Developed By: HOF Studios Categories: Strategy, Tactics, RPG Release Date: 06.04.2020
A first impression says a lot. More often than not, it can ultimately sour an experience. My first impression with Depth of Extinction was with the Switch Icon/Promotional art. I wasn’t a fan. Upon actually starting the game though, I was greeted with superb spritework and animation. Catchy music that the developers take the time to credit each artist the moment a song starts. I had the wrong idea before starting, I expected somewhat of a cheap, generic “western” looking game. What greeted me was a rather striking looking game I had trouble putting down at times.
To keep it simple, Depth of Extinction is a turn based strategy game of the tactical squad based variety with the main goal to scavenge, sneak, or snuff out rival groups, giving off a bit of a Water World vibe. You start the game out by picking a mercenary to help you out and join your party before going out to do any missions, while you need to pay for Mercenaries, early on they often have a weapon such as a shotgun or sniper rifle your main set won’t, and can further increase your options in firefights. In a stage proper, you’re dropped in and told to search around, usually to find a certain piece of loot or take out any opposition. Despite the game having a tile based movement system, nothing ever feels slow or blocky about movement, this cannot however be said about your per turn actions. While it’s easy and near instant to do what the game contextually wants you to do, it’s selecting the alternative actions that might come off as a bit cumbersome or inconvenient, but considering the game is turn based, there’s no reason to rush or not be considerate with actions.
Of course in games like this, you’ll need to shoot to get your way or just not die. Shooting, and even using sub weapons in the game all depend on how accurate your shots will be. Length, angle, whether or not there’s cover, it can all change how successful you’ll be when attacking, always on a percentage. Unless you’re at the perfect angle or using a specific weapon, it probably won’t be 100%, even if you’re just in a bad position and using the wrong weapon, you won’t be at 0% either. There’s always a chance to get a hit and making a a killing shot at a low percentage is such a good feeling. All that said, when it doubt, there’s always sub weapons like grenades or moltov cocktails that can go over cover and even cause status ailments. Throughout a firefight, you might get set of fire, taking a turn to sit out, or get a fractured limb, cutting down how far you can move, even getting cut to bleed, taking one damage per turn.
Having money and fuel are vital in the game, fuel makes it so you can go from mission to mission, money to get new equipment, weapons, mercenaries, or even fuel if needed. Every spot on a map counts as it’s own mission, while majority of stages end in fights, depending on the class of a member of your party, you might be able to squeeze through with no conflict, if given the option, usually ending up with free fuel. Even with that though, you might come to a group of slave traders, you can buy a slave if you want, or just choose to kill the traders. While the latter is definitely more effort, it leads to more rewards such as money, more fuel, or even equipment for free. This will definitely make your fuel usage seem like less of a waste.
Your party can level up between missions if they’re used enough. While picking a specific class in itself has perks, it also boosts your points for additional perks, like not losing a turn to reload, or not ending your turn when you fire, or even getting revived when killed once per mission. This is on top of stat upgrades you may get. Combining these perks can make your flimsy, under-powered team into monsters if planned carefully. The equipment you can buy can counter the status effects one would get too, stopping the effectiveness of a flash grenade, getting a fireproof suit to keep you from wasting a turn setting out fires.
It took me bit to really get into the game and how it flowed. I’m not the biggest fan of the genre, but I’m not one to immediately give up on something if it doesn’t immediately pull me in. It wasn’t until a certain firefight that it really clicked for me. It’s a stand off, I’m outnumbered, I have an item to revive a party member, but they’re across an open door where the opposition can shoot at me. Lucking out with an enemy missing, I can rush over to my downed party member, who I instruct to aim and wait to shoot if someone moves near the opened door. One enemy moves and gets shot, takes them out, we’re at even footing now. Rushing over to my party member also put me at a perfect angle to get a good shot in, which happened to be a critical shot taking them out as well. It might have all just been luck, but there was no matching the feeling of almost being sure you’d lose, to coming up victorious.
While the game does have a story, at no point did it really invest me or push me to keep playing, I almost forgot it was there half the time. What did motivate me to keep moving was going from location to location on the map, seeing if I could maneuver my way out of an encounter, and if I didn’t, the quick fights were never annoying and ended up being incredibly satisfying if done well.
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*Game Download Code provided for review purposes