Well, where do I start with DEEEER Simulator: Your Average Everyday Deer Game? To kick off, the title is pretty much the opposite of what you can expect. This is a sim game, set in a sandbox world, but beyond that it’s quite difficult to describe. Here goes then.
Your first task is to create your character, with a rather in-depth set of tools at your disposal. Your model has dozens of points where you can manipulate their shape before choosing from numerous clothing and accessory options to personalise them. Or, if you can’t be bothered, you can hit the randomise button and roll with that.
The latter may well be the best option too, because you’ll immediately be run down whilst heroically attempting to save a deer, only to be reincarnated as one yourself. It’s then when you emerge into the sandbox world and are very much left to your own devices. In fact, you get no guidance at all. Your best hope is perusing the achievement list to give you some clues.
As you’ll discover for yourself, you can do all sorts of crazy things such as smashing scenery, knocking down civilians, riding giant horses or shooting the place up with guns that attach to your antlers. In fact, there are numerous weapons to find and wield, usually left behind in the rubble of a building you have just destroyed.
You can even turn yourself into a slice of bread – I Am Bread style -, play a few minigames such as “cowthello” and drive a truck like a deer possessed. As well as generally galloping around causing chaos, you can stretch you neck to stupid lengths in order to do damage, dash around on two legs and jump metres into the air at a time. You can even ride on horseback which looks like a terrifying scene from “Planet of the Deer” (don’t panic I just made that up). I have no idea why you can do any of this, but it’s fun for a short while at least.
You will encounter a few residents of the strange land in DEEEER Simulator, who you can “deerify” if you wish. This essentially means they will loyally follow you, complete with their own set of antlers. However, if you would rather spare them this transformation you can dance together, or simply say “hi”. These poor souls inhabit a chaotic and random world, which resembles something of an overfilled child’s playchest.
You’d be quite wrong if you thought you could go around causing all this mayhem unchecked, oh no. You may notice the “deersaster” meter in the top corner of your screen. This starts at the letter “E”, and can escalate all the way up to “A”, in a take of the Grand Theft Auto star system. Each time you fill the meter and proceed to the next letter, the cops will be dispatched to try and stop you.
This starts off as a rather harmless flock of sheep who will pursue you and try to wipe out your three hearts of health. Tougher members of the local police force will attempt to put an end to your shenanigans, working right up to the head honcho himself. The final line of defense is composed of several different creatures that slot together to form a single law enforcer, resembling some sort of organic household pet transformer.
DEEEER Simulator controls just about well enough, but isn’t without some issues. For starters, looking around with the right thumbstick is far too sensitive, even at the default level which is less than half of the maximum. Moving around is equally as pacey and inaccurate, and driving a vehicle really highlights this with it being nearly impossible to turn a corner. The physics are fun and support the haphazard and chaotic style of gameplay, which requires no real skill to get to grips with.
Graphics wise the cel shaded blocky environment looks decidedly average, lacking any real detail. The frame rate can get a bit choppy which exposes jagged edges (or screen tear) in the buildings and other models. It seems like a very direct PC port to me.
Luckily, DEEEER Simulator is on Game Pass which will mean players can avoid the somewhat extortionate £16.74 price tag. It’ll cost you another £4.19 for the DLC, which is near impossible for me to advise purchasing due to the lack of content you get overall.
DEEEER Simulator is wacky, off-the-wall and intriguing to begin with. However, it’s a jumbled cocktail of ideas which run short quickly. After an hour or two, you’ll struggle to find reasons to jump back in.
DEEEER Simulator is available to download from the Xbox Store