“Your growing antlers,’ Bambi continued, ‘are proof of your intimate place in the forest, for of all the things that live and grow only the trees and the deer shed their foliage each year and replace it more strongly, more magnificently, in the spring.” – Felix Salten
Deer Journey is a third-person walking simulator that follows an albino deer. Outcast by the other deer he is forced to traverse the forest in search of a place to live. Players join him on his adventure through a world for which he may not be ready.
Developer: Pablo Picazo
Released: 21st July 2022
Available on: Steam
Engine: Unreal Engine 4
This game is being reviewed as part of the Indie Game Collective (IGC) showcase.
Deer Journey’s narrative is delivered through its beautiful visuals and the gameplay itself. It follows the protagonist after he is rejected by the other deer and sees him explore the wilderness to find a place to live, facing a number of perilous situations along the way.
Deer Journey has fairly simple gameplay and is essentially a walking simulator. Players control the albino deer and experience his rejection before beginning their adventure into the forest. The deer can run, jump, eat and even fight as he explores nature and tries to find somewhere to live. A number of perilous instances keep the player on edge and add some tension to an otherwise relaxing experience. Whilst the game progression is very linear there is plenty of scope to wander off the beaten track to explore each chapter’s environment and enjoy the scenery.
The artwork is a highlight of the game with stunning realistic imagery and atmospheric lighting. This is accompanied by ambient nature sound effects such as the wind blowing, trees rustling or birds chirping that help immerse the player in the environment and story. The evocative music only plays during specific parts of the game and features gentle piano and melodic strings.
I did encounter a few issues such as the game being very dark at times with no option to adjust the brightness. In addition, there was some lag and blurring while playing, this occurred even after lowering my resolution and graphics settings so I believe this is down to the game’s optimisation. Luckily this was not too detrimental and in general, the aesthetic of the game is quite mesmerising.
Deer Journey is a relaxing and beautiful game that will surprise players with its emotive twists and turns. It is short and succinct at around 45 mins long, making great use of its playtime and providing an original experience for players. Its lack of action and casual pace will mean it won’t appeal to everyone but I definitely recommend it to fans of walking simulators and nature lovers!
You can also find a full playthrough of Deer Journey on our YouTube channel:
Are you a fan of walking simulators? Take a look at these reviews:
Dear Esther: The OG Walking-Simulator – The Search – An Abstract Delve into the Barriers to Creativity – Sunlight – A Thought-Provoking Walk through the Trees