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Deep Rock Galactic: Survivor Early Access Review – Outstanding

Deep Rock Galactic: Survivor is a single-player spin-off of the beloved co-op shooter Deep Rock Galactic and is developed by Funday Games and published by Ghost Ship Publishing. This auto-shooter has blasted into early access on February 14 and draws inspiration from Vampire Survivors, throwing you, a lone dwarf, against waves of enemies on the hostile planet Hoxxes. I haven’t been too enthused about the latest sprawl of survivor games, but this one has got its hooks in me deep and its super fun.

If you already loved playing Deep Rock Galactic, you will feel right at home with the diverse dwarf classes and their iconic weaponry. The only downside is this game is singleplayer only so sadly no co-op, which is a big appeal of the original game. There is still a heap of fun to be had though where each class plays differently with unique strengths and weaknesses. Starting with the basic classic Scout’s nimble firepower, you can unlock the Engineer’s defensive turrets, a driller and a gunner, so there is a dwarf for every playstyle. Mastering their arsenals and synergies is key to survival.

There is a deep progression system within Deep Rock Galactic: Survivor so every run, no matter how poorly you think you did, contributes resources and gold to the cause. Each run allows you to potentially unlock new weapons, perks, and passive upgrades which will help with the next run. Experimentation is encouraged, allowing you to create powerful builds that suit your playstyle. Despite how chaotic and manic each mission can get as time goes on and more aliens swarm in, you are snapped back to reality once the next drop ship lands. You have 30-seconds to get to it with a bright green waypoint guiding your way, otherwise the mission is over.

Resource gathering plays a crucial role within each mission and you will have a list of objectives to aim for. You’ll need to mine gold and nitra to purchase upgrades and call-in supply drops once the marked area has been cleared of debrit, keeping your defenses strong. It doesn’t matter if the supply drop zone is swarming with enemies. In fact, it’s worth your while to have a swarm follow you right as the drop happens as they’ll get squished into a heap of xp shards to swoop up. This adds a strategic layer to the action, forcing you to balance combat with resource collection.

It took some getting used to initially, working out how best to utilise the auto firing weapons. You have to remember they while ammo is infinite, you still need to reload each clip which takes time. Over successive missions I learned that you don’t have to panic when a huge swarm charges your position. Once you have most of the swarm around you, you can work out clever ways to create kill zones by mining narrow paths through the rock. You will be constantly levelling up and each time you can unlock a perk such as extra damage, faster reload, higher crit chance, and eventually unlocking new weapons.

I loved using the gun that fires in four directions. Couple that with the shotgun or sniper rifle and gain a few levels to pump up the damage and reload times and you can become quite the killing machine. This became important when elite bugs spawned, and even more so on level 5 where you have multiple alien pods and elites to take out. The game runs super smooth and I love the wise cracks that the dwarves make, adding some humour to the chaos happening on screen.

Despite being in early access, Deep Rock Galactic: Survivor is already a ton of fun with a unique blend of auto-shooting and resource management. Fans of the original game will appreciate the familiar classes and weapons, while newcomers can enjoy the frenetic action and deep progression of the survival mechanics. The only downside is it’s not co-op but as a single player offering, it’s a fantastic game. I am keen to see the game evolve further over the early access period.

Funday Games has released a living roadmap for the Early Access phase that details upcoming updates and additions to gameplay that includes a new biome, overclocks and artifacts to enhance combat and new mission types, stage events and modes. You can view the roadmap here.

This early access review utilised a key provided by Swipe Right PR and Deep Rock Galactic: Survivor is out now on Steam early access.


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