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Game Info:

Deep Sixed
Game Title: Deep Sixed
Developed By: LRDGames, Inc.
Published By: Black Shell Media
Released: February 12, 2018
Available On: Linux, macOS, Windows
Genre: Roguelike, Simulation
ESRB Rating: Not Rated
Number of Players: Single-player
Price: $12.99

*Advertising disclosure* - After this review was posted, Black Shell Media became an advertising partner.  This review is not influenced by this relationship.

Thank you Black Shell Media for sending us the review code.

For the sake of knowledge and science (and also money), a corporation holds a monopoly on spacefaring technology. Since space travel requires people to operate the body, this is where a human comes into play. The player character, who committed criminal negligence, has to serve the rest of her sentence in an involuntary service to operate this shuttle. Accompanied by an AI to assist whenever troubles arise, it is her job to explore the unknown reaches of the galaxy to gather information for this corporation—as well as trying not to die in the process—though her wellbeing is pretty low on their priority.

Deep Sixed is a space sim roguelike video game created by LRDGames, Inc. which takes an interesting approach to both genres by combining them together. Typically roguelikes lend themselves towards the RPG genre of games while roguelites adopt more from the action genre. This is the first time I’ve seen a roguelike that is also a simulation game. The premise is rather simple: you choose a list of missions to do, hyperwarp to the specific area, and complete the objectives of that mission, with a few optional objectives added to it as well. During the mission, you will have to repair or replace various issues that arise. Sometimes you may come across a lifeform in which you can defend yourself from or escape. Sounds pretty easy to do, right?

Well yes, it does sound as such with the way I put it, but it is a lot more than just that. Almost immediately, Deep Sixed makes the assumption that you will be way in over your head for this task. Your AI companion will even poke fun of this matter. The first thing pointed out is that there is a manual there that goes over everything in detail, and even how to fix any specific problem or problems that come up. When a game shoves a manual on you, you know it's not messing around. There is a lot to take in, and you’re going to be doing a lot of reading and retaining information. Just a few of the many operations that come up in the game are things like replacing chips in systems, clearing radiation out of rooms, blasting away creatures that threaten the ship, and even rebooting software when AI or system failures happen. BTW, all of these particular events can happen at the same time. Every action in the game is controlled by the mouse, with some optional hotkeys if you so desire.

Deep Sixed
Highlights:

Strong Points: Funny dialogue between the two main characters; a unique mix of gameplay for its genre; multiple difficulties to satisfy both casual and experienced players
Weak Points: Some situations can be frustrating due to the nature of the game; has less of an incentive compared to other roguelikes to replay multiple times after completion
Moral Warnings: The player character is a criminal who is serving an involuntary service for negligence (though it never goes into detail of what she did); some situations require to kill alien creatures, which do burst in giblets when killed; some blasphemy from the main character

Eight rooms are what’s part of the ship—and if you complete a mission without dying, you’ll be rewarded with certificates in which you can use to buy supplies or make upgrades to your ship. Where the roguelike nature comes into play is the procedurally-generated issues of the ship and permadeath status. In the standard difficulty setting, if you die, you have to start all over from the very beginning. There is an easier difficulty setting where you get more hints as to the exact place the problem is taking place in and the option to save your progress to allow you to restart from that saved point if you fail or otherwise mess up. Accessibility, while also not sacrificing challenge is something that I look forward to in games. In an ideal world, all games would have options that make the game easy enough and engaging for the average person to beat and enjoy, but also present a difficulty setting challenging enough for the audience that wants to take it a step further. In this case, Deep Sixed does it just fine.

The AI and the player character start off with a rather interesting relationship. The corporation specifically states that the AI was programmed to have a human-like personality to have better synergy with the person working with it. There is even a moment where the human character receives an email stating that in past situations that the people have formed emotional bonds with, and even warns her against it. This, of course, plays an important role later in the game as you see the relationship between this person and AI develop more through rather funny and engaging dialogue. I’ve caught myself laughing at the various exchanges between the two—while a screen in a part of the hull is cracked, oxygen is leaking out, malfunctions in the scanner room, and aliens attacking the ship causing power shortages. There are worse ways to die, I suppose.

Deep Sixed uses a very colorful array of covers to disguise the simple models used. It reminds me of those learning games you would play in school, like the Type to Learn series, but as those are learning tools instead of entertainment meant to be consumed, those types of graphics are acceptable for learning games. For games meant for commercial consumption, not so much. There are a few cutscenes with some animation aspects to it. I personally wouldn’t call it “animation” more so than messing with zoom and stretch effects in your video editing software of choice. The actual art however, is drawn competently and is of a realistic nature, making a contrast between the ship and the 3D models of the aliens.

Deep Sixed
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 76%
Gameplay - 15/20
Graphics - 6/10
Sound - 7/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 79%
Violence - 4.5/10
Language - 5/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

There isn’t too much in Deep Sixed that would be morally concerning (at least from my experience), but there are still some things worth pointing out. The main human character is introduced as a criminal serving out the rest of her sentence as the repairwoman of the ship. What she did exactly, I’m not too sure, and the game doesn’t particularly care what she did either so it’s left to a vague statement. Blasting aliens with the ship’s lasers also make them bleed, and they also explode with their internals floating around the emptiness of space. The player also has blasphemous talk such as “oh my God” and “my God.” I haven’t gone through every situation the game has available, but only noticed these particular moments in my dozen or so attempts.

As with most roguelikes, there will be situations that pop up where you feel like “nothing could be done.” Not exactly a flaw with the game itself as it is the nature of the genre. Like an untimely critical hit in a turn-based RPG or an action game where two different enemies attack in such a way where you can’t avoid the damage, it’s all part of the package and is even part of the reason why people play these types of games. You will die in this game quite often, whether it is entirely of your own fault or a combination of events that you just cannot overcome. However, I do feel that the roguelike elements did not add much to the type of game Deep Sixed tries to be. The narrative conflicts with the genre as each subsequent attempt will prompt the same story and similar mission progression. Unlike many modern roguelikes/roguelites, it fails to add extra parts for each successful completion. There are three endings to see, with two of them being very similar to each other outside of some alternative dialogue, so there is some incentive to replay multiple times.

I can recommend Deep Sixed to you if like your games to feel like a job. It can be mundane, frustrating, exhausting, and requires way too much multitasking for the typical person who might use video games to distract themselves from the annoyances of life. For those of a different opinion, it can be a very rewarding experience due to the interesting and unique approaches it attempts. Outside of the blasphemous talk, the other moral issues are middling at their worst. If you like simulation games on the engineering side, Deep Sixed may just tickle your fancy.

About the Author

Cinque Pierre

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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