It’s definitely not your Average Everyday Deer Game, no matter what Deeeer Simulator’s subtitle may try to assure you. That much is obvious not just from the overuse of the letter ‘e’ in the ‘Deeeer’ part of the title, but also from the artwork accompanying the game’s cover and any screenshot you’ll see.

Deeeer Simulator starts off with one of the most genuinely impressive character creators I’ve seen, allowing you a great deal of flexibility in creating as horrific a crime against nature as you desire. Or, you know, just create a human that looks like you – whatever floats your boat.

In any case, it turns out that the whole character creation thing is just an elaborate and very funny prank, as you’ll soon be in charge of a deer – though again, this really ain’t an average, normal deer that you’ll be controlling. Dashing sees your cervid become bipedal and run incredibly fast to a drum roll on the soundtrack. Attacking will initially see your deer turn into a bipedal pugilist, though this will soon change once you destroy a vehicle or building, which will leave you an armament to pick up – usually a pistol to start with, but it can also be grenades, rifles or something else besides. Hilariously, the deer remains quadrupedal when using firearms and explosives – each higher class of weapon doesn’t replace the more basic ones either; they just get tacked on to a new part of your body and used in unison. The Deeeer can stretch its neck and latch onto targets, Spider-Man style too – because of course it can.

DEEEER Simulator Screenshot

So what’s the aim of the game? Part of the joy of getting to the end is in discovering how you trigger certain game states to happen, but to start with you’ll just be looking to cause as much chaos as possible in order to get your Deersaster Level up to A, which triggers the boss. The Deersaster level starts at E and destroying buildings, killing civilians, stealing cars or causing destruction on horseback – amongst other things – sees it rise and at each new letter, a stronger police response will be sent out to try and stop you.

Initially, the police are sheep, because reasons. You’ll soon face off against bigger threats – polar bears strapped to cars or other mech-powered animals, for example. Bosses come in a few different forms, with the first one being a sort of combined force of the police animals, in a comically Voltron-esque form.

DEEEER Simulator Screenshot

There’s numerous other creatures and activities to take on within each environment, should you fancy your chances. Some of these are incredibly challenging though, causing your demise pretty quickly – and be warned: death means a complete reset of your progress, which can be incredibly frustrating. Some are just amusing diversions, such as a game of Reversi with cows; again though, do be warned that it resets progress if this is entered into, regardless of your success.

There’s a few different worlds to uncover and it’s all very cheerfully random, with the low-poly visuals having a real wonky, surrealist, deliberately awkward charm. Though it does initially seem like there’s a lot to do and it’s really fun to check everything out in the few worlds on offer, ultimately Deeeer Simulator does feel a bit thin on content. There’s a few endings to unlock, but you’ll have seen pretty much everything the game has to offer within a few hours at the most. It feels a little overpriced for something that’s essentially a one joke premise and – though it is a very funny joke for a little while, complete with a few amusing pop culture references too – it pales in depth and scope to the game that so obviously provided its inspiration, Goat Simulator.

DLC is available to add more content to the experience, but it’s paid for so it doesn’t exactly solve the issue of cost for the content that’s on offer; it does feel as if this should have been included in the base game, given the asking price. One thing that stands out, however, is the absolutely superb soundtrack – it’s a genuinely pleasant surprise.

Ultimately, Deeeer Simulator is fun while it lasts, but do bear in mind that this isn’t very long at all – but it does perhaps feel like the perfect, bite-sized experience for Game Pass (which it is available on!).

Deeeer Simulator is available now on Xbox consoles, Nintendo Switch and PC.

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