Deep Rock Galactic is a game about going to work, assuming your job is to extract space minerals from a shattered planet occupied by trillions of giant, murderous bugs. If it isn’t, it’s not too hard to pretend, and DRG’s another-day-at-the-office wit lends it a likeable levity that’s partly why I’ve played it almost every week for a year and a half.
The randomly generated caves of Hoxxes IV – which span numerous biome types and mix up claustrophobic, ambush-ripe tunnels with gigantic underground chasms – help stave off feelings of repetition, the natural enemy of co-op PvE shooters like this. But making your characters a bunch of hard-drinking, blunt-talking dwarves was the real masterstroke: the framing, of it being an honest day’s work if it’s spent squelching through waist-high piles of crawler remains to retrieve a blue rock, does a surprising amount of heavy tone lifting. If you make it back to the orbital drop pod intact, it’s a literal job well done, and if you don’t? At least you wake up back on the main rig, with a breezy, company-provided medical gown. Mondays, eh.
As for the nitty-gritty, there are a bunch of mission types to accept – my favourite has you building pipelines for a giant mining pump, which you can arrange neatly or into cursed helter skelters of snaking metal – and four completely distinct classes of playable dwarf. These fellows all have their own traversal tool, which adds another, sometimes downright gleeful dimension to DRG that elevates it above most 4-player horde games. It’s no movement shooter, but I rarely get bored of the Scout class’s grappling hook, which I pair with a special shotgun mod to jump-zip around caves like a pudgy, bearded spider. Y’know, for work.