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Video Game / Duskers

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In space, no one can hear you scream.
—Alien (1979), tagline

Released in 2016, Duskers is a roguelike science fiction realtime game by Misfits Attic, also known for A Virus Named TOM.

In Duskers, you play the role of a forensic investigator, flitting from derelict to derelict, attempting to piece together what happened to transform a once-vibrant universe into a cold, dead husk.

Your only companions are your fleet of up to four drones with which you explore the lifeless ships, scavenging the resources you need to survive one more jump.

Unfortunately, your scavenging is complicated by the fact that the universe isn't entirely dead. Deadly monsters infest almost every derelict, and your drones are anything but war machines. Only careful use of the tools available to your drones will prevent them from being murdered in the dark, bringing your investigation to an unceremonious halt.

This game provides examples of:

  • After the End: The game begins with you awakening from cryo sleep, apparently unaffected by whatever happened to humanity.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: One of the theories to explain humanity's demise is a Singularity that went wrong. Researched by boarding and investigating Muteki ships.
  • Alien Invasion: Another potential way that mankind was destroyed. Researched by boarding and investigating Military derelicts.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Even if your drones and/or upgrades get so wrecked that you have no hope of continuing, you have a Reset Button that can be used without losing any progress you've made collecting logs or investigating theories.
  • Apocalypse How: Humanity has vanished, and your objective is to figure out what happened. Ultimately this is futile. See No Ending below.
  • Apocalyptic Log: On boarding certain derelicts, your mothership's systems will sometimes recover log files left by the former crew of the vessel you're trying to board.
  • Attack Drone: Purple-tinted robots with autoguns that will blast your drones should they be detected. You can also make your own drones into attack drones with a Turret upgrade.
  • Booby Trap: You can set remotely detonated explosives with the Trap upgrade. Just make sure to get out of the room before you set it off.
  • Cassette Futurism: The entire fleet of derelict ships and abandoned drones you encounter and command throughout the game utilize a very basic, old-school command code. Also technology doesn't seems to have advanced enough for anything more advanced than wire-frame displays.
  • Continuous Decompression: Opening doors to rooms that have been exposed to space will vent the newly opened room as well as spread radiation after awhile.
  • Deadly Gas: Radiation is lethal over time to your drones. It will spread through open doors, and can randomly occur from a broken pipe event or an airlock bursting.
  • Deflector Shields: the Shield upgrade gives a 500 point damage barrier between enemy attacks and your drone's hitpoints. An upgrade can reduce its overall strength but give it regeneration. It can also be upgraded to make your drones immune to radiation. Just make sure you remember to turn it on.
  • Derelict Graveyard: The entire universe. From one galaxy to the next, every ship and space station left for you to find is rotting away and bereft of human life.
  • Developer's Foresight: If you exit the mission with a surviving dog in your boarding ship (r1), it will keep you company on your mothership. Though the noises might become annoying.
  • Explosive Decompression: Occurs when an asteroid hits one of the rooms, opening an airlock without your docking vessel attached, or you intentionally blow a hole in one with the Cannon ship upgrade.
  • Diegetic Interface: Since the whole game window represents a monitor on your character's ship, and EVERYTHING is keyboard controlled from the word go, it can be assumed that your IRL keyboard and monitor represent the computer peripherals used to interact with the drones in-game. There's some bloom lighting and other subtle effects meant to mimic a CRT screen.
  • Flash Step: More or less what the Leaper enemy does for its attack. It can clear a ridiculous amount of ground in a single jump and deals a worrying amount of damage, but takes a moment to recover before it can attack again.
  • Grey Goo: One of the possible ways that humanity met its demise. Researched by boarding enough space stations and fuel depots.
  • Hell Is That Noise: What you hear is filtered back to you by your drones. The ominous creaking of the ship, the soft whirring of a power generator, and the noises of the creatures lurking in the darkness... you'll come to love and hate the sounds of Duskers.
  • Land Mine Goes "Click!": Mines are one of the weapons you can equip on your drones. The "click" comes from seeing an alert in your console that it has detonated upon contact with an enemy. Hopefully you aren't witnessing this explosion firsthand.
