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New Steam Hit Mixes Vampire Survivors With Mining And Guns

Vampire Survivors might not be the first auto-shoot-’em-up ever made, but it has certainly become the blueprint many clones and imitators have followed since its launch in 2021. One game in that mold, Deep Rock Galactic: Survivor, takes that basic formula and does something different, adding mining, guns, and space-dwarves to the mix. The end result? One of my favorite games of 2024 so far.

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If you’ve played games like Survivor.IO, Halls of Torment, Brotato, or Vampire Survivors, then you’ll be instantly familiar with the basic gameplay of Deep Rock Galactic: Survivorout now on Steam. You control one character, who you move around a map that fills with deadly enemies. Meanwhile, your character automatically shoots projectiles and other attacks at these enemies as you earn XP to level up, letting you unlock more weapons, upgrade your abilities, and tweak your character for that run. Yeah, it’s one of these games.

Ghost Ship

Where DRGS changes things up is by setting the game in the Deep Rock Galactic universe, a sci-fi setting that mixes dwarves, aliens, booze, mining, and minerals into one big mess of fun. The original game, a co-op roguelike FPS, has been around for years and has quietly been one of the more successful live-service games around. It’s a perfect universe for an auto-shooter like DRGS, too. You explore randomly generated space caves filled with alien creatures who want to tear you apart.

And just like in the main game, Deep Rock Galactic: Survivor lets you mine. At first, I didn’t think the mining would change up the auto-shooter gameplay all that much. But after a few runs, I realized that mining wasn’t just useful for farming upgrade materials or to complete quests, but that I could use it to avoid enemies or create funnels to better kill the large swarms of space-spiders trying to rip me to shreds. You can also use mine tunnels to escape large swarms; just be careful you don’t end up tunneling into another group of bugs and get surrounded. (This happened to me a few times…)

The other interesting difference between DRGS and other auto-shooters I’ve played is how focused each run feels. You aren’t just surviving to earn upgrade mats to improve your overall character. Instead, you have goals that you need to complete to make progress through each level of a mining operation.

Between the ability to mine rocks around me, complete side objectives, and finish main mission goals, I always felt like I was doing something in Deep Rock Galactic: Survivor, which isn’t always the case in some of these games. But, like Vampire Survivors, you can eventually reach a point where you are so powerful that you don’t have to move around much to live, which is still a lot of fun, too. However, you will have to move eventually to reach the level’s exit, and because you are on a timer once that exit is open, it makes each run of Survival intense, and not too long, too.

Oh and did I mention it runs great on Steam Deck? Yeah, this is a perfect option for Valve’s portable gaming PC.

I wasn’t sure I needed another auto-shooter in my life—I already love Halls of Torment and still play Vampire Survivors—but Deep Rock Galactic: Survivor might be my favorite of all of them as it provides me with more to do during each bite-sized run and feels like a natural evolution on the formula. Plus digging a giant tunnel through a large chunk of the map funneling everything into the area where a drop pod is about to land and killing the boss in one go is pretty dang cool.

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