Deadnaut is Screwfly Studios' second game and follow up to cult hit, Zafehouse: Diaries. Deadnauts, so named because they’re unlikely to return, must explore, investigate and fight their way through the derelict ships of dead civilisations. Every mission is unique and no two locations are the same.
User reviews:
Overall:
Mostly Positive (111 reviews) - 70% of the 111 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Nov 27, 2014

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Recent updates View all (8)

June 6

The Screwfly Collection - get all our games for 15% off!


Love Deadnaut? Why not grab The Screwfly Collection containing our other games, Zafehouse Diaries and Fear Equation? Complete the set and save 15%!

We've just released a special discounted Steam bundle containing all three of Screwfly Studios' strategy titles - Fear Equation, Zafehouse Diaries and Deadnaut.

About Zafehouse Diaries: Stuck in a remote, abandoned town, you must lead five survivors with conflicting motivations, fragile relationships and fiery prejudices to safety from the roving undead.

About Fear Equation: A turn-based horror strategy game where you play the engineer of a modified freight train, built to protect its occupants from a deadly fog that brings their nightmares to life.

If you enjoyed one, there's a great chance you'll love our other games and there's no better way to own them all. In addition, you'll save 15% compared to buying them individually.

Interested? Check out The Screwfly Collection here!

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March 31

Deadnaut v1.3.1 update notes - optimisations, fixes and balance tweaks galore

Greetings fellow commanders, Deadnaut has just been patched to v1.3.1!

We've been tinkering under the hood of Deadnaut and come up with a healthy batch of balance changes, fixes, optimisations and tweaks to make your experience in the depths of space even more doomed enjoyable!
  • Balance: Ghosts enemies can no longer drag deadnauts. This fixes an issue where such enemies could drag characters into the void, resulting in them getting stuck.
  • Balance: Hacking sentinels is now more effective (easier to hack, hacks last longer).
  • Balance: Enemies can no longer hit each other with their own projectiles (blast weapons excluded). This matches the behaviour of deadnaut friendly fire.
  • Balance: The amount of Knowledge stolen by the Siphon flaw has been reduced and capped.
  • Balance: Mines are now significantly more effective, especially at higher gear levels, and take into account the wielder's combat skill.
  • Balance: The image created by the projector now decays faster and takes more damage from all sources, however, the wielder's detection skill provides more of a benefit.
  • Tweak: Stim use is now bound to the left ("[") and right ("]") bracket keys, representing the first and second slots respectively.
  • Tweak: Deadnauts with melee primaries and ranged secondaries will now use their ranged weapons when appropriate.
  • Tweak: Deadnauts with melee primaries, scanners and projectors no longer automatically shoot enemies unless they've been spotted or forced to attack.
  • Tweak: Inter-mission exit game button now reads "Save & exit".
  • Tweak: Grouped deadnauts are now smarter about spreading out work when a number of consecutive "Investigate" orders are given.
  • Tweak: Grouped deadnauts will no longer wait for the best hacker to open a door if that hacker is far away.
  • Fixed: End game debrief was reporting erroneous numbers for "Sentinels hacked".
  • Fixed: An issue where the chat log would stop working. A side-effect of this change is that extremely large chat logs will have their oldest entries culled.
  • Fixed: The Siphon flaw allowing a negative Knowledge balance.
  • Fixed: A few issues when exiting the game.
  • Fixed: The Selective Deafness flaw no longer allows deadnauts to open disabled (grey) doors.
  • Fixed: Mines now once again apply critical hit effects.
  • Fixed: Deadnauts will never attack hacked sentinels unless forced by the player.
  • Fixed: A rare issue where saved games would fail to load.
  • Fixed: Additional checks to make sure portals don't teleport deadnauts into the void.
  • Performance: Updated SQLite library to 3.11.
  • Performance: Game assemblies are now built with Microsoft's Roslyn compiler.
  • Performance: Updated screen space ambient occlusion effect.
  • Performance: Extensive optimisations to memory and CPU usage to reduce stuttering.
  • Performance: Optimisations to sentinel AI to reduce stuttering in later levels.
For past patch notes, please visit the Screwfly forums!

