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Duskers |OT| Alien + Uplink + FTL = claustrophobic tactical sci-fi horror

Been playing this game since it first released on Early Access last year, and it's finally finished. It's a fantastic game; it earned a spot on IndieGAF's Best of 2015 list, was nominated for IGF's Excellence in Design, and was supported and funded by IndieFund (which helped games like Her Story, Fract OSC, Mushroom 11, The Swapper, and other notable indies)

http://duskers.misfits-attic.com/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dux33m_7M6w
$19.99 - Steam | Humble | GOG

In Duskers you pilot drones into derelict spaceships to find the means to survive and piece together how the universe became a giant graveyard. In film terms it's The Road meets the first Alien movie. In game terms: It's a roguelike with elements of dungeon crawling and real time strategy, but in a survival horror setting that focuses on subterfuge, and adapting to survive.

- Use a Command Line Interface to control drones & ship systems
- Explore procedurally generated derelict ships and universe
- Upgrade and modify drones with the salvage you find
- Discover ship logs and piece together what happened


===

Duskers ; The universe is dead. You are alone. Supplies are dwindling. As the lone survivor in a galaxy gone silent, you travel from ship to ship, derelict barges and stations and outposts now drifting through space, staving off starvation or certain death by sending drones onto those empty vessels. You can control these drones through command lines; a method that may sound archaic and clunky, but is actually what makes Duskers so brilliant and immersive. Every command must be planned and carefully considered, because if something goes wrong - and it will - you must adapt and improvise on the fly.
Polygon - 9/10
This is what it's been like to live inside of Duskers for the past few weeks, one of the most unusual little roguelikes I've seen in a very long time. At the same time, it's one of the best strategy titles I've played this year and a taut roleplaying experience.
God Is A Geek - 9/10
Duskers is a highly original game that features one of the greatest, most atmospheric environments I’ve seen in a long time.
PC Gamer - 86/100
A tense and spooky strategy roguelike that's as satisfying as it is harrowing
Popmatters - 8/10
If you’re willing to put in the time, though, you’ll find a cold, hostile universe that’s absolutely worth exploring. The unknown is overwhelming in Duskers. It will swallow up your resources, your drones (alas, poor Orson), your very existence. But for the time being, you push forward, holding your breath before you open every door.
RockPaperShotgun (Wot I Think)
Well, I’m here to tell you that, as much as Alien is essential to any lover of sci-fi movies, Duskers is just as essential to any lover of sci-fi games.
AV Club
What makes Duskers so terrifying is the deeper investment it elicits...Misfits Attic’s game about spaceship-exploring drones and the survivor who pilots them draws you in by completely obliterating the distance between digital protagonist and player.
Wired
Abstract, distant, and occasionally terrifying...it’s the distress signal jumping lightyears; the first, breathless moment of an airlock cycling open; the light of a flashlight meeting exposed wire and debris. A lone worker, at the edge of known space, wondering what the hell is going on, wishing it wasn’t your job to find out.
Wargamer
Duskers does so much more with comparatively less than any other big budget science-fiction effort in recent memory, such is its subtlety in design.
RockPaperShotgun (Early Access)
I think it’s about as exciting a game as I’ve played for this column, by turns offering measured, ruminative strategy and then exhilarating panic. New drone builds should provide added richness to the strategy, and, hopefully, offer more opportunity for you to successfully improvise your way out of catastrophe
IndieGames
If you remember just how perfectly those schematics and real-time maps worked for Alien and Aliens, you'll have no problem understanding why Duskers is so successful at immersing its players in an evidently dead science fiction world. The universe, a giant graveyard of derelict ships, is waiting to be explored by your drones, who'll have to survive long enough to uncover its mysteries and let you enjoy Duskers' desolate ambiance.
 
Found this interesting, basically the story of how the game got made. Devs were on the verge of closing shop and other indie devs in the community like Blow helped out, to assist in getting support from Indie Fund
http://misfitsattic.blogspot.com/2014/08/how-duskers-became-thing.html
Almost more amazing was the list of people that I'd barely met, if at all: Cliff (as Positech Games) and Tommy were there, apparently my responses to their questions hadn't turned them away. Indie Fund, true to their word, had come through and contributed to push us over the top(Jonathan Blow, Ron Carmel, Kyle Gabler, Aaron Isaksen, Kellee Santiago, Nathan Vella, and Mathew Wegner). Some Indie Funders had even double dipped and ponied up their own money in addition to the Indie Fund money: Aaron Isaksen (with John Bizzarro as AppAbove Games), Kellee Santiago, and of course, Ron Carmel. All three of whom had responded to my unsolicited requests for advice when I was making A Virus Named TOM. The universe was telling me I was heavy in indie karma debt.
 

Ryo Hazuki

Member
Nov 18, 2013
3,087
0
0
From what I've played of this game so far is great! Only played the full release over the last couple days and it has a great atmosphere. It's hard to describe how intuitive the simple interface is that you use to "command" your drones. It feels pretty great typing out instructions and watching the world unfold around you. I'm sure others can do a better job of saying what this game offers as it's a tough one to summarise, but I'm really enjoying what I've played so far. Definitely worth a look if you're into space sims and you want to navigate drones in to derelict spaceships.
 

