Published on April 22nd, 2018 | by Michael Newman0
People today have become spoiled by the use of a simple device known as a mouse. Back in the early days of computer gaming the mouse was pretty much non-existent (or at least wasn’t as crucial as it is today). Some games came with massive keyboard overlays that showed you the shortcuts to everything. In fact, I can still recall from memory the keypresses required to play Red Storm Rising, a submarine game released by Microprose Software back in 1988 (wow was that really 30 years ago…I digress). The point here is that while most games are played with a mouse and some keyboard presses, some games still require you to memorize keystrokes. Deep-Sixed is one of those games, with so much going on and the need for quick reflexes, your trusty mouse will thank you for learning hot-keys and shortcuts to make moving around the dilapidated ship that much easier. I’m getting ahead of myself though, we’ll come back to this later.
Deep-Sixed is a fascinating game where you play the role of a convicted felon who is required to serve her time onboard a rickety spaceship, mapping out new sectors, locating deposits of crucial rare minerals, and recording/killing massive space monsters. The gameplay takes place almost exclusively on your ship and there are several interesting rooms to explore. The ship‘s rooms include: the Scanning room, the Reactor room, the Hyperdrive room, and 5 viewing ports which allow you to utilize your ship’s scanners and guns to protect yourself from the numerous threats encountered in deep space.
Each of these rooms are colorfully laid out, but extremely overwhelming when you first encounter them. Since almost the entire game is played exclusively from these rooms you will be required to learn what each knob, button and lever does. Thankfully, a simple press of the scroll button on your mouse highlights the main components of each room. After a few hours onboard, you will get a feel of where each point of interest is in each room, and instinctively go there depending on the situation. Like I said, you will definitely feel overwhelmed when you first go through this, but remember to breathe, relax and understand that you will die…A LOT.
The gameplay consists of accepting various missions assigned by your employer and repairing your ship when things break during the missions. The ship you are assigned not only looks like a piece of junk, but unlike the Millennium Falcon, it is not the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy. Things will continually break down, and you will have to whip out the online manual (or if you prefer, the printable PDF manual that is included with the game) that shows you the steps to make your repairs. Typically, you need to obtain some parts for your repair (for example a crack in the windshield requires a generous helping of duct tape), and then utilize the manual to quickly diagnose and address the problem. Some problems are minimal such as a loss of power, others are critical, like a fire in the Reactor room or a malfunctioning AI. There are dozens of scenarios that will go wrong, and the more you play the more you’ll become familiar with what is required to fix them. Things get particularly hectic when you are trying to repair something critical and are being attacked at the same time. Did I say you will die a lot? You will…A LOT. This is your second warning.
As you complete missions you’ll be paid in credits which you can spend to upgrade your ship. You don’t get paid a lot and upgrades/repairs all cost money, so I advise you to keep some in reserve and only buy what you feel is critical to the success of your missions. Occasionally, at times you’ll get rewards for bringing back the ship undamaged or given a two for one deal on parts which can also help offset some of your costs. Upgrades consist of items such as more powerful lasers, better shielding, improved battery, etc., all of which are extremely useful and tempting to purchase, but before you do, remember you’ll also need money to repair your ship and buy extra fuel.
As I mentioned earlier, with everything that is going on with your ship, your ability to multitask is critical, and nothing will help you more than learning the keyboard shortcuts early. I must admit, I played much of my initial voyage in my hunk o’ junk with strictly the mouse, point-and-clicking my way around the ship as needed. In the beginning this was fine…need to warp to a new sector? No problem, select the screen and go. Looking for a broken-down space buoy you say? Locate it on the radar, go to the proper view station and blow it to bits. Unfortunately, your time in space is only this serene in the beginning and once things get hot and heavy you’ll thank me for the advice on hot-keys…I promise.
Deep-Sixed will appear to have an incredibly steep learning curve and appear to be extremely overwhelming at first. This is likely to turn off a lot of people initially, but just give it an hour or so and you’ll get the swing of things in no time, it’s not nearly as complex as it seems. Once you understand that there is a lot going on and that you will die…A LOT (third warning), you’ll begin to appreciate the uniqueness and challenges that the game offers. I recommend starting the game on easy difficulty, you’ll still die (yeah a lot, you know the drill by now), but the gameplay will be a little more forgiving as you learn the finer points. Deep-Sixed is not a game where you should feel bad about starting on easy difficulty. If you don’t, it’ll be a lot more frustrating and you’ll likely give up before you have a chance to enjoy it. My advice to you is to leave your ego at the door, play with the training wheels and learn the intricacies of your ship before playing in standard difficulty…you’ll be a better captain for it. Deep-Sixed is action-packed and will keep you entertained for hours. I enjoyed my time in deep space and recommend it to others who are looking for an exciting adventure.
What I liked: Random events, Unique challenges, Interesting game mechanics
What I liked less: Initial learning curve, Occasional hangs while playing
4 out of 5 stars