A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Deep Rock Galactic is a downloadable sci-fi-based first-person shooter on the Xbox One and Windows PC. In either solo play or in co-op team of up to four, players mine valuable resources off-world while fighting for survival against swarms of alien creatures. While there's a fair amount of violence in the game, with enemies often exploding into gooey chunks when killed, the creatures' blood tends to be other colors, reducing the overall impact of the gore. Parents should also be aware that, aside from potential language from other players during online team-ups, the game's regular dialogue features the characters often using more than a little profanity. There are also some references to drinking, but nothing's shown.
What's it about?
Welcome to the workforce! You are the newest employee of the DEEP ROCK GALACTIC interplanetary mining corporation. As the latest addition to our crack team of mineral extraction experts, you'll get to take in the sights and experience the wonders of exotic new locales. By "taking in the sights," we mean you'll be digging deep underground in extensive cavernous networks with the warm glow of your trusty flares guiding your way. And by "experience the wonders," we mean you'll be exploring these caverns and excavating all those rich mineral deposits lying in those depths. Sure, you might run into an alien spider or two (or maybe hundreds, but who's counting?), but that's why you've got all those nifty guns and explosives, right? I mean, if you and your team couldn't handle a few swarms of pesky bugs or worms, you wouldn't be working for Deep Rock Galactic, right? Get in, get the goods, and get out in one piece ... it's just another day at the office. Wait. What do you mean you want to discuss "hazard pay"?
Is it any good?
This addictive and challenging mix of game genres set deep underground manages to appeal to a wide audience, whether it's sci-fi or multiplayer fans. Think you've got a rough job? Try spelunking alien caves, fending off bloodthirsty monsters with limited resources and your trusty pickaxe, and hopefully making it out alive with a decent profit like the miners of Deep Rock Galactic. It takes the resource collection of games like Minecraft and mixes in elements of a first-person co-op survival shooter. This makes for an odd hybrid of gameplay, to be sure. One minute you're carefully navigating the hazards of a dark cave and slowly mining pockets of rare minerals, and the next minute you're fighting for your life against swarms of rushing alien spiders, like a scene ripped out of Starship Troopers. Survive the swarm, and you're back to the slow burn of excavation as the cycle repeats. And yet, as odd as the combination may seem, it somehow happens to work.
They say there's no substitute for hard work, and make no mistake about it, your time with Deep Rock Galactic is going to be hard work. While the controls are relatively straightforward and instantly familiar to first-person shooter fans, other quirks in the gameplay can complicate things. For starters, each mission is procedurally generated. That means the location of vital resources can vary to an extreme. One game, you might find multiple veins clustered close together and within arms' reach, while the next you might have to traverse halfway to the planet's core only to find a deposit in the ceiling of a massive cavern. Each class comes with some sort of ability to help overcome these obstacles (zip lines, drills, deployable platforms, etc.), but you'll usually need a full team working together to make the best use of them. Interestingly enough, solo play is quite a bit easier, thanks to a flying robotic sidekick that can provide covering fire and be directed to mine those hard-to-reach areas. Still, getting the goods is only half the battle. Once the escape pod is called in, the game becomes a mad race to the finish, with players trying to remember which way is up and find the fastest path to victory. It can be frustrating to get so close to victory, only to get turned around and miss the flight home. But despite the game's occasional frustration, Deep Rock Galactic is a fun twist on familiar genres and a great way to earn a (virtual) paycheck.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about teamwork. What are the advantages to working with others to accomplish a goal? How can diverse talents and divided responsibilities help to make problems or obstacles more manageable?
Discuss occupational hazards. While it's unlikely anyone will have to deal with alien bugs in their jobs, what are some of the dangers people can and do face in their jobs, and what makes the risk worth the reward?
- Platforms: Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $24.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Coffee Stain Publishing
- Release date: February 28, 2018
- Genre: First Person Shooter
- Topics: Adventures, Misfits and underdogs, Robots, Space and aliens
- ESRB rating: T for Violence, Blood, Use of Alcohol, Language
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.