Deep Rock Galactic is an early access game on Windows PC and Xbox One that stars a group of dwarves who have to work together to mine certain materials out of the ground. It’s dark and dangerous down there, and the developers at Ghost Ship Games made a wise decision when creating this game: They made light one of your most precious resources.
Not that it’s pitch-black in the mines, as that would have been too difficult for the player. There are some ambient sources of light in the environment — including enemies, in some cases — but it’s never enough to see the minerals you need to mine or the fossils you need to collect. Sometimes you’re just stuck looking for the brown dirt patches on the wall that mean you can mine through to the next area. And all of that requires the use of light sources you throw into the environment, each of which has a limited lifespan.
Deep Rock Galactic is graphically simple while also having a strong style, which means that Ghost Ship Games was able to really have fun with the lighting effects without bringing up the system requirements for the game. Throwing one of your lights and watching it illuminate the mine around you is a satisfying and enjoyable part of the gameplay loop.
Each character has three light canisters they can throw like grenades, and they recharge with time. Learning how to time your throws with your team — so you can always see what you’re doing while giving everyone a chance to recharge their own supply — is a crucial skill, especially since the game makes it easy to get turned around inside the mine.
The Scout class has its own weapon that shoots out a large light source as well, which makes it even more important that your team includes one of every class. Learning how to work together to keep the area illuminated is both important and enjoyable, and it emphasizes how much you have to work together to survive.
There’s nothing better, or worse, than looking down a deep chasm, throwing a light canister down and then seeing the light reveal a group of the game’s scurrying, spider-like insects. The importance placed on light and on your management of it helps to remind you at all times that you are deep underground, in a hostile environment — and you’re likely going to die down there.
Deep Rock Galactic is on sale for $24.99 right now on Steam or on the Microsoft Store. There you can get it for Windows 10 PC or Xbox One. The game allows for cross-platform cooperative play between those two platforms.