Oh Deer - Gaming Furever Review

As a fan of deer, you may think I am biased towards them. However, I’d argue there’s no one better than a deer to judge the quality of cervine-based games. With that said, a new trendy game released on March 15, 2024 called Oh Deer, and oh boy is it a trip. The game consists of (up to) four player-controlled deer trying to survive being hunted by one player-controlled hunter. Every round, the hunter is randomly selected from the group of players at the beginning of the round and the cycle continues over and over until you end the session. During the round, the deer try to blend in with other NPC deer that are ambling around the level by moving like them and faking eating grass. However, the deer players have a hunger meter that they must keep above empty by eating mushrooms that are scattered around the map, or their stomach will start growling -very- loudly, and the hunter can be tipped off to their location. On the flip side, the hunter has a Sanity meter that, if it reaches zero, the day becomes night and ALL of the deer players become deadly wendigos that then attempt to attack and kill the hunter before they reach a randomly selected cabin around the map for safety. The hunter loses sanity over time, and a chunk if they shoot a deer that isn’t a player. They also gain sanity if they do successfully take out a player deer, and they win if they kill them all.

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So it operates like a few other “blend in” hide-and-seek games, but with some pretty snappy and quick mechanics that we thoroughly enjoyed on the default settings with our group of four. The ability to tweak almost every aspect of the game was a welcome surprise, and adds to the ability for the game to have some legs for future game nights that go beyond the initial fun of the premise. Giving the deer an advantage if you find them a little underpowered, or making the hunter even more of a threat are completely within your power. I appreciated the addition and the range of values you could change all the settings to. When we played, the distribution of winning leaned towards the deer, but the hunters weren’t without their wins. Since there aren’t any stats or records of wins and losses, the games feel less “sweaty competitive” and can just be pure fun chaos. Any game with a “fart” mechanic shouldn’t take itself too seriously, and it doesn’t.

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The graphics are this pleasantly cartoony concoction of geometric forest flora and polished environments. It doesn’t feel “cheap” like you may be inclined to feel initially. It all adds to the silly vibe of everything. The NPC deer movements fit in nicely to help the player hide, and it’s not too difficult to attempt to fit in. I’ve had issues in the past with hide-and-seek games where the player is just a bit too easy to pick out, and the “seeker” is able to win too easily, or they’re able to score way too many points off a player who may not be as able to blend in as other players. With the “once you’re dead, you’re out” mechanic, the hunter can’t take advantage of this. Plus, the dead deer players get to use a free camera to fly around and watch the action after their untimely demise, which is a nice perk to dying.

The “Night” part of the game, where the hunter runs out of sanity before eliminating every deer, gives the hunter one last chance of escape, though the game makes that chance very slim. The entire level goes dark, a full moon rises over the forest, and the seemingly harmless hooved creatures stand up on two legs and become much less cartoony realistic wendigos with red glowing auras and enhanced speed. Oh, and they’ve got a wicked side-swipe attack that’s a knockout for any helplessly scampering hunter. It’s a frantic ending to an anxiety-filled round of hiding for the deer, who by the time they have reached this part of the round, are ready and waiting to take out their predatory hunter buddy (who may still be right next to them when the night shifts.)

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Overall, Oh Deer delivers on its goal of providing a fun, replayable, and memorable experience for its players. It doesn’t have a bunch of cosmetics or more than two levels, but what it does have is done well. For a retail price of $9.99, it provides at least a few nights of hilarity with friend groups, and that’s all I can ask from a game like this. Oh Deer will be one we return to now and then for a few good laughs and a few good terrified, two-legged runs away from a bow-wielding hunter.

Gaming Furever Review Scores: 

Gameplay: 8 - Everything feels good and tight, especially for such a ridiculous concept. Balanced roles with the ability to adjust them however you feel

Graphics: 8 - Really good mixture of blending in graphics and tell-tale signs mixed in

Sound: 6 - Not too much sound in this game, but the stuff that's there is goofy and well-intentioned for figuring out who's a hidden deer, or if that hunter is coming your way. Music selection fits in, but just feels a bit weird sometimes.

Value: 7 - $9.99 is a nice price for the game. I'd give it more points for a $5 pricepoint, because there's still not a -ton- of stuff here, but it does what it tries to do very well.

Final Score: 7 / 10

 

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