Deep Sky Derelicts takes place in a dystopian future, where for several reasons, humanity was forced to emigrate to various planets, looking for a new home to live. As expected, corruption and elitism run amok in this society and only the richest can afford to breathe without a mask.
Released in 2018 on PC, this indie gem finally makes its way to consoles, accompanied by its two expansion packs and enhanced patches.
AT A GLANCE
Title: Deep Sky Derelicts Definitive Edition
Genre: Indie, RPG, Strategy
Platforms: PS4(Reviewed), Xbox One, Switch
Developer: Snowhound Games
Publisher: 1C Entertainment
Release Date: March 24, 2020
The lore and world that Snowbound games have managed to create are deep and interesting for an indie game. The story is delivered to you in the form of comic-like strips.
You take control of a group of mercenaries who take on various odd jobs to keep your crew afloat. When the sub governor offers you all the fame and loots you can imagine in return for finding the fabled mothership, you set off with your ragtag team for a chance at a better life.
You start off with three characters and you can customize them all you want. The base game has 6 classes while the two DLC’s add 2 more(1 each). Each class has different roles that they excel in, so you can mix and match for different strategies. That being said, the game is awfully lacking in context, and it’s quite easy to pick the wrong class and ruin your game.
There’s a hub where you can take on missions, sell loot, heal your crew and travel to other derelicts. Once you travel to a planet, you have to explore the map using your PDA. The exploration is done using a grid-based system, where you spend energy to do anything.
The main highlight of the game is the combat system. Combat is similar to deck based games. From basic attacks to blockages, shield penetration, combat cancellation and buffs to the group or individual are done through cards.
Since there’s a limited number of cards available it is very important to learn the available skills and plan your strategy ahead of encounters.
The AI does a great job of making the game challenging. On several occasions I found them focusing on my weaker characters, reducing his shields or ganking me. This meant I had to make sure that I kept the AI in check while varying my strategy to make sure the game didn’t one-up me. But since the game doesn’t have a comprehensive tutorial and doesn’t go easy on you, it will be a long while before you manage to put up much of a fight.
This is both the game’s strong point and a weak point. As with a very similar game – Darkest Dungeon: the difficulty is unforgivable. For new players to the genre or someone looking for a casual experience, the game can be a frustrating slog. However, those looking for a challenge will be more than satisfied with what the game offers.
New Prospects, the first expansion for the game adds new worlds and mechanics to tackle enemy encounters. The new environments add much-needed variety to the game while being able to sneak and rush past encounters is a welcome addition.
Making planetfall, getting lost in blizzards and sandstorms, engaging with scavenger colonies and clearing out monster lairs – not only does the New Prospects expansion give a hefty boost to the variety of scenery and diversity of encounters out there, but it also makes exploration even more exciting, tense and suspenseful than ever before. There are also a lot of new enemies to defeat and items to scavenge.
Station Life is the second expansion to Deep Sky Derelicts that, as its name suggests, focuses on turning the station into a productive and homelier place.
The overhauled station brings new possibilities to further upgrade and customize your crew by crafting custom weaponry and equipment, re-training and neurally enhancing your squad members, and even changing their looks to your liking. The DLC also throws at you a handful of randomly generated but constantly challenging encounters and timed events that involve other station dwellers and may easily catch you off guard while always putting either your combat prowess, your luck or your business acumen to a test. To top it all off, the local bar now offers you a bunch of high-profile bounty contracts to pursue during your derelict raids for unique trophies and hefty coin rewards. There’s also a new class called the Inventor. The Inventor is a sturdy, melee-combat oriented character that lacks shields but applies unique health regeneration abilities on the battlefield to compensate for that.
The game handles like a dream on consoles, and the shift to a controller-based scheme is well done. There are no overly complex controls and since the UI is really well streamlined, you can easily navigate the sections with your triggers and bumpers.
Deep Space Derelicts is a satisfying tactical experience. It has great combat, original lore, and tense rewarding gameplay. The high difficulty might be a deterrent for new players, but if you manage to understand the simple yet deep underlying systems there’s a great game waiting for you.