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Deep Rock Galactic: Survivor Review(PC)

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Deep Rock Galactic: Survivor Review

If Deep Rock Galactic: Survivor and Vampire Survivors were family, the former would be the wealthy, dipped-in luxury cousin who visits once a year from an exotic country. Why, well, to put it simply, Deep Rock Galactic: Survivor is a bullet hell game inspired by Vampire Survivors, only way better. If you've ever danced through the chaos of the Poncle roguelike shoot 'em up game, you'll certainly hit the ground running with this one. Not only does Deep Rock Galactic: Survivor look better, but it also sounds better. Think Minecraft vibes, minus the blocky pixels, and with enough firepower to make a dwarf blush.

The game marks the return of the franchise, following its predecessor, Deep Rock Galactic. But instead of a cooperative first-person shooter, you get top-down shooter action in the trenches of alien-filled caves. Now to the million-dollar question, does this new game triumph over the other games in the decades-long existing genre? Let's dive into that in our Deep Rock Galactic: Survivor review.

Hold on to Your Hard Hats


Dwarf mining Deep Rock Galactic Survivor

For those familiar with dwarves, they certainly have an affinity for cave mining—evidently from fairy tales. But in DRG: Survivor, they are not ‘those little guys who are the heart and soul of the story. These lads are a rugged bunch. They are a brotherhood bound by blood, sweat, and a thirst for adventure that is more baritone than the caverns they call home. Essentially, they are the right guys to call if you ever need a crew for a dangerous mining expedition. 

The bullet hell game lets you play as four characters; Driller, Engineer, Gunner, and Scout. The characters also double up as classes. You may spot some familiar names from Deep Rock Galactic's classes, but they are slightly different. Ideally, each class dictates a character's stats, weapons, gameplay, and interactions with the alien forces. 

By default, the game lets you start as a Scout whose sheer brilliance stands out in evasion and mobility. The character easily maneuvers the alien-infested mines while his weapons deal damage. Don't be fooled by Scout. Despite being a starting character, he possesses a higher base Critical Damage multiplier from the character roster. 

Next, we have our Gunner. You get access to this class after reaching Player Rank 3. As you might have guessed, his specialty is having more firepower that deals tons of AOE damage. At Rank 5, you get access to The Engineer, the lockdown overlord who's knacky at area control gameplay. He's pretty good at holding a particular area but terrible at exploring and gathering resources. Finally, the Driller. This class has lightning-drilling speed and accesses more elemental weapons than any other. 

The classes add a layer of variety where you choose a play style that suits you. If you're the bullet-barrage type, Gunner is your guy.

Ready, Set, Mine

pod landing with dwarves

Now that you are familiar with the classes, let's dive into the gameplay. The game typically starts with a pod dropping into the mines. Depending on your rank, a dwarf emerges with their starting weapon. The game's core is completing objectives, which are displayed in the upper right-hand corner. The objectives range from collecting resources and fighting off aliens to finally drawing out the top boss. However, you may be tempted to steer away from the objectives to gather rare minerals for specific upgrades. You might be setting yourself up for trouble, but it ends up being worthwhile.

Regardless of your success in each run, you'll need to gather as many resources as possible. Then, you can access the permanent upgrades you desire from the main menu. If you need more resources, you can trade items from the resource marketplace. It's the ideal system that lets players mine all resources instead of grinding for specific materials that take hours to find. 

Survivor takes things up a notch with varying environmental hazards present in different biomes. The game has three biomes; the overgrown Hollow Bough, the boiling Magma Core, and Crystalline Caverns. Each area has a specific set of enemies, challenges, and rewards. The different terrains challenge you to experiment with varying play styles, especially upgrading your weapons to the max to see what those bad boys can do. 

Blast Away

Dwarf shooting bugs

Now, let's talk about weapons. Survivor has a neat lineup of weapons for every class. As a scout, you get access to a basic weapon. But upgrades will soon become available as you progress. The same applies to other classes as well. The Scout is relatively okay for a starter class, but the fun unpacks as you switch to others. Take Gunner as an example. His firepower prowess lets you unleash a barrage of ammunition on hordes of alien bugs (In Stallone's voice, say hello to my little friend.) 

