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Necro-Nauty But Nice: Deadnaut

Whenever I’ve been away from my computer for a couple of days, I browse through new releases on Steam and elsewhere, hoping that something interesting will have slithered outta nowhere like an RKO. Usually I’m at least vaguely aware of a games existence long before it’s actually available to buy, which means I rarely enjoy an experience like the one that went along with my discovery of Deadnaut this morning. It’s from the creators of the personality-packed and almost-great Zafehouse: Diaries, has a demo, and it sounds like Dungeon of the Endless meets Space Hulk by way of Betrayal at House on the Hill. It shall be mine.

What do we think of the name? Deadnaut? It’s a bit silly isn’t it?

Deadnauts, so named because they’re unlikely to return, must explore, investigate and fight their way through the derelict ships of dead civilisations.

With that little description it becomes a great name. Imagine being the person who signs up to become a Deadnaut? The person hiring doesn’t even wait until the job description to tell you that you’re going to spend a short career surrounded by dead things while you wait to die – they put it right there in the job title. They didn’t even jazz it up by going with Necronaut and in a world where the local council probably refers to the bin-bloke as a refuse relocation facilitator, that shows a distinct lack of respect for the feelings of Deadnauts everywhere.

“I want to grow up to be an astronaut! I’ll sail the stars!” “I want to grow up to be a Deadnaut. I’ll sail the DEAD.”

I like games that have user interface built into the fiction. Uplink is probably my favourite example of that particular device and I won’t know how well Deadnaut’s implementation works until I play the blasted thing, which I’ll be doing as soon as I have a couple of hours spare. Hopefully later today.

Here’s the feature list:

Squad-based tactics: Control five complex characters as they explore, investigate and fight their way through each mission

Character generation: Create back stories for your team, mould their relationships and equip them well

Every game is unique: Dynamically-generated missions and campaigns ensure no two mysteries are the same

Flexible and complex: Adapt to your situation with an arsenal of weapons and shields, or use stealth, hacking and sensors to move unnoticed

Out of control: Deadnauts have their own fears, motivations and dispositions. Stay in charge, keep in contact, don’t let them out of your sight

I’ve seen complaints about the lack of a tutorial but I’ve also seen lots of excitement about the mystery and the horror of it all. Quite how the creatures on board each ship are generated, I don’t know, but it seems like there are plenty of unpleasant surprises. What you don’t know can and will kill you. You’re a Deadnaut after all.

Try the demo immediately.

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Adam Smith

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