A 2.5D platformer set in a mysterious forest, The Deer God sees you playing as the titular majestic mammal - among other animals - which you have been reincarnated as after getting mauled by wolves on a hunting trip. Despite the interesting setting and background, however, developer Cinopt Games' first foray onto console is an unchallenging, repetitive, and dull affair - even though its aesthetic is wonderful.
At first glance, The Deer God is a stunning game. The 2.5D voxel art style is beautiful to look at, and with scenery on both the foreground and background of the game, there are some truly beautiful vistas to behold - especially around sunset. The music is tranquil and atmospheric, corresponding to the time of day.
However, that's the end of the redeeming aspects of this game, as the gameplay is dull and lacks substance or charisma. The main element of The Deer God, platforming, isn't challenging at all, as it consists of running and occasionally jumping over frequent low obstacles. There isn't any variety in speed or height, just the same predictable spike pits and hills that force you to mash the X button over and over.
The addition of combat against other animals tries to add a sense of danger, but it fails due to its repetition and how easy it is to evade it. You could press the square button over and over to use your sole charging attack on your adversaries, but it often devolves into a battle of attrition that feels neither fun nor rewarding. Thankfully, simply jumping over your enemies is an easy enough way to evade them, but once again it takes all elements of danger out of the game. There is a punishment for attacking too many non-aggressive creatures, but it seldom happens.
There's also a survival aspect to The Deer God, but it's once again much too simple and easy to deal with to cause any stress or serve any purpose. You have a hunger bar which you can fill by eating berries from bushes or grabbing apples from trees - and that's it. That leaves the quest system, in which you talk to various non-playable characters dotted around your world and fetch items for them that spawn randomly for a paltry reward. Once again, that's it - The Deer God doesn't really have a story or a main line of quests to partake in, just a series of boring fetch quests that aren't worth the reward.
As an experience or a walking - or, rather, trotting - simulator, the game does a serviceable job thanks to its lovely visuals and music. Other than that, though, The Deer God fails to be engaging or challenging, as all of its mechanics are too easily dismissed or beaten. Thanks to the abundance of resurrection items, even dying isn't a punishment - the real punishment, it seems, is not being able to break from the never ending circle of fetch quests.
The Deer God may be a beautiful game, but behind its majestic facade lies a dull platformer that fails to challenge. All of the your adversaries are easily bypassed, and the lack of engaging stories or missions leaves this game as one of the worst things to come out of the forest since stinging nettles.