It isn’t often that I buy games on a whim. I usually have a mountain of information at my disposal before making a purchase. Even if I haven’t sought it out to begin with, I usually have a good idea about the games I think might interest me. I’m definitely guilty of dismissing things too easily when perhaps I should give them more of a chance, however. There’s so much going on these days that it’s easy to be trigger happy with the decision to dismiss something. So, when I bought Deep Rock Galactic the other day based entirely on viewing one trailer, and that my friends wanted to play something different plus the fact that it only cost £16… I surprised myself – but not as much as the game surprised me. It’s brilliant.
Deep Rock Galactic (or DRG) is a 4 player co-op game set in procedurally generated, 100% destructible environments that are filled with dangers lurking every step of the way. So. why brave those dangers? Well, those sweet, sweet goodies won’t mine themselves. That’s where you and your team of mining dwarves come in. Mining is what they do, though I don’t think I’m very good at being a dwarf as I spend more time setting things on fire than I do mining minerals… but that’s pretty standard for me. If it’s possible to set things on fire in a game that is generally what you’ll find me doing; much to my friend’s consternation when it’s them feeling the heat.
There are 4 classes of Dwarf to choose from – Scout, Engineer, Digger & Gunner – each one has a different loadout and skills. The scout is in charge of lighting up areas and has a grappling hook for manoeuvring in tricky areas. The Engineer can create platforms to help the team get around and constructs turrets for defence. The Gunner can create zip-lines and layout a hailstorm of bullets on the enemy. I’ve been playing as a Digger and that means my job is to dig paths through the environment and throw flames at everything that moves. Coordination is key, though sticking together doesn’t ensure success. Particularly when you encounter enemies that detonate themselves and kill everyone in the process. I’ve seen some hefty craters being created, let’s just leave it at that.
The destructible environments play a big role in the game. As the classes make clear, manipulating the environment to reach the minerals and achieve objectives – while avoiding death – is the name of the game. It isn’t easy though, as my friend Kyle found out when he fell 100ft to his death through a hole carved by the supply drop he’d called in earlier. It’s fairly well polished for an early access title and there’s been plenty of variety to keep things interesting. As we’ve progressed we’ve encountered various enemy types and different environmental hazards. I’ve been frozen by ice geysers, poisoned by deadly gasses and blown up by exploding plants. It’s good fun and that’s what’s most important.
I almost forgot the best part, as part of the character customisation you can buy a moustache called “The Swanson”, 10/10 would heartily recommend.
Deep Rock Galactic is available on Steam as part of the Early Access programme.