Duskers — A Review

I'm about fourteen hours into Duskers so far, so still in some very early stages of the game. Partially that's because I've reverted to a bad habit from my Nethack days and been restarting the game instead of resetting (like the game is designed for) when my ship and drones end up in an untenable situation. Yes, I do count every restart as having lost the game. I've lost a lot of games of Duskers so far. But I think I've got a handle on what I'm doing now. Sort of. Maybe?

The story so far is that you wake up in a ship and the entire outsider works is silent. No ship-to-ship communications, no distress signals, no nothing. Like the entire universe died, except for you in your slowly decaying ship. You've got a few drones you can user to explore other drifting ships in space, collect 'scrap'  and fuel to keep your shop functional and moving with, and deal with hostile things on the other ships. Your drones, at least so far, are not very good at dealing with hostile things. The effective strategy so far has been to use motion scanners to figure out which rooms are clear (assuming the scanner can read the rooms), explore those rooms, and then lure the hostiles into there and shut the doors behind them.

The conceit of the game is that you're doing everything over a command line interface. Oh you've got a video feed from your drones, when it doesn't cut out. But your only control is the arrow buttons and a command line.

The game is not clear whether you, the player character, are an organic person or an AI. Which raises interesting questions about the whole 'did AIs cause the singularity and an extinction level event for humans?' possibility raised in the game. Other possibilities I've encountered so far include 'grey goo' and 'pandemic scenarios'. I haven't been able to follow up on those possibilities very much so far, so I'm interested to see where the game goes with those. Every initial lead comes from messages pulled off the logs of derelict ships. Which is just creepy, given the text corruption scattered throughout. Also, the "ages" of these derelicts has typically been around the two hundred mark, with no indication if that's years or what. So how the heck long has the player character been in ... cryosleep?

I'm also unclear what 'reseting' is and there's some interesting philosophical questions involved in that. Every time I've reset, I've gotten new drones to pilot on ship with the same name and same apparent configuration. Where do the new drones come from? They have different upgrades. The map doesn't change, you still have access to all the messages and information you've already found. The community forums I've seen indicate that whatever hostiles have learned from you is carried across resets. So what is a reset? And how the heck does it work in-universe.

So, yeah, I'd recommend this game for anyone who finds rogue-like games more interesting than frustrating. The game play has been keeping me interested to see what happens next. The controls feed into the story, in addition to providing a challenge. And gosh darn it, I want to know what happened in the game universe. 

Where did all the people go?