The Backlog: ‘Deep Rock Galactic’: Dwarves, beer mugs and alien bugs

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Dwarves? Check. Giant alien bugs? Double check. In space? Triple check.  

Developed by Ghost Ship Games and published by Coffee Stain Publishing, “Deep Rock Galactic” is a one to four-player co-op FPS where players assume the roles of hardcore space dwarves who are mining on an alien planet for precious minerals.  

A lot of co-op shooters heavily focus on a single element of its game, like “Left 4 Dead” focusing on its horde-survival shooter; but “Deep Rock Galactic” has a little bit of everything without compromising any single aspect. It has a bit of a crafting system that allows players to craft upgrades for weapons and gear with special ores they find on missions. The game’s missions are all objective-based, with each one being different from the last. In one mission, you may be tasked with finding and collecting a specific kind of ore, while in another you may be collecting alien eggs. Or perhaps you’ll be defending a giant, mobile drill from endless swarms of alien bugs. There are many different biomes on the mineral-rich alien planet Hoxxes, and with more being added in new updates, each mission has a procedurally-generated map to ensure no two playthroughs will be alike. 

Along the way, you’ll be mining ore with your pickaxes or blasting away aliens with a vast array of weapons. Part of the game’s charm comes from the four unique, playable classes: the gunner, engineer, driller and scout. Each class has its own unique weapons, traversal tools and support items that can help the team out in a pinch. Since every class is unique, each one has a different playstyle and has its own strengths and weaknesses for certain missions. The engineer is really good at defending a single position with his automated sentry turrets, close-quarters shotgun and decoy grenades. Meanwhile, the scout is great at moving to and from objectives quickly with his increased movement, speed and personal grappling hook.  

“Deep Rock Galactic” gameplay gets fun and intense when the team is being swarmed by enemies. Some of the many alien bugs you encounter in the cavernous world of Hoxxes are large and armored, forcing players to maneuver around them to hit their weak spots, while others may fly around you and try to carry you away from your team. The variety of enemies, plus the included objectives, force players to think creatively in terms of how they should defend themselves while still making progress in the mission. No matter how many bugs you blow away, the action never gets old.  

As you level up your dwarves, you’ll be able to equip them with new cosmetics like different beards, mustaches, sideburns, hats and armor; or unlock new weapons and perks that will increase your chance of survival in the caves. With a mix of goofy cosmetics to choose from, paired with comically-bad voice lines, “Deep Rock Galactic” makes for an entertaining gameplay experience. Even at the gritty home base your dwarves reside in, you can explore it for many different buttons to press to cause chaos for you and your teammates. Maybe you’ll reset the gravity in the spaceship, or perhaps you’ll order a round of beers for you and your friends to black out from. 

An overall rewarding experience, “Deep Rock Galactic’s” stylish gameplay and amount of customization make for a near-endless and fantastic dwarven mining experience. Whether you’re playing in a team of four or running it solo in the caves with a robot friend, “Deep Rock Galactic,” is a must try for fans of the cooperative shooter genre. 

Rating: 5/5 

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