MakeshiftChef

Member
Oct 15, 2008
685
0
0
Texas
I really need to buy this thing. It looks amazing. Father's Day is coming up, time to drop some not too subtle hints to my kiddos...
 

epmode

Member
Jun 7, 2004
28,470
0
0
This is a good game, GAF. If you have a thing for Uplink-style interfaces like I do, you'll find a lot to love.
 

eyeball_kid

Member
Jul 25, 2011
9,067
5
0
It does sound really promising! The RPS review mostly has me sold. Can you save your game progress?

One thing that doesn't seem so great is...the fonts. The terminal font seems to be the standard "barcode" OCR font that everyone has. It's the kind of font that people always *think* looks like what they've seen in 1980's sci-fi, but really isn't used much for terminals in those films. But game after game uses this font, so it's become the de facto "sci-fi" font, even though it's unfaithful to the original source material, and on top of that quite ugly and not very readable when used for copy.

Actual classic sci-fi computer fonts are typically more rounded and readable, with looser kerning, and usually in all-caps, such as in Alien:

Barcodey, for lack of a better term, fonts were usually relegated to the display of telemetry, where quick identification of numbers was important, such as in the X-Wing targeting computer:

This game also seems to use the barcode font for map labels, which looks rather...bad. The computer map in Aliens uses a thick-weight, rounded, readable font:


The developer also seems to use too many fonts on individual interface screens. The image on the top right of the OP has four fonts! Two is the most a UI should use; any more than that results in an interface that lacks coherence. Also, this could be jpg compression, but it looks like the blocky fonts are Flash pixel fonts, and those were only meant for certain pixel sizes. They look smudgy when not used correctly, which looks like what's happening on that screen.

That all sounds like fussy complaining I'm sure, but when the majority of the game is text, the presentation of it becomes more important, especially if they're trying to evoke classic sci-fi computer interfaces. For a game that seems to have captured the feel of classic sci-fi suspense, I wish the interface design had been given as much love.
 

B-B-Bomba!

Member
Jun 29, 2004
1,810
1
0
Found this while searching for threads on FTL (which I'm loving).

Also wishlisted, I can't afford this yet but look foward to picking it up down the line.
 
PC Gamer review
A tense and spooky strategy roguelike that's as satisfying as it is harrowing

Wargamer (written by GAF's own Alex Connolly)
Duskers does so much more with comparatively less than any other big budget science-fiction effort in recent memory, such is its subtlety in design.

Popmatters
If you’re willing to put in the time, though, you’ll find a cold, hostile universe that’s absolutely worth exploring. The unknown is overwhelming in Duskers. It will swallow up your resources, your drones (alas, poor Orson), your very existence. But for the time being, you push forward, holding your breath before you open every door.
 

Nasbin

Member
Oct 15, 2009
563
0
0
Cool Ghosts spent almost 20 minutes gushing about this game on the latest Daft Souls podcats. Going to check it out.
 
A few more reviews

AV Club
What makes Duskers so terrifying is the deeper investment it elicits...Misfits Attic’s game about spaceship-exploring drones and the survivor who pilots them draws you in by completely obliterating the distance between digital protagonist and player.

God Is A Geek - 9/10
Duskers is a highly original game that features one of the greatest, most atmospheric environments I’ve seen in a long time.
 

super-famicom

Member
Nov 21, 2012
16,732
2
0
I haven't finished the GB quick look of this yet, but what I've seen looks interesting. Definitely want to try this out.
 

Sloane

Banned
Jun 17, 2004
4,703
0
0
Wow, this looks super sweet and right up my alley. First I've heard of the game, too, somehow missed it at RPS and PC Gamer, weird. Anyway, gonna buy this!
 

Sloane

Banned
Jun 17, 2004
4,703
0
0
Just played it for two hours and, yeah, it really feels a lot like FTL but it's definitely different enough to set itself apart.

Exploring the ships is pretty tense and feels like it holds much more strategic depth than the fights in FTL, yet I never encountered that "I have no idea what I'm doing" feeling. Everything is much simpler (in terms of the objectives and the UI) than it looks on screenshots, thus the learning curve feels less steep, and what is being thrown at me seems pretty fair so far (unless I just got lucky with my seed), but at the same time I can kinda sense shit is going to hit the fan soon, things are getting more dangerous with every new ship I explore.

Aesthetics and atmosphere are spot-on, too. If there's one thing I'm not quite sold on yet, it's typing in commands. On the one hand, it seems kinda fitting, but on the other, I haven't encountered anything yet that couldn't have been done with a mouse and standard RTS controls just as easily. Maybe that changes later on though. (I don't quite remember how Uplink did it, been ten years or so, but I think that one used mouse controls, too?)

So, yeah, great game so far, it scratches the same itch as FTL but there's a stronger sense of strategy, planning, discovery, and maybe even rising tension / higher pressure being put on the player. Really, really like it.