With Spring just around the corner, we’ll soon be running out of cold, dark days where hunkering down with a good game feels socially acceptable. Until then, we’re going to play as much as we can stuff into our work/life schedule. Here’s what we’re playing this week.
Joe – Editor
Playing on PC via Epic Games launcher
The premise of Duskers is simple: you are a lone traveller aboard a spacecraft that is tasked with exploring derelict ships and outposts in search of resources and information. Unfortunately, these space wrecks are infested with dangerous creatures and malfunctioning machinery.
From the safety of your ship, you control a fleet of drones that are equipped with various tools and weapons. The motion scanner, for example, can tell you whether there’s a threat in the surrounding rooms, but will sometimes return inconclusive results. The interface module, on the other hand, can plug directly into the wreck’s computer system and trigger their defensive turrets to wipe out any nearby threat. As you cautiously explore each new location you’ll need to gather vital resources such as ship fuel and scrap metal, the latter used as a kind of currency to heal or upgrade your fleet of drones.
One of the most intriguing features of Duskers is its unique interface. In the game’s schematic view, you control your drones via a retro computer terminal, complete with a command-line interface and gnarly low-fi graphics. Typing in simple prompts such as ‘navigate’ or ‘gather’ into the command console instructs your drones move to a specific room or gather resources, respectively. You can also open and close a ship’s doors by typing the corresponding label (e.g A8 opens/closes door A8). When my motion scanner fails, for example, I find myself sending in one of my drones blind into the next room, with the phrase ‘A10’ already typed out into the console in case I need to make a quick retreat and slam the door closed behind me.
Despite the lo-fi graphics, Duskers feels incredibly immersive; I could imagine myself huddled up in the cockpit of a space junker, frantically typing out code over glowing screens to avoid my drones being destroyed. In fact, by exploring wrecks through the abstracted schematic view, Duskers lets your mind fill in the blanks as to what kind of horrors could be lurking around each corridor. The feeling of being alone in such an eerie environment is palpable, and it makes each decision you make feel like a matter of life and death.
If you fancy your chances, Duskers is free to download and keep via the Epic Games Store until 16:00 GMT on 2nd March.
Tom – Lead Writer
Playing on Xbox Series S
This week I played and beat Hi-Fi Rush, the surprise rhythm-action game that surprise dropped on Xbox Game Pass in January. In a sea of bloated open world games, Hi-Fi Rush is something of a rarity: a tight, breezy experience that maintains a consistently high level of fun throughout its runtime.
Hi-Fi Rush is a rhythm-action game, where the cartoon world constantly pulses and grooves to a killer soundtrack. No matter when you hit a button, your attacks always lands on the beat. But taking care to properly time your presses leads to more powerful combos, and higher scores. I tend to be an impatient button masher in action games, and I really enjoyed the challenge of learning to be more deliberate and measured.
Hi-Fi Rush felt like a breath of fresh air to me, a cel-shaded blast of personality and creativity. And I really can’t overstate how much the game respects your time. You can blow through the main story in ten hours, although you could spend dozens more unlocking all its secrets and perfecting your level scores. If you have Game Pass, you should really take a look at Hi-Fi Rush.