Someone brought up an interesting point in the comments the last time we posted about Deep Rock Galactic: given the lack of any reference points, how do we know these space dwarves are actually dwarves? They could be towering monstrosities that make us humans look like dormice. But then, what does it actually mean to be a dwarf? Rather than being a matter of size, could it be about achieving a certain state of mind? An outlook? A philosophy?
You could spend this evening pondering those important questions, but if you really want you could play the game instead: Deep Rock Galactic's blend of co-op mining and bug blasting is now available to everyone willing to brave the early access rock face. I had a quick go with it a couple of weeks ago, which means I can now bestow the game with a tentative thumbs up.
I say tentative, because I really didn't play for that long and it wasn't under the best conditions. It's designed with four player co-op in mind, and I was sat by my lonesome on the show floor of the PC Gamer Weekender, a quaint little Rezzed tribute event. It also didn't help that I took over from someone who'd already wound their way deep into one of the procedurally generated caves, which meant I had no idea where I was or how I was supposed to fill the alien egg counter demanded by the top right of my screen.
Despite not having a clue what I was doing, I had fun bumbling around Deep Rock Galactic's prettily lit caverns. For some of the time I could potter about in peace, but every so often waves of bugs would come clattering out of the darkness. That lead to an enjoyable, Killing Floor-esque panic as I was forced to back further and further into a dead end. My shotgun felt hefty in a way that games often aim for but usually miss, and it was neat seeing my grenades tear apart the terrain. If I can find some willing partners in mine, I'd be keen to delve back in and see how those situations escalate with a full compliment of four.
Then again, I might wait until the devs are a little further along: the game will spend the next 1-2 years in early access. The devs say they're still working on improving the "Core Game Loop", which they've put in capitals so it must be important. After that, they plan on adding more game modes and varied caves with separate biomes, as well as tools, gadgets and more character classes.
Deep Rock Galactic is out on Steam Early Access for £19/€23/$25.