DEEP SKY DERELICTS
By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on September 24, 2018
From the time man learned to walk up straight, we always had our sights set on the stars. In this grim, dystopian future, man has finally conquered said stars and lives happily among them. Well, I say happily, but that is only true for a selected few. As per usual, the rich and mighty live leisurely lives on beautiful planets, while the less fortunate, the Stateless, make their meager existence from salvaging what they can from the husks of derelict spaceports...
You are one of these stateless. When you are summoned to the office of one of the galactic commanders, you don't know what to expect. Surprisingly enough, he offers you a contract with a very, very handsome reward: the full citizenship for you and your crew. Naturally, such a contract doesn't come without some risks. It is going to be your job to find the exact location of a long lost spaceport, aka The Mothership. In order to locate this fabled vessel, you'll need to make your way through the forgotten but still very much dangerous halls and rooms of disused spaceports, the so-called Derelicts. Are you and your crew ready to face these hulking structures and brave the dangers within? Will you earn your citizenship or die trying? Let's grab our weapons and find out!
Deep Sky Derelicts is an action RPG game with Roguelike elements and turn-based card battles. The game is developed by Finnish developer Snowhound and published by Czech-based publisher, 1C Publishing. It lets you control your crew as they make their way through alien-infested spaceships in order to discover the location of the Mothership, while taking on numerous side-quests, defeating enemies and looking for anything they can salvage along the way! The first thing I noticed about the game is the really cool and dark comic book art-style in which the game's story cutscenes and battles are presented. This style suits the game's premise perfectly and helps to set the mood for your galactic quest.
The first thing you do when starting the game, is put together your team of three brave explorers. There are a number of characters to choose from and they can be tailored to your preferences. You can choose their appearance, their profession (class) like, for instance: Scrapper, Medic, Tracker or Bruiser. When selecting the class, you'll see that the stats of the character changes according to their class. As always when working with a party, it is wise to choose a few different kinds of classes for your characters. Yes, you could enter space with a team comprised solely of three bas-ass Bruisers, but how far do you think they'll get without a proper medic?
Each class has its own strengths and weaknesses and it is up to you to make the most of these traits. Furthermore, each character has a single trait that enhances one single stat; their personality. If, for instance, you choose "Jittery", that character gets a certain advantage for evading. On the other hand, if you choose "Neurotic", your character gets a +2 for Initiative, so be sure to cycle through these personalities to further enhance your team!
After carefully selecting your team and getting your assignment from the Sub-Governor, you find yourself in The Station, your hub and home base. Here, you can find various contracts that will earn you additional cash, as well as a pawn shop where you can buy and sell items, equipment and other assorted stuff. Thirdly, there's The Lair; a bar / meeting point for the hardened space dwelling folk such as yourself. This is the place to pick up the aforementioned contracts, as well as hire additional personnel for your team. When you've done everything you need to do, you can board the Station's shuttle service and choose to which of the numerous Derelicts you want to travel. And, because you're on a mission for the Sub-Governor, the basic fee is waived; you even get Water & Cookies free of charge!
When you arrive at the destination of your choosing, the first thing to do is to open up your PDA. This nifty device shows you a map of your immediate surroundings, as well as an overview of your crewmembers, a mission log and your inventory. If you take a look at your map, you'll see that only a few rooms are visible. You can use your scanner, located at the right-hand side of your screen to reveal more of the map. The scan range of said scanner can be upgraded by using the appropriate items. So, why scan? Mostly because it helps you decide where to go next. And why is that important? Well, going from room to room costs energy, which is drained from your overall energy pool, shown on the map screen just below the scan button. When this number reaches zero, you can't go any further, unless you replenish this energy by using energy cells. So, knowing where you want to go is pretty crucial to your team's survival.
Some rooms on the map are marked with certain symbols, denoting dangers, side-missions and other points of interest. The fun thing about making your way through the Derelicts is that you don't need to take side quests if you don't want to. Doing so might yield great reward, but it also costs additional energy to get side-tracked. So make sure you have enough energy before embarking on such quests. Battling enemies is another thing that costs energy, so the longer it takes you to defeat a certain enemy, the more energy you'll need to spend to do so. You see, each time you take a turn, a certain amount of energy is drained from your energy pool, so more rounds equals more energy drained!
The battles themselves are turn-based card battles, in which every character on screen takes turns, based on their initiative. When one of your characters has its turn, a set of random cards appear. These cards represent the possible attacks based on your current loadout. There are attack cards, but also, among many others, cards to recharge your shields, replenish your health, or prohibit enemy characters from using attacks for a turn. The list of cards is huge. When talking to the incomparable Dmytro Zhovtobryukh, CEO and PR manager for Snowhound, he confessed that even he hasn't seen each and every card the game has to offer. So that might give you an idea of the expansiveness of the game. You will start off with relatively weak attacks but, as you make your way through the story and upgrade your weapons by using the stuff you've collected during your travels or buying items at the pawn shop, these attacks will gradually become stronger and stronger. This is a good very thing, by the way, because so will your enemies!
Luckily, your characters themselves can be upgraded as well, by making good use of a sort of secondary skill-tree on your crew tab. This enables you to specify the characters even further. You could even go so far and build a multi class character by using this awesome mechanic. Building your team and upgrading your equipment and card deck is one of the most important things in Deep Sky Derelicts, so be sure to keep an eye on your gathered items and use them wisely! The possibilities are near endless, so try different things and see what combinations best match your preferred playing style.
All in all, I can only say that Deep Sky Derelicts is a game that offers something for different types of gamers. It's a truly awesome gaming experience that caters to the new enthusiasts but is, at the same time, more than challenging enough to be played and loved by the most hardened strategy RPG gamers out there! The tons of little funny details (like the slogan of the shuttle company) within the game make playing it even more fun than it already is. Visually, the game looks absolutely awesome and the conversations between the various characters are fun to read. In terms of missions, there is a lot to do, so the game is guaranteed to keep you busy searching for items and battling bad guys for hours and hours on end. So, if you're a fan of strategy games with a cool and well-written story, lots of characters and weapons, challenging battles and a plethora of space stations to explore, be sure to give Deep Sky Derelicts a try; I can personally guarantee that you will not be disappointed! Do yourself a huge favor; dive in and get ready for a galactic adventure of epic proportions!