Co-op space dwarf sim shooter Deep Rock Galactic is free to try out for the weekend, celebrating an eventful full year in early access. Ghost Ship Games have poured a lot of love and effort into this odd blend of Minecraft and Left 4 Dead, adding a new introductory campaign, improving single-player and adding scads of new caverns, monsters and guns since its debut. It’s come along so well that they reckon they’ll be increasing the price near the end of the month, but players can still get in cheap if they like what they play free now. I recommend giving it a try, even if you play solo.
If you’re not digging too greedily and too deep in Deep Rock Galactic, you’re doing it wrong. Its missions are simple – fill your quota of a certain mineral, or a certain number of alien eggs, load them up into your handy MULE robot, go home, drink beer. There’s also lava, deadly acid-spitting plants, giant alien bugs of a dozen kinds and the occasional rogue infested robot to deal with. Each player has a class (Gunner, Engineer, Scout, Miner), though everyone has a pick-axe and an endless sack of flares to light the way. While you’ll be relying on each other in co-op, when playing solo you have Bosco, a floating drone who can mine stuff too high up to reach, shoot bugs, and later be customised to fit your favoured role.
There’s a nice rhythm to the game, and it’s fun even with just one or two players, but best with a full squad covering all bases. Engineers can build temporary platforms to mine from, and larger caverns often become a maze of motorised zip-lines allowing you to scoot around to higher areas – Pathfinder players in Apelegs will know the deal.
There’s been some big quality-of-life improvements since launch too, including a mineral scanner that’ll show you where to dig to reach nearby concealed caverns. The new in-game tutorials paired with early missions to introduce all the biomes, hazards and job types makes it far more accessible too, before revealing its true depths at higher difficulties.
Deep Rock Galactic is free to try this weekend on Steam. The full game is also discounted until just after the free weekend, bringing it down to £14.24/€17.24/$18.74. Near the end of the month, Ghost Ship and publisher Coffee Stain plan on raising the price to £25/€28/$30 as they enter the final stages of development, so if you like it, now’s the time to pick it up.