Review – Deep Sky Derelicts: Definitive Edition

Roguelike dungeon crawlers with card-based mechanics aren’t exactly the most unique games out there, but there’s always a title with a premise that manages to stand out due to a few creative mechanics or a really cool setting. Slay the Spire is the main example, a game that won me over due to its “easy to learn, not that hard to master, but still very rewarding” card combo system. It definitely wasn’t due to its setting or visuals, it was all about its gameplay. Developed by Snowhound Games and published by 1C Entertainment, the same publisher behind underwhelming experiences like Eternity: The Last Unicorn and Devil’s Hunt, the definitive edition of 2017’s Deep Sky Derelicts is the latest roguelike dungeon crawler to arrive in the market. Let’s take a closer look at it.

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Meet my band of misfits.

This game really doesn’t do a good job of captivating you right from the get-go. It starts off with a complex character creation screen, in which you are tasked to create your team of three mercenaries. You’re free to decide their roles and stats, but Deep Sky Derelicts doesn’t give you a proper rundown of what each class is. You’re just thrown into a character creator and told to figure things out. After this brief introduction, you’re greeted to a small comic book-esque cutscene that does a passable job at explaining why you’ve got a team and why you’re going to become space scavengers. You’ll be thrown into the game proper afterwards.

Deep Sky Derelicts‘ main gameplay revolves around accepting a contract in the main hub and then travelling to a nearby derelict ship in order to explore it and collect as much loot as possible, as well as looking for clues that’ll eventually lead you to a much coveted ship your main employer is searching for. The game then proceeds to your typical dungeon crawling experience, with randomized rooms, pickups to collect and enemies to defeat. Rinse and repeat until you eventually get fed up of it.

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These combat panels might not feature animations, but they’re still pretty damn cool.

The dungeon exploration bit is really disappointing. Maps are presented as a bunch of square tiles with absolutely no detail or attempt to immerse the player into the exploration. The underwhelming soundtrack only adds insult to injury. I get that you’re not supposed to have a grandiose soundtrack in a game set inside abandoned ships, but give me something passable at least!

You will only actually see your characters onscreen if you find loot or engage in a battle. This is Deep Sky Derelicts‘ highlight. It’s a turn-based deck building RPG full of different cards to use. It doesn’t feature the same amount of combos and amazing strategies you could pull off in Slay the Spire, but it’s still, without a doubt, the most entertaining bit in the entire game. Not only because the combat mechanics are solid, but also because every action is presented in a comic book panel. The lack of animations is disappointing, granted, but the quality of the drawings is really impressive.

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Hey bud, do you wanna run away? I don’t think you have a chance…

Deep Sky Derelicts is a flawed roguelike dungeon crawler, but its positives still manage to slightly outweigh its negatives. With a bit of patience, you’ll be eventually greeted to complex yet enjoyable combat and progression systems, as well as a lot of replayability due to the randomly generated dungeons. If you ever decide to grab this one, make sure you buy it for the Switch. Its portable nature is best suited for a game like this, which is mostly enjoyable in short bursts before the annoying UI starts annoying you to death.

 

Graphics: 7.0

The comic book-inspired art direction is great, especially on the Switch’s smaller screen, but the lack of animations and severely disappointing dungeon crawling map screen are major letdowns.

Gameplay: 8.0

There is a very complex character creator system at the beginning of the game, which is poorly explained and presented. The overall exploration is simplistic and underwhelming, but the combat system is very enjoyable.

Sound: 5.5

If there’s one thing you’re never going to pay attention to while playing this game, that’s its soundtrack. It’s not necessarily bad, but it’s just… there.

Fun Factor: 7.0

This a roguelike dungeon crawler with a great setting and combat system. Sadly, most of the game’s mechanics are poorly explained to players and being constantly stuck on a boring exploration screen will bore them quickly. It’s great in shorter bursts, though.

Final Verdict: 7.0

Deep Sky Derelicts: Definitive Edition is available now on PS4, Xbox One, PC and Switch.

Reviewed on Switch.

A copy of Deep Sky Derelicts: Definitive Edition was provided by the publisher.