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Reviews

“I will cut to the chase. Deadnaut is my Game of the Year. A fresh, dark and compelling squad strategy affair that draws on roguelikes as much as it does ALIENS, Screwfly Studios’ science-fiction survival follow-up to Zafehouse Diaries is far and away the most exciting thing I’ve played in 2014.”
10 – Coffee Break Gaming

“Screwfly Studios has created something that is at once easy to pick up and play yet also full of so many different options that you may find yourself, like me, absolutely fascinated with all of possibilities the game contains.”
Destructoid

“On one level, yes, Deadnaut captures the feeling of Dallas, Kane and Lambert exploring the Derelict on LV-426. You're cocooned somewhere safe, relaying orders and watching their life signs tremble and shift toward flatline. On another level, Deadnaut is Viscera Cleanup Detail played straight. It's a game about the aftermath of terrible events, but here the aftermath has teeth and claws of its own.”
Rock, Paper, Shotgun

About This Game

Deadnaut is Screwfly Studios' second game and follow up to cult hit, Zafehouse: Diaries.

Deadnauts, so named because they’re unlikely to return, must explore, investigate and fight their way through the derelict ships of dead civilisations. Every mission is unique and no two locations are the same. Each ship contains mysterious enemies and hostile security systems. Manage your Deadnauts' skills, talents, relationships and flaws - and you might get them out alive.

Features

  • Squad-based tactics: Control five complex characters as they explore, investigate and fight their way through each mission
  • Character generation: Create back stories for your team, mould their relationships and equip them well
  • Every game is unique: Dynamically-generated missions and campaigns ensure no two mysteries are the same
  • Flexible and complex: Adapt to your situation with an arsenal of weapons and shields, or use stealth, hacking and sensors to move unnoticed
  • Out of control: Deadnauts have their own fears, motivations and dispositions. Stay in charge, keep in contact, don’t let them out of your sight

There are many ways to play Deadnaut. You can focus on combat and offense with a heavily-armed crew, or go quietly with sensors, cloaks and shields. Use randomly generated Deadnauts, or fine-tune your crew with the character generator. It’s your call.

Deadnaut is a challenging game. Not all strategies will work all the time. Instead, you'll need to equip your squad with the right tools, maximise your Deadnauts' respective talents, and adjust your approach when things go wrong.

About Screwfly Studios

We're a two-man developer based in Australia, dedicated to creating deep, innovative strategy games for PC. Deadnaut is the follow-up to Screwfly's debut title, Zafehouse: Diaries, which is also available on Steam.

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP
    • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.2GHz or AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA or AMD/ATI graphics card with 1GB RAM, with support for Direct3D 9 and Shader Model 3
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Storage: 250 MB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX compatible sound card
    Minimum:
    • OS: Mac OS X 10.7
    • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA or AMD/ATI graphics card with 1GB RAM and Shader Model 3 support
    • Storage: 250 MB available space
    Minimum:
    • OS: Ubuntu 12.04
    • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA or AMD/ATI graphics card with 1GB RAM and Shader Model 3 support
    • Storage: 250 MB available space
    • Additional Notes: Other Linux distributions should work, however they are not officially supported.
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated! Learn more
Overall:
Mostly Positive (111 reviews)
Recently Posted
Rochmoninoff
( 5.9 hrs on record )
Posted: May 10
I think this one was a mistake.
I can see how some people will like this game but I'm not one of them.
Part of my frustration with this game is that I simply don't get it - i just find my team slowly winnowed down to nothing.
I don't progress, I run out of resources and lose.
Every time.

