Dear God! It’s The Deer God, A 2D Platformer About Karma

Here’s what I know about The Deer God: it’s a platformer made in Unity in which you play as a hunter who has been turned into a deer. It’s 3D but mimicking pixel art, which gives it a neat, voxel-y style. It has co-op. The music is pretty. It has a Kickstarter project, which is almost halfway towards its goal with 20 days to go.

Here is what the Kickstarter page says about The Deer God: it will “challenge your religion and your platforming skills.” It is inspired by “being outside in the woods, building forts, seeing deer standing motionless in the forest and chasing after them.” It is, writes the creator, “dedicated to a small cardinal, whom I ran over recently. I feel bad about it – so I’ve decided to give him a second life within this game.”

The Kickstarter video is embedded below.

I can’t tell how flippant some of the description on the Kickstarter project is, but the bit about the small cardinal is connected at least to the game’s mechanics based on karma and reincarnation.

Karma in the game is very important. How you behave will completely affect the type of animal you are. You might focus on getting dark karma skills – these are destructive powers that you can unleash on the world and its denizens. The Deer God doesn’t approve with of this type of modus operandi, FYI. You might be reincarnated as a plant and eaten by a bunny in your next round!

Reincarnation is when you die – and usually when you die, you become a baby deer again. If you have been doing too many naughty things, there is a chance that you will be reincarnated as something random, and that something could be eaten by something else. After that, unfortunately, you might have to start over from the beginning!

It sounds like there won’t be a finite goal in the game, but rather that your challenge is to survive for as long as possible. There are objectives within that – to become an elder deer, to reach karmic balance – but it sounds like it won’t end with a fight against an enormous Deernietzsche. Mores the shame.

Also, given the themes, is the creepy moment when the deer breeds while locking eyes with the player a checkpoint? Does making Bambi decrease the likelihood of being reborn as a plant?

In any case, the game looks pretty and I like pretty things, don’t you? Screenshots, art, details of other features can be found through at the Deer God Kickstarter page.

17 Comments

Top comments

  1. int says:

    I'd like to see a Visit Will Graham's Dreams DLC.
  1. int says:

    I’d like to see a Visit Will Graham’s Dreams DLC.

  2. spiche says:

    long live pretty-pixely-arty games that are also ACTUAL GAMES!

  3. J. Cosmo Cohen says:

    I doen’t know about this game…

    • SooSiaal says:

      I won’t mind spending a few bucks on this

    • Llewyn says:

      With hind sight maybe you should have red the article then. Just a few roes of text and Bam! Bi magic you’d have a much better understanding. Instead you just slipped into the old rut of RPS pun threads.

  4. Anthile says:

    It does look truly staggering.

  5. Turkey says:

    The soundtrack sounds a lot like Boards of Canada.

  6. minstrelofmoria says:

    “Karma in the game is very important. How you behave will completely affect the type of animal you are. You might focus on getting dark karma skills – these are destructive powers that you can unleash on the world and its denizens. The Deer God doesn’t approve with of this type of modus operandi, FYI. You might be reincarnated as a plant and eaten by a bunny in your next round!”

    Ecch. Why even bother giving the player fun and useful powers if you’re going to punish said player for using them? (Yeah, I know, “we need to model how seductive evil is,” but then you should actually make evil seductive. Don’t make it a fake option that isn’t worth using.)

    • valrus says:

      Well, you gotta have tradeoffs; it’s just whether the cost is proportional to the benefit. Sometimes those costs are in the future: do something powerful now in exchange for a period of reduced power (like cooldown times).

      You can flub the calculations and make magic unusable or overpowered, but having powerful spells have high costs isn’t itself punishment.

  7. RedViv says:

    But can I get my head cut off and switch into full eldritch mode? That’s important!

  8. Shadowcat says:

    Is making a computer game the standard penance for killing a priest? And is it different for large priests? I couldn’t tell.

    • Sidewinder says:

      I don’t think the justice system works that way- commit a crime, thereby taking some beauty out of the world, and you have to create a work of art to add it back in- but it’d be interesting if it did. Further, would it be reversed? Could great artists get away with murder, claiming to be compensating for their previous works in a sort of nightmarish pseudoBuddhist dystopia? I’m tempted to make a game about that myself… Or am I just feeling guilty about killing so many people?

      • valrus says:

        I’d play that game. The society would be crazy. Murdering the attractive would be a more heinous crime than regular murder — more beauty removed from the world. Kids’ artistic tendencies — finger-painting, making art, making music — etc. might be seen as evidence that they committed evil acts in previous lives. After making a masterwork, everyone would be afraid of the artist because they now had a license to kill.

        It’d make a crazy murder mystery — you know a painter killed the victim, but what’s at question is whether they really painted their great work. If they did, they’re scot-free, but if they didn’t they might be sentenced to twenty years Hard Art.