Duskers 0.21

Misfits Attic’s Duskers is out on Steam’s Early Access today!

Duskers Ship Layout

In Duskers, players pilot drones into derelict spaceships and search for resources and fuel.. and clues to why the universe is now a giant graveyard.  The drones are controlled via a command line interface, with a variety of commands to make the drones move around, engage motion sensors, power generators or interface with ships’ computers.

I knew that Jason would be interested in Duskers, so while I was finding it too uncomfortable to sit at my PC (thanks, bad back), I let him drive!

First up, the tutorial, or Drone Operator Training.

Duskers Drone Operator Training

The tutorial was really easy to follow and even provided a nice little strategy for dealing with the infestation that we’d later come across in the game.  It also taught the first commands to use in the rather intriguing command line system!

Duskers - Commands

This system has clearly been well thought out, and it’s robust.  Basic commands were easy to pick up, and from there, the more advanced commands weren’t difficult to understand and use.  Jason was unable to spell “navigate”.  Fortunately, you can begin typing a command and then hit tab, and it will complete the command for you 😉

The game and interface system has been really well designed and looks good.  We loved that the inside of the ships were dark, and only lit by the drones as they made their way through the space.  We were rather pleased that the different drones had slightly different coloured lights too!

Gameplay is pretty simple: send drones into ships, salvage loot, pinch tech.. there are objectives to be completed, of course, but simply raiding the ships is good fun too!  The darkness and sense of isolation and danger was fantastic.  At one point we were looking at the fuzzy outlines of something on the floor of the ship, and concluded that they were probably dead bodies!

In Jason’s words: “For a game that uses such a simple interface, I found my heart in my throat and my adrenaline pumping as I watched the motion sensor go from red to green as I flushed some unforeseen beasties around the ship and away from my drones.”

We did not expect Duskers to be quite so engaging already, and we could both see ourselves sinking many hours into the game, salvaging ships and avoiding whatever goes bump on the motion sensor.  The universe is large, with many galaxies and systems full of ships for the pillaging!

Duskers System

It’s not quite so simple as stomping through ships and taking their goodies, though.

Sometimes you can’t quite tell whether a room is clear, and Jason sent Tommy, the drone with the Gatling upgrade, into an unknown room just to see.  Unfortunately, we didn’t check the documentation for the use of Gatling (the drone has to engage it and stay still for it to stay engaged) and an enemy appeared and effortlessly batted Tommy down.. and left him stranded in the doorway between two rooms!  This was a double whammy too, as it meant we couldn’t shut the door, and now had two rooms in which that particular enemy could be hiding!

Jason was rather pleased when he discovered that you can open an airlock to flush unwanted enemies out into space.. I was less keen on using this as you’d also lose all the ungathered resources in that room.  Jason was in charge though, so he flushed the rooms.. and poor Tommy was also flushed to space!  I had hoped he could be rescued.. 🙁

Losing Tommy also meant losing his Gatling and Mine upgrades.

Duskers Lost Drone

Now, the game is early access, so there may be a few issues lurking around.

After nagivating a drone into a room via the command line.. we found it stuck on debris, and Jason was unable to drive it away again via the keyboard.  Fortunately, the command line came to the rescue and he was able to send the drone back out of the room.  Phew!

We also found that it seemed impossible to run the motion sensor on some rooms of the ship, and Jason couldn’t find anything in the in-game documentation to explain why.  We weren’t sure if this was a bug, or an intended limitation of the motion sensor, or even an oversight on using the available tools of the ship.

Duskers is incredible despite the Early Access label.  You can buy it on Steam, or via the website here.. and we recommend that you do 😉

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