Deep Eclipse Review (PC)
There is a campaign mode in Deep Eclipse but there does not seem to be any story to go along with it. After a few levels there is a tutorial on how to use the upgrade system, that is about all the communication you get from the game.
The game has you clearing sectors of what looks like evil space bugs. Each sector consists of several levels which need to be cleared and culminate in a boss fight which is reminiscent of most boss battles in bullet hell games. The game is played from a top down perspective with the ship remaining at the center unless you get to the edge of the level.
When an enemy dies there is a chance it will drop a power up or some crystals. The power ups give you some temporary status effect like health regen, energy regen, speed increase or various other effects. The crystals allow you to purchase upgrades for your ship.
Upgrades are split into ship attributes, abilities and weapons. Ship attributes are things like health, defense, attack, speed, agility and so on. Abilities have to be unlocked before they can be used then dragged over to the numbers on the screen to allow the ability to be used. Some of the abilities include mines, health regen and a shield. Only one ability can be activated at once and you have to cycle through them to get to the right one before you can use it. Weapons can also be purchased and upgraded, as with abilities these have to be dragged to the numbered panel to assign the weapons to a number on the keyboard.
The controls took a while to get used to. In most games of this type pressing the W key will move your ship in the direction it is facing. In Deep Eclipse the WSAD keys always move your ship in the same direction no matter which way it is pointing. This can be a bit disorientating at first but once you get used to it there is no problem.
I dislike Deep Eclipse for several reasons. Firstly the view is far too zoomed in with no way to zoom out further to see more. When on the more difficult levels, even with the minimap, it is very difficult to dodge enemy fire or indeed the enemies themselves as they appear and slam into your ship in the blink of an eye. The ship itself looks far too large on screen giving the game a clunky feel.
Graphically the game offers nothing exciting and the background music, while pleasant, is nothing to write home about. Compared to a similar game, like Beat Hazard, Deep Eclipse falls short of the mark.
Each level feels exactly the same as the last until you reach the boss fight at the end of the sector. This brings me to my final issue with Deep Eclipse. Each level can be annoyingly difficult as you’re closed in on by 30 enemies and unable to move until your ship explodes. You are forced to continually use the same strategy, move backwards and shoot at the enemies as they move towards you, over and over till you complete the level. To top it off, the boss fights are ridiculously difficult compared to the rest of the levels.
The first boss is a giant yellow bug thing that spins round and continuously fires out shots which are too fast moving for you to dodge and can reduce your health to nothing in seconds. Also, it moves so fast that just trying to keep up with it becomes a challenge in itself. This enormous difficulty spike at the end of the first sector had me wondering whether I wanted to continue at all. If you do kill the boss and proceed to the next sector you are greeted with a new set of levels almost indistinguishable from the last.
Deep Eclipse is a well developed game with no noticeable bugs, quick loading times and solid RPG elements. The gameplay and graphics let it down somewhat, especially considering there is no shortage of games in this genre that cost less than the £9.99 asking price of Deep Eclipse and have a better look and feel to them.