Indie developer Necrosoft Games puts an unusually gory spin on the racing genre with Oh, Deer!, a pseudo-3D driving game in which players race to grandma’s house while avoiding — or plowing through — an endless procession of antlered wildlife.
Originally released for the PS Vita and select mobile devices via Sony’s since-shuttered PlayStation Mobile service, Oh, Deer! is now available for PC platforms with an array of gameplay upgrades and bonus extras. Curious players can check out a beta version by pitching in the game’s current asking price of six dollars and sixty-six cents.
In Oh, Deer!, players race across a seemingly endless highway on a road-tripping race to visit grandma. In an unusual twist, each of the game’s tracks is crowded with herds of deer, confronting players with an unexpected moral quandary: should you avoid the deer and risk crashing, or will you take the safe route by ramming the oblivious creatures with your indestructible family station wagon?
Players who show mercy to the surrounding wildlife will enjoy a drift-heavy race to the finish line, while killing deer gradually adds unsettling graphical effects and harsh audiovisual noise on top of the game’s normally cheery presentation.
Inspired by classic arcade driving games like OutRun and Super Hang-On, Oh, Deer! emphasizes the thrill of a point-to-point race to the finish over competition with other drivers. In another nod to its ’80s-era inspiration, Oh, Deer! features an intentionally dated graphics style that uses scaling, tiled sprites to create an illusion of depth, resulting in a distinctive look.
“Oh, Deer! is a driving game, more than a racing game!” Necrosoft Games explains. “Remember games like Outrun? Hard Drivin’? Roadblasters? Those games weren’t about racing other cars, they were about getting somewhere, and enjoying the ride, and maybe getting a high score while you were at it. That’s the kind of game we wanted to play, so it’s the game we made.”
The PC beta version of Oh, Deer! includes a new survival mode in addition to a traditional score attack mode. New features, modes, and bonus content will be added as development progresses in the months ahead.