In addition the game is so abstract that losing is also boring.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Flibedi-floob
( 7.0 hrs on record )
Posted: April 5
Have you ever wanted to be Gorman in the Aliens movie?
Have you often wondered if women (and feminine men) would be suitable for joining the military?
In that case, this game is for you.
This game is a Gorman simulator, plain and simple.
...and as such, it's about watching missions go FUBAR over and over again, people disobaying orders, people being too caught up in personal conflicts, and audio disturbances resulting in your orders being drowned in static.

After losing my first 14 Deadnauts on Normal difficulty, with only 1 survivor surviving simply because he was standing guard next to the exit the entire time, I switched to playing a campaign on the Easy difficulty, and managed to beat it with no Deadnauts dead, and a 90% completionist rating. ...so this game is beatable. However, this game isn't really about beating it, because beating it is pretty boring. Instead, it's about all the interesting ways in which a mission will go FUBAR. Name your deadnauts after the most unlikable characters you can come up with, and watch them flail around screaming before they get eaten.

Another fun part of the game, is trying to figure out monster weaknesses and behavior, just like in the Alien series. It seems entirely randomized, so you'll be having a great variation of the kind of alien creature horror coming their way.

Oh, and don't read the instruction manual. It's more fun playing "What's THIS button do? ... Oh. Oops." that way.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Vulpsi
( 11.4 hrs on record )
Posted: April 4
A solid game with a good set of mechanics.

Honestly, this game has a learning curve like a brick wall, with another on top of it and another on top of that.

Basicly, you will learn one aspect of the game, then you find another that will annoy the crap out of you.

At first the combat got me confused, then the hacking, then turrets, then special types of enemys.

But each has a balance that you need to learn in order to solve.

Also it helps to play the game on easy with a cheaty team... to do trial and error with... and occasionly laugh at.

Overall, another great game by the devs.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Saint Aaron
( 13.4 hrs on record )
Posted: March 10
This is excellent, I love the atmosphere, however it could use a lot more content, those randomly generated crew logs seem to be variations of the exact same thing. At it's current state it feels rather minimalistic, and after a few missions it gets rather repetative. Perhaps the devs should consider adding an 'easy mode'?

Pros
Complete control over your crew customization
Well thought out game mechanics
Easy to use controls
Fun to play

Cons
No tutorial
Frustrating
Helpful? Yes No Funny
ZAToM \\{{~*~}}//
( 25.9 hrs on record )
Posted: January 18
Wow. Nice and different game. i see the future of great VR here.

pretty hard in the beginning but after ive asked a friend for hints and read a guide it was so much better.

this dev studio makes always very unique games and i can understand why people dont like it (since its hard and doesnt have fancy graphics).

but fantastic idea!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Zen
( 5.0 hrs on record )
Posted: January 17
The idea of this game is quite good and interesting.

However, I don't think that idea was implemented very well... the game becomes boring after some time playing. The HUD is really poor and sometimes frustrating.

Ran with a lot of bugs in my PC.

I hope someone develops a game like this, but with better quality.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
mordmorgan
( 0.7 hrs on record )
Posted: January 13
Awful.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
PaMelrabo
( 12.6 hrs on record )
Posted: January 9
Love the game, its pacing and how tension builds up. You never feel overpowered, and a mistake on your orders spell ruin for all your team. You only need the first mission to get the grips of the interface and its clever-but-cruel design decisions. After that you wonder why so many isometric tactics games spend all the effort in fancy graphics instead of playability.

I think there's a lot of love into this project, or maybe I just loved this game from the beginning. Of course, it has its flaws and some of the game mechanics never get to shine as others do, and I wish it had some more content about the aliens.

Just finished the first 'easy' campaign, after several hours and maybe 10 failures.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
MadReizka
( 0.3 hrs on record )
Posted: January 4
Pile of trash.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Sexual Transgression Vessel
( 1.4 hrs on record )
Posted: December 10, 2015
grab a couple of nameless faces and throw them at even more anonymous hostile entities ooh look at me use some fancy words
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
148 of 170 people (87%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
3.2 hrs on record
Posted: December 9, 2014
tl;dr: For me, this teeters on the brink of both a yes and no recommendation. If you get a kick out of experimental titles, the $10 entry price is perfectly reasonable and you should probably check this out. If you're looking for something to entertain you for more than a couple of days, I'd give it a miss.

