Deep Sky Derelicts is a combination of a number of games elements mushed together. You have a turn-based strategy RPG using a card-based combat system with roguelike elements all in a comic book graphic style. This is the type of game I am generally intimidated on and would never play. I must have gotten in a Humble Bundle. Nevertheless, this project is to play all games in my collection at least three hours, and when I went “eeny meeny miny moe” this is what came up.
So, onto the game, you start out with zero tutorial, but you must pick your three-person crew. There are several character types to play from. Now I have played enough RPGs to figure out which one is basically a tank, DPS, or healer. As far as the other characteristics, I just mashed the randomize button until I got my motley crew of The Rat Bastards. How could I resist? You can then pick normal or hardcore, and I went normal.
The story on the surface seems like some movie plot I have come across in the past. “Want to gain the ability to not be the pond scum of the galaxy, do some shady stuff, and we will give you a better rank in society.” You set off to find some data on some derelict ships around your station. At least there are water and cookies served on the shuttle service to get to these derelict ships.
You have basically energy points, you can upgrade the amount as you go, that restricts the number of things you can do on each trip. Each movement costs you energy as well as surveying the area. The ship you are on is a giant grid board. Each square has a chance to have nothing, something to loot, on-board computer, enemy, or another random encounter. Moving around is a matter of clicking on the next square you want to go to, and hopefully, you don’t get interrupted on your move to the new zone.
When you do enter combat, you have a bunch of different types of cards to choose from that change with the kind of character and gear each character has. I would generally be super intimidated by this. Still, I will say doing my blog on Slay the Spire has helped me get over a lot of my fear and resistance of card combat style games. You battle it out to win experience and, hopefully, sweet loots. When you level up your character, each has their own specialized skill tree. I only made it to level 5 in my 3-hour play session, so I did not get to go deep into anyone’s tree.
The loot took me a bit to really understand. You have four main items for each character that seems to be type-specific, and then you can have up to two mods per item. These all play an effect on what cards are in each character’s deck for battles. The battles do have a comic scene to relate what happened, like if you landed a hit or evaded. This does get kind of old watching, so I was very excited when I could just click as soon as it pops up to make it go away more quickly.
I did also find a lot of quirky humor in the dialog within the game as you come across different other quests or tasks in the game. Depending on some of your speaking skills, like if you have a leader, you can get through some things based on charisma.
After you get enough money, you can upgrade some of your group equipment like how far you can scan or how much energy you can store. There is also a tavern where you can pick up mercenaries and contracts. I am guessing mercenaries is for when a teammate dies since it seems three is the max. This is only a guess because when I did finally lose someone on a toxic ship, which that ship is no fun, I lost the whole team.
This is where the roguelike elements come into play, you are done. You get to either load your last save point or start over. I did start a new team just to see if the gameplay would be different. The story is the same, but you do begin with different ships to search. This is good since there would be a reason to replay the game if you finish the story.
Overall, I am delighted to have tried this game. I know I wouldn’t have without this project to play all my collection, so this really was a hidden gem for me. I decided to add Fell Seal and Stygian to my wishlist for the next sales. I hope other games from 1C Entertainment are just as good. I recommend this game to anyone that likes card games, space genre, and turn-based strategy.
Game: Deep Sky Derelicts
Developer: Snowhound Games
Publisher: 1C Entertainment
Initial Release Date: September 26, 2019