Deep Sky Derelicts is a game I’ve been eyeballing for a bit, but was hesitant to purchase because it sounds like a giant mishmash of genres that I like, but none that I actually love. I figured it’d show up in a bundle eventually, and I wasn’t really in any big rush, but since it was on Utomik (and I still have a few weeks left of the month I paid for), I figured I’d take it for a spin.
The Steam description sort of feels like it’s just ticking off boxes of things that are kind of buzzwords right now. Card-based combat? Check. Rogue-like elements (which I believe in this case means procedurally generated worlds)? Check.
It’s definitely turn based, and there are cards, but I don’t know about the whole “RPG” or “tactical” parts. There’s quests, and as you level, you can choose perks, but on my first play attempt, I hardly realized that your team was customizable, and other than swapping over one of my team members to a medic, I didn’t change any of what I was given.
Although “hardcore” was an option, I just automatically assumed that characters that died would be gone forever, and figured there was no point in getting attached. As it turns out, if any of your characters return to the station, those who perished can be revived (assuming you can afford it), and if your entire party dies, you can return to the autosave from your last station visit.
But my party didn’t feel at all balanced, so I thought I’d try again with a new set of characters. I felt like I was doing better the second time around, until I ended up completely unable to find the “main quest” objective on my first derelict station. By this point, I realized I just wasn’t feeling it, and that I’d given it a fair enough shake in two and a half hours that I could safely move on.
The art is what really drew me in. I love that faux comic book look it has, and I’ve been known to enjoy a turn-based RPG from time to time. The look of the game is, in my opinion, really amazing, right down to the comics-style lack of combat animations. Sadly, the sound design felt neglected to me – after the first hour, I took my headphones off entirely – I wasn’t hearing anything making it worth keeping them on.
My quick look impression of Deep Sky Derelicts was that it suffered from a lack of a real tutorial, and that nothing was terribly well explained. I don’t know that I would have liked it better if I understood it better, but I would have felt less like I had wasted my time. The start of the story didn’t lure me in, and I wasn’t particularly attached to my characters.
The game play was fine, if a little confusing, and it looked great, but there really wasn’t anything I saw in two and a half hours that made this a must play for me. It was fine, but with all the fantastic games out there, fine just isn’t enough to keep me playing.