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Deep Sky Derelicts Preview

2017-09-06

Deep Sky Derelicts is a game about the exploration of derelict space ships and takes place in the distant future with people scattered all over the universe and the society split into rich and poor. The rich people live as citizens on the surface of habitable planets and the poor have a lot worse housing arrangements. Derelict space scavengers like you, live of the scrap they can find on derelict space ships. Everybody who isn't yet, dreams to become a citizen one day to live on a planet's surface. That would normally be very difficult to accomplish but you will be offered the chance to Achieve this. You will receive a contract where you have to search for a special derelict spaceship, which nobody has been able to find yet and that is very important for the one handing you the contract.  Near the end of the game you will finally be able to locate the exact position of this fabled derelict spaceship.

At the moment the game starts, you are far away from knowing that location and need to take on contracts in order to make a living and go through the data of each derelict ship so that you might find more information to take you a step closer to your end goal. Once you find out about new locations they will appear on your star map allowing you to travel to it.

The graphics of the game have a comic book style to make it look like a retro science-fiction comic book from the 1980's. The conversation are also done in that comic book style using rectangular text balloons.

The game is a combination of turn-based strategy and RPG with turn-based combat. All combat that takes place is inside of the derelict ships.  The combat is based on cards that you have in a deck. It is however not a Computer Card Game, but it has elements of that. Dmytro from Showhound games, who was explaining the game to me, feels that even the best of the turn-based strategy games suffer from this one flaw, which is that once you discover the tactic that works for you, you can use it endlessly and the game becomes too easy. They wanted to avoid that and for that they introduced the cards, which makes sure that every fight is different as there is a degree of randomness in what kind of cards you Get to use in a fight.

You start the game at the base, where in the lair you can hire new mercenaries and get contracts. There also is a shop where you can trade goods and in a later stage of development, the medical ward where you can heal will be available and also the research lab will become available to be able to study some of the remnants you have found in the derelict ships and get valuable information from them.
You can get contracts by paying for them at the base or from NPCs on the derelict ships, which you would need to reach first then.

The demo has three classes, but in the final game there will be eight. For now I could choose a Scrapper, a universal character with a proficiency in scavenging, an Assassin which is more combat oriented and a medic, which is a supporting character.
Hiring mercenaries obviously cost money and even though at the beginning you don't have much money, there was enough for hiring one mercenary and getting one contract. I went with the assassin class for myself and hired a scrapper. After that I got myself a contract and went to my first derelict ship. You get there by selecting where you want to go on the star map and what ship you want to use to get you there.

When you enter the derelict ship you make use of your PDA to move on the ship in a turn-based fashion, using a set of connected tiles. When you first enter the ship you don't get to detect too many tiles, but as you move forward, more and more tiles will become available. Some of these tiles have symbols on them, indicating that there is something of interest. Normally you can only see the tile in front of you, but the PDA also has a scanner and that shows you the contents of a number of tiles in front of you. Scanning will cost energy and if your energy reaches zero, it is basically game over. Energy can be replenished by using energy cells.
On some of the tiles you will find friendly NPCs on some you will find unfriendly ones and on others there is loot or something else to do. Some tiles are locked, but there are ways to unlock them, which you need to discover first. I managed to find energy cells and weapons. In my inventory on my PDA, I checked which weapon was better and equipped the better one I just found. Weapons can be better, based on the damage they do, but also because of the bonus they provide. Some weapons provide you with a better initiative, allowing you to go first in combat, or provide a better critical hit, or something else. Each weapon you have equipped and also any other type of gear you are wearing have a number of cards assigned to them. These cards will be part of your deck. About 90% of the cards in your deck will be originating from your gear, the remaining percentage will come from your skill tree, which contains more unique cards.

You get to improve your skills whenever you level up and spent your ability points on the skills that are unlocked. More skills will unlock during the game when you level up. Each of these skills has three ranks, improving the effects of the skill with every rank.
Once you reach level 4 a specialization will unlock and you can select one specialization you would like to follow, that originates from the other classes. With this they want to give you more options to tune your character to your liking.

I managed to reach a tile that resulted in a fight. At the start of the combat a number of cards will be randomly selected from your deck. In combat you will have 1 action per turn and in principle only one card can be played, although there are some ways to play more cards. I had, for example, in the cards that were before me a card that allowed me to play it, reach in my deck, get 4 random cards and select one of them. After that I still had 1 action and could select the new card or any of the other ones. A combat action is animated in the comic book style of the game and you get to see how much damage you did. Some of the cards only harm the one you attack, but some of the cards also have an area effect. The same applies for your hired mercenaries, who's cards you can also play, and the enemies you encounter.
As the cards are randomly selected from your deck, there is not one way to solve all fights. However at the early stage I was in, the fights were not too difficult, so I managed to survive, but I was told that in later stages it becomes much more difficult and tactics become even more important than it already is.

I knew next to nothing about the game before I came to Gamescom and I did not have enough time to play the game and check more things out, but I enjoyed myself with the game more than I actually expected. The cartoonish graphics and the comic book style of presentation might give an impression that this is a simple game, but there looks to be quite a bit of complexity hidden beneath that graphical layer. I will certainly will look forward to try it out more of it in October this year when it becomes available on Steam Early Access.

You can check out the trailer below and the screenshots we have on the game.

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Box Art

Information about

Deep Sky Derelicts

Developer: Snowhound Games

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Sci-Fi
Genre: Action-RPG
Combat: Turn-based
Play-time: Unknown
Voice-acting: Unknown

Regions & platforms
World
· Homepage
· Platform: PC
· To be announced
· Publisher: 1C Company

More information