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Game Review: Duskers - ComiConverse

Game Review: Duskers

August 1st, 2016 | by Alan Stock
Review of: Duskers
Price:
Recommended

Reviewed by:
Rating:
4
On August 1, 2016
Last modified:September 26, 2016

Summary:

Sci-fi lovers will enjoy this; a survival game full of atmosphere and tension, but it requires investment by the player.

Duskers by Misfits Attic is a Sci-Fi/Horror style game, which is available for Windows, Linux and Macs. Here, our Alan Stock breaks down everything you need to know in our ComiConverse review.

In space, no one can hear you type.

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They’re dead. They’re all dead. It was over in a just a few minutes. Now I’m alone. I’ve ran out of fuel, I’m stranded. I don’t even have enough scrap to repair my wrecked drones. It’s over. All I can do now is wait for the air to run out.

I should have got my drones out when I had the chance. They’re my lifeline, my only means to gather supplies from the floating derelicts out there. This time, I pushed too far.

Duskers Game Review

You can control a drone directly from this camera feed view. Great for getting out of dangerous situations or spotting threats your computer misses. Its full of static and sometimes it will cut out without warning. Ships are dark and your flashlight only has a small vision cone. Best explore those dark corners. Credit: Duskers by Misfits Attic.

Duskers: One Player’s Tragic Tale

I was doing fine. I’d boarded the ship with my little drone fleet and was systematically exploring, carefully unsealing each room at a time, scanning for threats. I carefully drove a scout drone ahead, using its staticky camera feed to explore the darkness, leaving my other drones in safety until I knew the coast was clear. I already managed to evade an unknown hostile alien infestation using my sensors, and I discovered a wrecked drone which I towed back to my boarding ship. If I survived, I could repair it later and add a reserve to my fleet. It never happened.

I even managed to hack into a terminal, giving me control of the ship-wide defense system. But just then I heard the ancient ship groaning and creaking loudly. Something was going wrong. My computer messaged me; I had lost access to close any doors on the ship. That’s when I should have called it a day, brought my troops home. But I was too greedy. Just one more room, I had everything under control….

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The schematic (map) screen – from here you can issue commands to your drones and easily open doors, see sensor results and have a better strategic overview. But not everything is visible on this screen, its wise to hop into drone view as well to help avoid nasty surprises.  Credit: Duskers by Misfits Attic.

But when you are exploring a 200-year old ship on its last girders, unpredictable things happen. A few minutes later, another giant groan, the sound of twisting metal and an alarm started to blare – deadly radiation leak in Room 6! No problem, no need to panic – I just have to seal it off before it seeps into the rest of the ship, just close the doors and contain it. Just close the doors. Except the doors are broken. Oh ****.

Panic. Fingers flying across the keyboard, issuing frantic typed instructions to the drones to get the hell out, get back to the boarding ship, outrun the radiation spreading throughout the derelict. In my panic I make a typo, “command not recognized” the computer helpfully tells me. Take a breath, retype it. My drones amazingly are still alive, trundling back through the corridors to my docked boarding ship, radiation seeping into the rooms behind them. “Open A7” I type, to open the airlock door, as Cori, my first drone approaches. “Drone 1 is taking damage” the computer tells me. What?! I thought he was safe!

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I switch to Cori’s camera feed. Oh no. The aliens! A swarm of… something… is all over him. He’s disabled in seconds. The other drones are nearly there. The rooms are filling with radiation. But this swarm is in my boarding ship now. It doesn’t matter, I have no choice, its death by radiation if I don’t send my drones here. Maybe I can still get them off this hulk.

As Nathan and Marvin arrive the swarm mercilessly descends on them. I can hear it buzzing furiously through their speakers. Each camera feed goes down. I’m down to Sally, my last drone. The swarm is occupied, tearing Marvin to pieces, as I drive her into the docking bay. I type “exit” when she is inside, maybe I can still escape despite the madness.

Duskers Game Review

The swarm devours my poor drones inside the boarding ship. On the message feed you can see radiation is flooding throughout the derelict. Just another day in ship graveyard paradise. Credit: Duskers by Misfits Attic.

“Cannot execute – Hostile presence in boarding ship”. Of course. Sally goes down in a crackle and a whirl of buzzing. At least I’ll have the last laugh. I leave the airlock door open and the radiation soon floods in. The swarm falls to the floor, dead. Good riddance. Now I can bring the boarding ship home, full of drone wrecks. I leave behind a ruined shell, flooded with radiation.

