadly, even here things get repetitive. The graphics never look bad, but you will realize quickly that most of the assets are being reused over and over again. So even though it looks beautiful when the sun rays shine through the trees as day turns to night, before the game is done you will have already grown tired of it and be on the look for something new.
The gameplay here is, unfortunately, the biggest area where this game fails to live up to expectations. I would say 95% of this game can be completed simply by running forward and jumping over and on obstacles. There are a few — far too few — boss fights in the game, which do break up the repetitive gameplay. You will have to use the small array of special skills you have accumulated to beat these bosses, and they offer something different. These are also not easy fights, which is a nice change from the rest of the game’s “run to the right and jump over things” adventure. Adding in some more bosses, or even turning early bosses into mini-bosses later in the game, would have gone a long way to improving this game.
The Deer God does have a narrative to it, but it is one of those stories where you already buy into its message, or you do not and nothing here will change that. You were a hunter who has died and been reincarnated as a deer so you could understand the suffering of the animals you have hunted. Apparently, that suffering is to run to the right a lot, because little else in this game seems like it would be part of a deer’s day-to-day life. Are there humans living out in the woods who make it a habit of giving mini-quests to deer? According to this game, yes, quite a few.
The Deer God Review Final Thoughts:
Ultimately The Deer God offers a few hours of mindless, albeit pretty, platforming action. There is a solid base in place for this game, but it never does much with it. The occasional boss fight does spice up the game, but these are too far apart. I did not honestly expect that a game that only takes about three hours to complete could feel so repetitive and bland, but The Deer God manages it. For $7.99 you will get enough game time to justify the cost of entry, but you could put that towards better games with more satisfying gameplay loops. If Blowfish Studios wanted to take this game engine and expand it into a more feature-rich game that might be worth checking out, but as it stands now I cannot recommend The Deer God on the Nintendo Switch over other options that are available.