It's been a while since I've taken a peek at Deep Rock Galactic, a compelling blend of Minecraft and Left 4 Dead starring a gang of surly space-dwarves. I was starting to worry that like so many early access multiplayer games, it had fizzled out - I'm happy Ghost Ship Games have proven me wrong. Today's update brings a new top-tier difficulty setting and some new beasties to battle underground, including grenade-spraying robots. I'm also happy to report that there's plenty of players around; the past few updates have done the game good. Check out the patch video below.
Update 21 - Going Lethal - is a big one, and with an interesting mix of upgrades for both new players and veterans. You can see the full patch notes here, but the most immediately visible change is a trio of new enemies. There's a weird flying electrical jellyfish that appears in large swarms, a big armoured rolling pill bug and an evil version of your MULE pack-robot. Apparently earlier versions of the mech had much more firepower, and fewer safety protocols. If you get all the alien parasites off its hull and beat it into submission, it'll join your crew for the rest of the mission. The update also includes an overhaul of the enemy spawning system and how difficulty works in general, plus a re balance of several weapons.
This is building upon the foundation set by the last few patches. Update 20 overhauled Bosco, the buddy-bot that accompanies you if you play solo. You can now alter his weapons and modules, letting him play different roles. If you'd rather have a medic than another gunner, that's possible. Update 19 added another eight types of guns. The game got a bit easier to understand for newbies in Update 18, as it now opens on a 9-mission introductory campaign focused on the different biomes and core enemy types. All of this has done wonders for how many players are available - the game was on the ropes back in August, according to Steam Charts, but you should have no trouble finding people to play with now.
Last month, Ghost Ship Games updated their roadmap for the game. Later this month they'll be celebrating a full year in early access, and over the course of March, April and May there's a lot of good stuff coming. While nothing's set in stone yet, they've got plans for more enemies, a new type of mission, a new boss-type enemy to trade shots with and other goodies. Here's hoping its fortunes continue to grow - it's a rather clever little game, in all of its loud shootiness. The final version is due out sometime this year, if all goes to plan.
Deep Rock Galactic is still in early access, and 25% off in the Steam Lunar New Year Sale for £14.24/€17.24/$18.74. Alternatively, the Windows Store has it for £19.24/€22.99/$25 - that version is Windows 10 exclusive, but offers cross-play with Xbox One users. It's published by Coffee Stain.