REVIEW: Deep Sky Derelicts

Jan
04

REVIEW: Deep Sky Derelicts

Recycling in space

Released: Steam
Type: Single-player
Genre: RPG, Strategy
Developer: Snowhound Games
Publisher: 1C Entertainment
Release Date: 26 Sep, 2018

Overview

Deep Sky Derelicts is a mix of a card, strategy and RPG genres where you guide a small team of outcasts inside big, abandoned space derelicts. There you’ll be searching for useful parts, weapons and, above all, informations in order to get a citizenship that will get you out of space stations and let you live on a planet surface. And eventually you’ll discover that those space derelicts aren’t completely abandoned…

I’ve already seen this somewhere!

Just by looking at the screenshots on the store page it is obvious how the game can be compared with another, more famous, game: Darkest Dungeon. While there are a lot of dissimilarities between them, the two games also have a lot in common, like the comic book graphic style, some combat mechanics and team/characters management. While this won’t be a direct comparison between the two games, sometimes during the review I’ll point out their similarities (or differences!).

Deep space recycling

In Deep Space Derelicts you’ll guide a team of three scavengers, searching big abandoned space stations and ships for valuable materials and informations. The latter are especially important, since your main goal, the very reason you are actually exploring this giant pieces of rusty metal in space, is to find pieces of information that could help you track down a legendary spaceship that stories say it’s full of valuables. The road to this spaceship is long, though, and you’ll have plenty of time completing eventual side-missions that other scavengers, and sometimes robots, will give you.

Exploring the derelicts is quite simple, like click-on-a-square-to-move-to-the-next-room simple. Basically, you have access to a datapad that, besides giving infos on the team members and inventory, maps the surface of the abandoned ships. This “map” is composed by a lot of squares, representing explorable rooms that could be empty, contain loot or… enemies.

Exploration takes place in the PDA

This is my main gripe with this game: we could all be exploring derelicts drawn in the game’s beautiful graphic style, like in Darkest Dungeon, but we are instead restricted to clicking little squares in a black and white screen. While exploring we also have to watch our energy reserves, because every action we take in the hostile environment of the space derelicts drains some power and, when it gets to 0, weapons, shields and life support get disabled.

Don’t try to steal my junk

Sometimes, when exploring, bad things can happen. These “bad things” usually take the form of traps, aliens, rival scavengers and robotic janitors. Combats in Deep Sky Derelicts are turn-based and, at a first glance, may look very similar to Darkest Dungeon’s: in reality the introduction of cards made the gameplay considerably different, since the abilities we can now play are drawn from a deck of cards that is unique for each character in the team. Enemies, like in similar games, are differentiated by their abilities are their hp/shield pool and luckily there’s no reuse of assets in this sense, which is something that I find incredibly dull in this kind of games, since it makes enemies feel very similar to each other. Derelicts are inhabited also by a number of bosses and mini-bosses, ranging from necromancer robots to giant space worms, you know… the usual stuff.

Skinks are overgrown alien lizard… and also not the worst thing you can stumble upon when exploring derelicts

Cards are also quite diverse and complex, especially after the first levels in the game. When I say complex, I don’t mean anything Magic: The Gathering level of complex (also because we don’t want fights to last forever), but there are some nice cards between the base ones you get at the start of the game. As I did say before, every character in the team has its own deck of cards, which in turn are acquired by adding pieces of equipment to the team member. This is particularly ingenious, since it gives items a double value: you don’t only care about their stats (damage, shields and so on) but also about the cards they add. In addition to that, each piece of equipment has two additional slots for modifications, which add additional stats or even new cards.

Back to civilization

Between the exploration expeditions, the team can relax, heal, spend money and organize at the space station. This is a hub pretty similar to the village in Darkest Dungeon, where you can heal the characters, buy new weapons, sell stuff you don’t need and eventually get contracts. Contracts are side missions that have a plethora of different objectives and usually pay out well on completion.

The space station offers a number of services

Besides that, the station also gives the possibility to hire mercenaries, which act as replacements for team members. These are auto-generated by the game, but thanks to the last update it is possible to respec them for both stats and aspect. Unfortunately, the space station is the least well-made aspect of the game and this makes it only a boring routine: arrive at the station, sell the junk, heal the team, watch for new contracts, leave. There’s very little to do here and that’s why the game got a station-centric DLC, called Station Life.

During combat, abilities are animated through a comic-like instant

Verdict

Deep Sky Derelicts is a fine card-RPG-roguelike-turn-based-strategy game. While overshadowed by the more complex and generally better-implemented Darkest Dungeon, the game manages to offer a solid and fun gameplay with some original ideas. Unfortunately, there are some poorly implemented aspects, like stations and exploration, but for the current price the game is still a solid SAVE for me.

About texdade

I'm a master Computer Science student and passionate gamer, always looking for games that bring something new to the table. Normally an FPS/RPG person, but also play a lot of strategy and management games. I just can't play TPS or sport games. Oh, and I can't stop dumping money on MTG cards, for some reason.

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