In the distant future humanity is living on a series of ships and space stations. Existance is hard, and humanity must live off the scraps of those who came before. You control a team of three scavengers tasked with stripping these Deep Sky Derelicts for useful materials. Ultimately you want to download location data from their computers to find the mysterious ‘Mothership’. But why? You and your team have been promised citizenship to the noble caste should you succeed. So, a life of semi-luxury. However, this task wont be easy. Along the way you’ll encounter rival scavengers, alien infestations, rogue AI, deranged people and more. Most of them with an eye for leaving you dead aboard the Derelicts you came to scavenge.
This content was reviewed playing a provided copy with associated DLCs.
Setting & Music
In Deep Sky Derelicts you’ll spend your time either aboard the Spacestation, which acts as a hub or one of the Derelicts. The space station is a rather lifeless homescreen where you’ll be able to enter different ‘shops’. Where you’ll have be able to buy different materials and upgrades. But there is nothing different in design between these shops or with the space station vs the Derelicts; they’re all a drab mixture of greys. This goes with the theme of a dystopian future, but it comes across as bland.
The Derelicts themselves have a set number of backgrounds that cycle when you enter a room. They’re in a state of more disrepair than that of the Spacestation, but still with the bland-ness. It’s more understandable from a derelict spacecraft than a supposed lived in space station. But that still doesn’t make it visually appealing, and every room is just a hallway with nothing in it except possibly an encounter.
One thing that worked well was during the attacks a cut-in appeared similar to a comic panel. This was a pleasant addition, but after you’ve seen it fifty times it blurs into the background. Finally, the music. In a word; Generic. There is some ambient space-y sounding music, but it doesn’t add anything to the game.
During your time on the Derelicts you’ll go through a procedurally generated dungeon. Each Derelict will have a number of encounters and some rooms with special debuffs. The combat itself is a turn-based deck-building system similar to Darkest Dungeon. You’ll face off against up to six enemies, who themselves have a deck.
When you first start a game you can choose your team of three from a number of classes. Each class will have its own upgrade tree with some unique cards, but most cards will be usable regardless of class. This unfortunately means the classes aren’t that distinct. Each character can have up to four ‘cores’ and those cores can have two ‘mods’. The mods and the cores are what determine what you have in your deck during combat. It’s a nice balance of stream-lining your deck to ensure you have enough buffing or healing cards vs actual damage cards. You can’t really min/max that much, but the gameplay was quite fun. Unfortunately what you see in hour one, you’ll see in hour twenty, and combat doesn’t really change. There are some annoying location-based debuffs, but the combat did get a bit stale in the latter half of the game.
The main quest is always to obtain mothership location data from each Derelict, which in turn allows you to go to more Derelicts. But each location has a few side quests that come in the form of go kill a bad guy. Or bouncing between two locations to deliver supplies or information to people. The third type of quest are a puzzle to solve. Unfortunately a lot of the time they were so obscure they had to be brute-forced, and were quite a missed opportunity.
Characters & Story
Your team is completely chosen by you and there is no character development or personality in Deep Sky Derelicts. As they were unique to me I did feel a bit of an attachment to them however. And I was upset when they died during my first playthrough. All of the shop NPCs and characters you meet on the Derelicts have no personality. And the stories they give are the same between playthroughs even though the faces change.
The story is rather bare; go to derelicts, find location data, find Mothership, secure it. There is some exposition as to why the Derelicts exist, but nothing of particular interest.
Deep Skies Derelict is a fun game to start, with its deck-building mechanics. But once you get into the mid parts of the game at about 12 hours in, it becomes much more stale. By that point you’ve already broken the economy, seen the limited number of enemies you’ll encounter and there’s not really much point sticking around for the conclusion.
Feel like a game with a bit more story after that one? Why not check out our review for Outer Wilds?
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Some fun gameplay that goes stale in this bland world
- Overall - 6/106/10
+ Fun gameplay to start
+ Customizable decks
– Repetitive encounters
– Dull asthetic and bare Story