I knew we were in trouble when we encountered those renegade bots. Having just explored and cleared out a giant, derelict spacecraft, our energy reserves were running dangerously low. Our team had been pushing its luck, using up more energy than we should have, so I ordered my units to make a beeline for the exit – passing through two unexplored tiles on their way. Big mistake.
We survived the surprise encounter, but then, mere seconds before reaching the ship that was going to take us back home, our energy reserves depleted. As the lights flickered and went out, the screams started. Game over, man. Game over.
Death is permanent in Deep Sky Derelicts, and a complete party wipe means you have to start from scratch – maybe with a different bunch of space delinquents this time. The game lets you pick a party of three from several character classes, blast off into space adventures, and engage in exploration and turn-based fights out there.
Those fights are card-based, and the available cards are tied to your equipment. You may have to choose between a weapon with good damage and poor skills tied to it, or one with slightly worse base stats and better cards overall. This is an incredibly flexible, exciting system of character development, and it makes each new piece of loot feel so much more interesting.
At its core, Deep Sky Derelicts is all about balancing risk and reward. Of course you can play it safe and fly back to your home base each time your energy runs low. But those flights are expensive and there could be some awesome treasure just waiting for you behind the next corner… The game constantly dares you to take risks against your better judgement.
Its grimy look and the way its fights are presented are obviously strongly reminiscent of Darkest Dungeon. However, even if the latter game’s influences are to be found all over, it’s pretty much its own thing. I love those deteriorated space vessels with their overwhelming sense of isolation and danger lurking everywhere. While Darkest Dungeon is a bit more on the nose with its eldritch horrors, Deep Sky Derelicts has more of a sense of unease at its very core.
Deep Sky Derelicts was released as an early access title a few weeks ago. As such, not all planned content is implemented yet and there are a few bugs to be found. Not the face-eating kind of space bugs, mind you, but smaller issues that thankfully don’t seem to be game-breaking. However, even in its current state, this is something quite special and definitely worth your time.