Welcome back!

Sign in or create an account to enjoy GINX perks, enter competitions and access exclusive features.

GINX TV > Reviews > Deep Rock Galactic

Deep Rock Galactic: Survivor Review: Gotta Dig A Little Deeper

Deep Rock Galactic: Survivor is a spin-off that packs a punch, but could do with throwing a few more to really get the blood pumping.
Deep Rock Galactic: Survivor Review: Gotta Dig A Little Deeper

If you needed a new way to bust up some alien bugs, then Deep Rock Galactic: Survivor answers that call. Inspired by Poncle’s Vampire Survivors, this new spin-off offers a top-down, auto-shooter experience using the familiar elements of Deep Rock Galactic. This time, however, you’re on your own as a lone dwarf. 

The goal is very simple: work your way through a number of stages, unlocking new weapons and leveling up as you go, to make it to the final confrontation with the Dreadnought — a powerful, mega bug that’ll smash you flat in a few hits if you’re not careful. Auto-shooters earn their allure in how satisfying their gameplay is, and Deep Rock Galactic: Survivor certainly hits those beats. If you’re willing to grind it out, you’ll unlock a great range of weapons (and weapon upgrades) that’ll simply melt away the swarms of bugs. Sometimes literally. 

Crush Bugs. Get Stronger. Repeat

There are four classes to choose from, each with their own perks and modifications. (Picture: Funday Games, screenshot: Alexandra Hobbs)

Defeated bugs drop XP, which you’ll need to level up your dwarf. At each level, you’ll get to choose an upgrade, which can include things like increasing movement speed, the damage of a particular weapon, or how fast you can reload. Certain upgrades contribute to the overall level of your weapon which, if you’ve unlocked the feature, can receive powerful “Overclocks” at certain milestones. 

Along the way you’ll also need to mine for various materials. Gold and Nitra are two resources that you’ll want to spend throughout your run for more temporary upgrades. Other ores and minerals can be used to make permanent upgrades that carry across all of the four classes, such as increased life regeneration, armor, mining speed etc. It’s these roguelike elements that serve as your main motivation for progressing, so you can take on the game’s three biomes at each of their five Hazard Levels (difficulties). 

It’ll take you a while to work up to final Hazard Levels. Deep Rock Galactic: Survivor is by no means an easy game, but tough enough to keep things interesting without causing a smashed keyboard. Unless you’re particularly skilled, there’s no way you’re taking out the Dreadnought until you’re a good few hours into the game, and you’ll be stuck with the Scout class for longer than you’d prefer. But, if like me you’re a sucker for that early grind, finally destroying the oversized bug will feel very gratifying. 

Room For Growth

Kill the Dreadnought. Easier said than done. (Picture: Funday Games, screenshot: Alexandra Hobbs)

Grinding your way to victory all sounds well and good, except that there’s very few incentives for progression outside of bulking up your weaponry. Survivor’s limitations become incredibly evident after a handful of dives. Across each of the three biomes, and at every Hazard Level, you’ll face the same enemies and each run will culminate in a battle against the same Dreadnought — it just might hit a little harder. There aren’t any surprises to be had after your first few hours of gameplay in its current state, but then again this is still in early access. What’s promising is that there’s very clear potential and, with time, Survivor could easily become a classic. 

The gameplay is already in a great state; it’s uncomplicated and throws you into the action immediately. What Deep Rock Galactic: Survivor needs is a little more for players to work towards. Bigger and uglier bugs to crush, and a few more “ WTF” moments to complement its already cheeky nature. It also needs that satisfying moment akin to Vampire Survivors, where you’ve done the hard work, maxed out your weapons and are simply carving through enemies as an unstoppable force of nature. 

In Deep Rock Galactic: Survivor’s current form, enemies continue to grow stronger once the Elite or Dreadnought is active, which means you’re pushed into taking it out as quickly as possible. Once you do, you’ll have just 30 seconds to get back to the drop pod, which is barely enough time to mop up a handful of the remaining XP and materials left on the ground. Because of this, leveling feels almost too slow, and you’ll never max out all four of your weapon slots with the final Overclocks. 

Verdict: 3/5

Fight fire with, well, fire! (Picture: Funday Games)

Ironically, you won’t find much depth to Deep Rock Galactic: Survivor, but you will get a great amount of enjoyment for its price point. The short length of each run respects its players' time, and means you’ll always have a moment to squeeze in a quick game. While these alien-busting dwarves still have a ways to go before matching up to the likes of Vampire Survivors, developer Funday Games are already hard at work on the first content update. With enough support and attention, Deep Rock Galactic: Survivor could easily become a PC staple. For fans of the main title, this is a worthy investment and one that can only get better.

Deep Rock Galactic: Survivor is available now on PC via Steam. 

A PC code of Deep Rock Galactic: Survivor was provided by the publisher for review.