Deep Sky Derelicts (PC) Review

By Eric Ace 02.04.2020

Review for Deep Sky Derelicts on PC

What seems like an ever-growing genre is the so-called 'Rogue-like' where maps are randomly generated, dying has major consequences, and the difficulty is often higher than other games. Deep Sky Derelicts merges a few genres into the Rogue-like, with sci-fi trapping of a story, a collectable card game format, and a statistics system that feels like it was lifted straight out of Dungeons and Dragons. Taking a small team of three, the player must search through a multitude of ships while they try to find the mothership.

Told in a retro comic book style, Deep Sky Derelicts has an aesthetic that is fairly cool, but will likely be polarizing. Set in some unknown future, the player commands a small team that must slowly travel through various ships, finding enemies and treasures as they advance the story to try to find a mothership's location. Between explorations, players manage money, skills, and equipment for their team.

From the beginning, there is a LOT going on in this game. From a depth point of view this is a positive, but far too often there is just way, way too much going on with almost non-existent tutorials or references. There are several classes to pick from which all have different skills, can equip different weapons, and utilize different cards/equipment. Initially it is overwhelming, but perhaps in a good way with all the options presented. It does not take long in the game to realize most of these options are useless however.

Screenshot for Deep Sky Derelicts on PC

The reason why is the general flow of the game. Players have a home base, where they can recharge energy, get gear, missions and head out. At the various 'dungeons', which are represented by a top-down map, they explore one tile at a time trying to find their way to relevant locations to fight or advance quests. Energy levels constantly deplete and force players to make multiple trips back to recharge before they can press on in a new direction on the ship. The exploration element was actually one of the more fun elements in the game, though it is incredibly simplistic. Part of the problem is some easily acquired upgrades practically destroy any difficulty or sense of exploration with this part of the game such as scanners which reveal substantial portions of the map.

Through there is a huge amount of writing in this game, it is a little disconcerting how utterly meaningless it all is. There is very little story told, zero atmosphere set up in dialogue, and even talking to characters the stories are odd and lack any impact. For example one quest involved loading a woman into a cannon to shoot her at another ship, or another was about a guy who wanted to merge with a machine. They either come off as odd, like the first one, or have potential depth like the second but gets about 5 lines of dialogue as some computer says 'he merged with me' and no further details, discussion, or anything about what happens or what it means. For an RPG, especially a sci-fi one like this, lacking any serious story or reason to care about anything is a major detractor from the game.

Screenshot for Deep Sky Derelicts on PC

Fights are one of the other major areas of the game. The system is unique, but unfortunately fatally flawed. It is a turn based card game, where each character has various attack cards based on their class and their equipment. A leader class will have boosting cards, a sniper will have rifle attack cards, and a melee class will have powerful melee cards. From each characters 'deck' they will draw a few cards and the player will pick which card to attack with.

The idea is actually fairly cool and really could have been expanded on. The flaw comes from the way it interacts with equipment. Each piece of gear (and each sub-gear you can equip with these) comes with its own set of cards. Most of these are not very good. As a result they jam up your deck with useless moves, so the natural conclusion is to not equip them. This then destroys the gameplay loop of looting and grinding, as all this gear that is found largely cannot be used without actually making the character worse.

Screenshot for Deep Sky Derelicts on PC

Along with this, it was clear the developers put a lot of thought into the game, but in this case it went so far overboard as to be tough to recommend. There are far too many stats to truthfully pay attention to, and they are often hidden behind oddly designed GUI choices. For example a typical equipment might offer things like 'Medical +10, critical chance +5, deadly+2', ok, so we can click on 'medical' and see that this boosts several other things, but nowhere does is show what exactly 'critical chance' does, or what the character's current stat for this is. This problem continues with a plethora of various terms that the equipment can have on it, a vast majority cannot be clicked on or explained.

This is a game that is an example of misappropriating resources as far as its development went. The exploration was the best part of the game, and lacks any real depth to it. Whereas the fighting is rather dry (only a few strategies and cards are any good), and the stats are simply far too convoluted to be of much interest. Things are just too hard to do for what should be simple, such as equipping characters or seeing what something actually does. From the thousands of items which all visually look nearly identical, to unreferenced stats, it is tough to recommend this as it currently is.

Screenshot for Deep Sky Derelicts on PC

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Great ideas and some outright fun is far too often marred by technical glitches, a maddening GUI, and simply overwhelming amounts of numbers and terms with very little information as to what any of it does. The originality of the game is cool but there are too many ideas were packed in without actually making sure they all work together coherently.

Developer

Snowhound Games

Publisher

1C Entertainment

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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