Drones, Derelicts And Survival Horror: Duskers

Late last year, I reviewed a game called Deadnaut, which follows gangs of expendable fools exploring derelict vessels in space. Then they die. It wasn’t a big release and its combination of well-pitched glitchy graphics and palindromic doom mood only carried it so far, but I’m glad to have played it. Duskers looks like it’ll be exploring similar territories – murky, poorly lit ship interiors, seen through the optical equipment of drones sent to explore the darkest corners of a world gone dark.

It’s regulardark rather than grimdark, I reckon. A world become a graveyard. Spooks. But how does it all work? With a command line interface and tactical trickery, that’s how.

Perma-death in a procedurally generated galaxy. Sounds delightfully dreadful, and I mean that in the nicest possible way.

In film terms it’s The Road meets the first Alien movie. In game terms: It’s a rougelike with elements of dungeon crawling and real time strategy, but in a survival horror setting that focuses on subterfuge, and adapting to survive.

That’s from the Steam page – Early Access beings August 13th – and apart from the rogue/rouge slip, it all sounds very promising. I’m slightly concerned the command line input method will be too clever for my feeble brain but I’m willing to give it a shot.

11 Comments

  1. Thirith says:

    I haven’t yet watched the trailers, but my first thought at the top screenshot was this: Paradroid is back. (Paradroid updated for 2015 could actually make for a very cool indie game; it shouldn’t be turned into anything AAA, because it needs a certain minimalism.)

    • michaelkoloch says:

      Thanks for that! I played that game years ago and totally forgot how it was called. I would like to make a game like this or even a remake. Let’s see if there is time.

    • JiminyJickers says:

      You may want to have a look at Biodrone Battle on Steam (link to store.steampowered.com). It looks like an attempt to remake it but I’m not sure how close it is. I quite enjoyed Paradroid back on my C64.

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      Hodge says:

      Also Droid Assault from a few years back.

    • Geebs says:

      Looks more like a cross between Quadralien and the Logo programming language to me.

  2. JiminyJickers says:

    This does look quite good, would be keen to try it out. I really like the graphics as well.

  3. Shadow says:

    Look interesting, but I’ve a bit of a nitpick: I’m not sure “survival horror” can apply when the protagonists are remotely-controlled “dumb” robots, and their operator’s life is never in danger. I believe there needs to be a human/sapient at risk for there to be any horror or visceral need to survive, so to speak. Hard to explain, but there’s a different, more sterile connection with the main characters are plain, uncomplicated machines.

    • Shadow says:

      with the main characters when they’re*

    • eightohnine says:

      I certainly know where you’re coming from and your injection has been the basis of many a “remote-controlled killing by drones” discussion IRL. But I’m not sure if this notion translates to games directly. After all, we gamers have no problem in identifying ourselves with basically any kind of unlikely protagonist, be it an italian plumber, a souped-up supercar, a fabulous rainbow-spitting unicorn or any other kind of creature/machine-mix. Not controlling a human in-game doesn’t reduce the suspense and horror that you can feel. To put it another way, say the backstory of Slender made you out to remote control a robot – would the game become any less terrifying?

    • geldonyetich says:

      In this case, it’s more like you’re trapped in a cramped tin can in an endless, airless void with only crude mechanical droids offering imperfect glimpses into haunted derelict spacecraft as a means of escape.

  4. vahnn says:

    I really really really really really realyl really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really erally want to play this.

    Yes, I typed all those out.