I made it back with a few salvageable drone wrecks, but I don’t have enough scrap to refit them, or enough fuel to continue. I wish, before I died, I had uncovered the mystery about what caused this apocalypse. Humanity is gone, leaving behind only derelict ships and stations scattered through the universe. Log files and messages have given me a few clues and lines of inquiry to pursue, but that hope is gone now. Maybe one day, someone will find my notes and piece together what happened.

I couldn’t have predicted the radiation leak, but this failure was entirely my own fault. I could have sealed more doors behind me to make things safer, but I didn’t. I lured the alien infestation into my boarding ship earlier to get it safely out of the way – but inadvertently cut off my final escape route in the process. When the doors failed ship-wide, I took the risk of pushing on even though I knew if I ran into trouble, I couldn’t seal any breaches. But I was driven by necessity. My supplies were so low, my drones constantly breaking down, my mothership out of fuel. Oh well, I guess I made a good run of it, all things considered. This is possibly the last living human of all time, signing off.

Duskers Game Review

The system map lets you choose your next destination. As you explore the galaxies you’ll need fuel to get around, which can be scavenged on missions. Some ships have many hostile species aboard or are very old and liable to fall apart whilst your drones are aboard – raising the stakes, but often with higher rewards. Credit: Duskers by Misfits Attic.

This is just one example of many epic moments I have experienced in Duskers. One sign of a great game is when players can recount interesting stories about it, unique to their playthrough. In Duskers, every mission has this potential. The content of derelict ships and stations are randomised – so you don’t know what’s coming next. Your small fleet of drones are in various states of repair and equipped differently. Things can, and do, break down in the middle of missions. The older the derelicts that you explore, the more likely something catastrophic is going to happen. Part of the fun of the game is having to plan carefully, but be able to deal with a full-on meltdown when something unexpected happens and it all falls apart. Small problems or mistakes can quickly escalate to life-threatening situations in a matter of minutes. Keeping your head is important but you feel genuine panic when things go wrong in a heartbeat, your drones facing total annihilation. This game is tough, but rewarding. Get out of a scrape unscathed and you can give yourself a deserved pat on the back.

And there’s the aliens. In my story, they didn’t feature heavily, but often they’ll be the biggest threat. There are different species, each with different behaviours, and they are very, very deadly. Many ships contain more than one type. Sneaking around in the dark, not entering rooms unless you think it’s safe, is paramount to survival. Knowing when to escape with your loot before you open the wrong door and unleash a menace is another important balancing act. Figure out strategies to deal with the aliens. Prepare to lose drones to rampaging horrors.

Make sure those doors are sealed. But be careful, not all aliens use doors.

Duskers Game Review

Drones can be fitted out with different equipment such as motion sensors, probes and essential tools to gather supplies and run generators. Equipment deteriorates over time, forcing you to try new equipment and different tactics as the game progresses. How will you survive without your precious sensor? Use a drone as bait? Remotely manipulate doors to seal a threat in a room? Solving these problems is a rewarding aspect of the game. Credit: Duskers by Misfits Attic.

The game uses a deliberately low-fi, crappy 80’s interface (inspired by the original Alien movie), which you interact solely with the keyboard. Drones are controlled directly or through typed commands, which only adds to the atmosphere. It’s immersive, feeling like it really is just you on your computer on the mothership, placing you right in the hot-seat. Frantically typing out commands as it all goes to hell really adds to the tension. However, don’t let the typing or the basic visuals put you off, embrace it – and if you don’t survive long on your first attempt, don’t worry. This is a survival, rogue-like game. Each attempt you learn more, logs and missions uncovering the backstory are also preserved between runs, allowing you to make progress each game.

Duskers is a fantastic experience where your imagination fills in the blanks – a sci-fi horror survival game with a unique premise and full of surprising moments and unique player stories to be told.

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Check it out!

 

We would love to hear your own Duskers‘ stories of disaster and survival.

Leave a comment below with your experiences!

Duskers Website

Duskers on Steam Store

 

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Duskers
  • 4

Recommended

Sci-fi lovers will enjoy this; a survival game full of atmosphere and tension, but it requires investment by the player.

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