The solo play is a stark departure from the original title but it doesn't spare the fun. DRG: Survivor also introduces an automatic reload feature. As cool as it sounds, it can expose you to hits when dealing with a wave. So, it's necessary to keep watch over your ammo supply. 

Additionally, the game features a sweet new take on buffing up your builds through upgrades available at each level. The enhancements are crucial to securing a permanent boost with plenty of advantages. Every weapon upgrade you make advances the weapon to a new level. While it may only be a one-level increase, some upgrades turn your weapons into mean, fast machines.

Dying to Mine Again

Dreadnought attack

DRG: Survivor is one game that incentivizes dying. No, I don't mean you get paid to die, but you don't lose your pillage. In fact, you get back to the game, packing more punch. You can unlock more permanent upgrades from the main menu using resources you collected from the previous round. Admittedly, it took me some time to get my footing. I died a couple of times early on in the game, but that didn't stop the fun. In fact, it only fueled my relentless spirit. 

Moreover, mining is a delight. It does more than provide the necessary resources for upgrades. 

More often than not, you will find yourself cornered by swarms of bugs and bosses. Here is where strategy comes into play. You must carve out a path that ditches the bosses and bugs, or you'll be overpowered. I particularly found this to be an exciting part of the game. 

Aside from completing the objective and gathering XP, finding an escape route amidst the chaos got me on the edge of my seat. I couldn't fathom the crowd closing in on me for the hundredth time, but finally, I figured it out. Just mine your way out. 

Dwarves Stand Taller Together

being attacked by bugs

As a spin-off game, Deep Rock Galactic: Survivor excels at offering a refreshing twist. I wasn't sure how a solo play would do, considering Deep Rock Galactic has an affinity for the cooperative aspect. Surprisingly, it worked out exceptionally well. Everything, from the sound effects of smashing bugs to the rocks, gives off a satisfactory feel. Its fast-paced gameplay keeps you yearning for more upgrades to amp up your weapons and classes.

However, after unlocking all classes and their alternate specializations, the game starts to feel repetitive. But granted that this is Early Access, we could see more content after the game drops. 

On a related side note, the devs are teaming up with the studio behind Dwarf Fortress, demanding the inclusion of a ‘dwarf tag' on Steam. “Dwarves are cooler and have a much more dedicated fan base,” said the studios when responding to claims that other mythical creatures are not tags, either. The two studios started the campaign early in January, and Steam reacted with a conditioned yes-only if users on Steam started using it as a tag. I don't know what your thoughts are, but it sure would make it easier to sift through the plenty of upcoming games. 


dwarf running to the pod for safety in Deep Rock Galactic: Survivor Review

Deep Rock Galactic: Survivor is not your usual auto-shooter. It is a game filled with procedural terrain and an unquenchable thirst for mining. The most outstanding feature lies in its challenges, where you must think outside the box and get yourself out of a rut. It certainly does not hold your hand but it ensures you have fun while at it. It might seem like a chip of the Deep Rock Galactic Block from the surface, but there's so much more to it. From clearing an area for your upgrade pod to land to scavenging for minerals as the alien bugs draw closer and stronger. After playing for a few hours, my eagerness for more builds had me strapped to my chair. 

Bottom line, DRG: Survivor is a solid game. There's a decent amount of content in the early access build that takes away the worries of co-op play. In the weapon department, the game is locked in with variety, but having more biomes with greater environmental hazards would be great. 

Deep Rock Galactic: Survivor Review(PC)

A Mining Bullet Heaven Spectacle 

Deep Rock Galactic: Survivor is a shoot ’em up video game that borrows inspiration from Vampire Survivors. Its twist on solo play departs from the usual coop play of its predecessor, but packs a whole boatload of fun. For Early Access content, it certainly has more to offer.

Evans I. Karanja is a freelance writer who loves to write about anything technology. He is always on the lookout for interesting topics, and enjoys writing about video games, cryptocurrency and blockchain and more. When not writing, he can be found playing video games or watching F1.