  • Late to the Tragedy: Whatever rendered humanity extinct, it entirely passed the player, who then awakens and must investigate for themselves what happened.
  • Malevolent Architecture: Not all (or even many) of the derelicts are stable. Their airlocks can fail and their pipes can burst, flooding rooms with lethal radiation as you're trying to explore. On occasion, they can also stop responding to a random console command — expedition-ending news if the command is "close (door)", throwing your Tactical Door Use right out the window. And that's not to mention the random vents which can leave any room vulnerable to Swarms.
  • MegaCorp: Muteki appears to be this, judging by the logs you can find aboard their ships.
  • Mook Maker: On derelicts infested with Swarms, be VERY wary of rooms with vents in them. Not only can Swarms travel through them freely, the vents themselves can also spawn more Swarms.
    • Slime also works this way, with first slime to spawn continually producing a line of secondary slime blobs towards nearby drones. Given how hard they are to kill, it may count as Advancing Wall of Doom.
  • Murphy's Bed: Your boarding ship (r1) can become something akin to this if you allow threats or radiation to get into it.
  • No Body Left Behind:
    • Part of the mystery. Whatever happened, it left no noticeable traces of any human life, not even bones.
    • Averted for drones and enemy corpses. Slain enemies will leave corpses (and prevent you from closing doors), while you can find drone corpses (both salvageable and completely wrecked) on many ships. If your own drones die, their corpses are left, as well.
    • Confusingly, you can on rare occasions find a dog that somehow survived the extinction event.
  • No Ending: The game itself has no set ending or win condition. This applies to the plot as well. None of the theories regarding whatever disaster occurred can ever be confirmed, nor do any others present themselves. The mystery ultimately has no answer.
  • One-Hit Kill: Leapers can take down most unshielded drones in a single hit. From across a room.
  • Piñata Enemy: Security drones. While not harmless, they're far and away the easiest threat to deal with, and the only one that drops any kind of reward (a few scrap) when you manage to kill one.
  • Practical Currency: Scrap. You need it to repair your upgrades and drones, but you can also exchange it for new upgrades or fuel at trading posts.
  • Radiation-Immune Mutants: Slime and leapers, while organic, are immune to radiation.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: Notably and tragically averted. Humanity is gone, but their derelict ships are falling apart, your upgrades deteriorate with use, and even your ship's video feed becomes increasingly unreliable when you can't commandeer a new vessel.
  • Random Event: Mostly in the form of failing airlocks, pipes bursting, and asteroids colliding with derelicts.
  • Random Number God: Your greatest ally and your most bitter enemy. RN Gesus giveth and RN Gesus taketh away very often in Duskers.
  • Reset Button: A variation — you can reset the universe back to the beginning of the game, keeping all story progress, but having to start over with a new ship and new set of drones.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: Each "galaxy" in this universe seems to have only a small handful of star systems.
  • Sensor Suspense: All of the gameplay is seen through an In-Universe feed of your drones' sensors.
  • Sentry Gun: Comes in two flavors; the first is an upgrade your drones can mount, the second (and much more lethal) are shipboard defense turrets that require power and a drone with the Interface upgrade but will annihilate anything moving in the room they cover.
  • Signature Roar: The Leaper (once provoked) does this.
  • Sound-Coded for Your Convenience: There are some important audio cues, particularly dreaded ones being buzzing of the swarm behind a closed door and creaking of bent metal that warns you about incoming pipe rupture.
  • Tactical Door Use: Essential in keeping your drones alive for as long as possible.
  • The Plague: A potentially galaxy-spanning superbug is another possible reason for humanity being wiped out. Researched by boarding enough Medical derelicts and outposts. Requires a specific ship upgrade later to continue the plotline.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: One of the safest ways to eliminate threats aboard a derelict is to herd them into a room with an adjoined airlock and then vent the room. The problem is that doing this will also vent any salvage and all other objects in the room. Including your drones and even generators and interface consoles.
  • Yet Another Stupid Death: No matter how many upgrades you have on your drone fleet, it's all too easy to get careless at the wrong moment and end up with a fleet of wrecked drones.