Now to let you all know up front, this game is in Early Access, and as of this date, I am still unsure if it has an ending... Other than that it is a very fun platformer game, but it is far from perfect. I played the Android version, which seems to be an earlier access than the Steam version, which seems a little more complex and completed. So this review is based on the Android version of the game, the title screen says Beta Demo Version 0.1
To start off I have to give huge kudos to the atmosphere of the game. The screenshot below does not incorporate the beauty seen in some areas of the map, such as the desert. It was rendered very well, and the environment was breathtaking for a pixelated game. The 3D environment fits in well with the 2D controls, in my opinion. There is a desert, a forest (complete with forest fire) a snowy forest, mountains, a swamp, etc. And it appears that each time you play, you pass through each one differently. One time you may have passed the forest first, another time you may have run into the desert first.
The Deer God plays a lot like Terraria or Minecraft, in which your main goal is survival. You have a health bar (which replenishes over time), a stamina bar (which decreases over time and you have to find food to make sure you don't starve) and a magic bar (because this game might have had a message before this point. Now it's gone). You also get skills, items, and powers. Oh my.
You start off as a hunter, and you find a deer to shoot. You shoot it, get struck by lightening, and get told that because of your crimes against deers, you will become one in order to find learn how they live and become empathetic of their plight. It is supposed to be a game which shows you the plight of deers and what they have to go through. The game itself says this game will "challenge your religion," and in my opinion it kinda fails on that front too. That message of the plight of deer goes right out the window in less that 60 seconds when you are taught the Double Jump. And then gets stepped on later on once you get rewarded with good karma if you kill other animals and even hunters.
The controls for the Android can be confusing and frustrating at times. There is no attack button, or if there is, I cannot find one. It seems like the most you can do in this game is jump and run. Later on in the game, if you solve a puzzle, you can possibly get certain abilities to scare off or attack enemies, such as a fireball spell. Until then it seems that the only way for you to survive is by running away. I have seen let's play's of this game, however, and it does seem that they have incorporated an attack feature in a different port of the game.
There is an aging system to this game. I think it ages you over time, but I am not sure. The antler symbol on the top left corner signified when you will grow next. Developing does seem to make you faster, if nothing else. At later stages of development (when you are not a baby) you can have sex with does and give birth to little annoying deer babies, which cause you to receive bad karma when they fall into spikes or get mauled by a bear. The amount of enemies is wonderful as well, very diverse. From hunters to large competitive deer, foxes, bats, eagles, skunks, wolves, and porcupines, among others. This game really wants you dead. It also has thorns, fire, and one-kit KO spikes.
There are no instructions, I have seen some in let's plays of this game, but on a different version, a more updated version. But for this version, it does not tell you about controls, or what to do, or where to go, or anything. That is sometimes OK in some games, but in this games you have to die to survive. And speaking of dying, this game has permadeath. You do get a specific amount of lives, how many? I have no clue, they don't show you. You can also obtain items that will revive you in your current stage of development then you die, but they are rare. Sometimes you get revived as a fawn, other times you die entirely. And since you cannot save in this game, dying means you are send back to the beginning of the entire game.
Some parts of the scenery seems like they should have more meaning, but they don't. Like in the screenshot, these statues look like they should show text or something, but they don't. And there are a lot of these to be seen. You also run into puzzles that you have to solve to get certain skills or powers, but sometimes they are in random locations, and you might pass right over one. Especially often because your stamina bar depletes quickly, so you usually don't feel like you have a lot of time to explore other surroundings.
This game was obtained from a Humble Bundle and reviewed on my Kindle Fire HD 6 (Android Device)