Originally developed by Crecent Moon Games, The Deer God is now available for the PS Vita, thanks to a port done by Blowfish Studios. But actually I don’t think that we should thank Blowfish Studio for this port, as it’s technically terrible.
The Deer God tells the story of a hunter who got reincarnated as a baby deer by The Deer God to redeem his bad deeds in his previous life. The goal of the game is to survive as long as you can and to explore the procedurally generated world as a deer. You will encounter smaller enemies like foxes which do little damage or bigger enemies like hunter or grizzly bears which are more damaging. At the beginning, you only have a double jump and a dash attack but further on in the game, you will find new skills and also several items.
The items which grant extra powers can be assigned in an inventory menu but the handling of the assignment is not very good. First you have to click an item, then you have to move to one of the six assignment squares, and then you have to click again to assign finally an item. An item can only be used one time so you always have to reassign further items if you want to use them.
While out in the wild, you always have to make sure to eat, or your health will start to drop when the hunger meter is at zero. This gets very frustrating as often there is not enough food to find. When the hunger meter is at zero, your health bar is like a ticking time bomb and if you don’t find food immediately, you’re about to die quickly.
As you start as a baby deer, you have to look for Elders to give you words of wisdom which will grant you new skills when you meet them. To save the game, you must meet female deer where you will be respawn as a baby when you have died. After some time has passed you will grow into an adult deer. Time passes by solving puzzles, helping others, combat or avoid enemies or eat.
Although the game could be somehow enjoyable, what Blowfish Studio has done with the PS Vita version can only be described as terrible. It begins with the graphics, although it is beautiful, the framerate stutters so much that you get a headache after playing for some time. Every 3 to 4 seconds, the game freezes for a millisecond and objects on the screen are often out of v-sync which looks very ugly. It’s also important to note the long loading times when you die. You have to wait for around 30 seconds until you can restart at your last save point.
The quality of the sound and music is not any better. At least in the intro, the music is still in stereo, but you can already hear some noises which shouldn’t be there. When you take control of the deer, things get worse. You will hear the music either in the left or right speaker and the sound effects in the other one without being in stereo! This is especially annoying when you are playing with headphones. Later in the game, all sound effects and music are played in mono, only when you have died, the intro music is in stereo again. This is a complete mess!
Actually I had to stop playing The Deer God on the PS Vita as the stuttering framerate and the v-sync problems had given me a headache. Also the bad quality of the music and sound effects got me annoyed. I can’t understand how Blowfish Studio can release such a terrible port and even less, how the game got through Sony’s quality control. In this state, the PS Vita version never should have been allowed to be released. But besides these technical problems, the game itself has also flaws, especially due to the frustrating hunger meter as there’s not enough food to find which leads to many annoying deaths.
The Deer God on the PS Vita is technically terrible and gameplay wise also quite frustrating. Releasing a game in this state is irresponsible and doesn’t shine a good light on Blowfish Studios. You better avoid this game full of errors and invest your money in other games.
Update April 25, 2017: Blowfish Studios told us that they will patch the technical issues that are mentioned in our review as soon as possible. We will update our review once the patch is available.
The Deer God PS Vita Gameplay:
The review was written and provided by Michael. All screenshots are taken from the PS Vita version.