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Deep Sky Derelicts: Definitive Edition

Posted by GG Goblin On March - 25 - 2020

Deck building and junk collecting in the depths of space.

In space, no-one can hear you scream. They also can’t hear you exploring abandoned spaceships, searching for loot and fighting off all manner of space nasties. Just because it can’t be heard, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening, and that is exactly what players will be doing in Snowhound Games’ Deep Sky Derelicts: Definitive Edition, which is now available on consoles. The roguelike RPG has been around for PC gamers for a while, but now players on Xbox One, PS4 and Switch, along with PC players, can pick up the Definitive Edition of Deep Sky Derelicts, which includes all of the improvements made to the game so far, along with a couple of pieces of DLC. So, gather your crew, check your energy levels and go find some junk.


The player won’t be scavenging just for the sake of scavenging though. There is a much bigger mystery at play here as the player is charged with finding a fabled Mothership that is floating somewhere in deep space. This ship is told to contain all manner of secrets from an ancient, long departed race, but no-one knows where it is. The answer is to scour all of the other derelict ships to find information about its location. The reward for this will be citizenship and a cushy life for the whole team. Until then though, the player will have to finance their own expeditions by taking on various contracts to keep the cash flowing and the equipment working.

The game starts with the player having to create their crew of three. I must admit that this was a little intimidating right out of the gate, as the player is presented with a whole lot of choices and not much by way of guidance. There are different classes to choose from for the team of three, along with different personalities, all of which change their abilities. There are also plenty of other customisation options, allowing players who love their stats to really go to town, but without any context it really comes down to luck for the new player as to whether their team will work with whatever tactics they choose. Of course, after playing for a while the player will learn what works and what doesn’t, and so picking a team will be much more informed. For those starting out though, there is nothing to do but hope the decisions are right and view at least the first run as something of a practice.

Tutorials do come up, teaching the player the basics of the game, and to be honest it is quite easy to get to grips with. However, it can be easy to miss information, and practice is the best way to learn. Once the team is created and the player has been given their secret mission, a hub area will give access to the rest of the game. From here the player can access various services, from places to buy equipment or get healed, to places for collecting contracts. These contracts vary in what they require, and will see the player being able to turn them in once complete for the all important cash to keep going, along with experience to improve their team.

Heading back to the hub will be something the player does on a regular basis, as everything in the game is dictated by energy. Once they have finished in the hub, the team can hop into a ship and zip off to one of the available derelicts to start exploring. These are presented on a star map and more will become available as the player progresses, with different derelicts being tagged with their potential difficulty.


Once they arrive on the derelict, everything that the team does will cost energy, and there is only a limited amount available. Run out and it is float off into space time. These abandoned ships are presented as grids, and moving around the grid will cost energy. Scanning to reveal what may be in certain squares of the grid is a great idea to prevent any nasty surprises, but that will cost more energy. Even combat will cost energy. Starting off, it will feel as though there will never be enough energy to fully explore a derelict ship, but fortunately this can be upgraded as the game goes on, giving access to more and more.

Some areas of the grid will provide loot after a quick search, while others may provide a self-contained contract to play out. Many will have nothing, but there is also the chance of ending up in a fight with some kind of space bad guys. The combat in Deep Sky Derelicts is all card based, and is done quite well. Basically, each character in the team has their own deck of cards, based on their class and equipment, and will draw a hand at random at the start of combat. Then there is initiative that dictates the order of play. Whichever character is in play, choose a card and the effects will play out. This carries on until one side of the conflict is defeated. The deck building side of the game is quite full, and the ability to change cards by changing or modding equipment is great, but many will still lament the random nature of drawing cards. In this respect, even the most carefully planned strategy can fall apart. Still, if you can accept the random nature, the combat is fun.

Visually, Deep Sky Derelicts has a magnificent graphic novel style. The visuals really are a highlight of the game, adding an atmosphere of deep space danger to each and every scene. The environments have a brilliant sense of dereliction, while the varied enemies that the player will be facing all look great and run the full library of space opponents, from bandits and aliens to robots. It really is a great looking game. The audio work is a little less inspired, presenting the player with a very quiet game.

Deep Sky Derelicts can be a slow game, especially for those who are just starting out and need to learn how to play. The random nature of the combat, combined with the occasional difficulty spike that pits the player against enemies too powerful, can be a little frustrating. Then there is the repetitive nature of the gameplay itself, which doesn’t vary that much as the player progresses, which can be off-putting.


Console gamers will be getting the best version of the game so far with Deep Sky Derelicts: Definitive Edition, and the included DLC is an added bonus. The RPG elements combined with the card-based combat will give players plenty to sink their teeth into, as long as they can overlook the randomness, and there is a lot of content here to enjoy. Those looking to take their roguelike experience into the depths of space will find a solid experience with gorgeous visuals.




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