Explore abandoned ships in this very deep but rewarding roguelike.
Games with roguelike elements can often seem very daunting. Deep Sky Derelicts is no exception to that, with a lot of complex systems needing to be mastered in order to successfully explore a series of spaceships. If you can get past the steep learning curve, however, there’s a lot to like here.
The complexity of Deep Sky Derelicts’ mechanics is immediately apparent from the character creation screen, the first thing you see when starting a campaign. There are eight classes from which to build a party of three characters, and each provides different strengths and weaknesses that aren’t clear right away and will likely require experience to truly get a good handle on. I ended up restarting a couple times early on before I found a combination that really worked for me.
The bulk of the gameplay in Deep Sky Derelicts involves exploring abandoned spaceships, the titular derelicts. The primary objective within each ship is to acquire the data that will help lead you to a mythical mothership full of treasure, but there are also secondary missions of varying difficulties that can net you extra money or gear that will help you along the way. The ships are presented as an overhead grid, which switches to a comic book art style when you enter a specific room.
Battles in Deep Sky Derelicts use a card-based system, where the cards in a character’s deck are determined by their class and the equipment they’re using. This is another area that seems very complex at the start of the game. Weapons and tools have different levels and special stats, and can also be modified with up to two add-ons. There are also skill points to be allocated as a character levels up, and specializations to choose from.
While the learning curve in Deep Sky Derelicts is very steep, as I began to really understand how the systems work I enjoyed it more and more. There’s a lot of replay value here with the different classes and the ships being procedurally generated, and a greater understanding of the mechanics helped me appreciate how well they all work together. If you enjoy deep RPGs in sci-fi settings, Deep Sky Derelicts is worth the effort.