---

Deadnaut's concept has real potential, and the devs nailed the visuals/audio here in my opinion - a wonderful cramped aesthetic combined with atmospheric sounds and visual effects really creates a claustrophobic feeling and oozes tension, whilst allowing the devs to utilise a very minimal graphics set for the primary "gameplay" portion, fleshing it out with the logs you find and the descriptions of the enemies you encounter that you'll analyse between missions.

Most of the "tactical" portion comes in determining how to leverage your squad's innate skills with the available equipment and dealing with whatever negative traits they have. This isn't as much fun as it sounds - I've not found any reason other than people not getting along to want to split your squad up (there doesn't appear to be any other tactical advantage to doing so - the squad that stays together has an innate firepower advantage), so it feels a bit like a forced carryover from Zafehouse that probably could have been left out, or the relationship factors made an optional "bigger challenge" difficulty.

Combat feels a little uninspiring - your guys will exchange fire/blows with the enemy, and whether you've kitted them out properly (in accordance with the intelligence you've collected in previous outings) is going to be the primary determinant of success, meaning if you screwed that portion up, there's no way you're going to recover. I'm yet to make it past the second mission in each set of four though, so I might be missing elements that get introduced later.

Exploring was great fun at first, but I was hoping for a bit more variation in what you find on ships - every single "investigate" icon I've clicked on has been a crew corpse - some more descriptive flavour text from your troops on what they see when they enter a room would probably also make it feel less like I'm exploring the same randomly chained set of rooms over and over.

I'd love to see this fleshed out further in a sequel - perhaps with an XCOM style "base" mechanic, where you send Deadnauts off to explore derelicts, research tech, and lose hundreds of "volunteers" in the process, perhaps collecting information that will stop you suffering the same fate as the aliens whose ships you explore.

In summary - much like Zafehouse, it's a great concept that draws you in, but some of the execution will leave you wishing parts were more fleshed out.
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54 of 58 people (93%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
12.4 hrs on record
Posted: December 9, 2014
*** UPDATED : After putting a little more time in the game I've fleshed out the review to paint a better picture of the game. Don't be put off by the real-time aspect of the game, your Deadnauts aren't idiots and will automatically fire at any hostiles they detect. ***

Searching derelict ships from ancient civilizations in deep space is pretty much as deadly as it sounds, however, a well balanced party with the appropriate equipment can brave the dangers and emerge relatively unscathed. While your first few attempts might result in you getting your party horribly maimed, a little attentiveness and situational awareness will go a long way and allow you to play an entire game with no casualties. Make your own party and name them after friends and family, and if they die, no worries! You can clone them! Just don't get too attached to the clone...

There will be incredibly tense moments in game that are not arbitrarily forced on you via a streamlined story and can't be replicated every game you play. Each ship has it's own challenges and enemies that can potentially shorten your life span. Since enemies, loot, and ship layout changes with each new campaign, there is no reliable way to game the meta and ensure victory each play through.

Between traditional zombie-like space enemies that want to disembowel you, giant Sentinels (laser turrets!) that can gun down your entire party in a matter of seconds, and artifical intelligence programs known as Watchers that are essentially cyber ninjas patrolling the ship's network you have your work cut out for you. Running around guns blazing might work in one campaign and get you killed within five minutes in another.

Imagine the following scenario : Your hearty crew breach a new room and as they cautiously advance are suddenly swarmed on nearly all sides by almost a dozen enemies. Fear sets in and bullets fly in every direction, your non-combat oriented Deadnauts not having the best accuracy under the pressure. Inadvertently, the stray rounds bounced around the room far more than recommended and comprimised the structural integrity of the room you're in. Life support fails and your crew is mercilessly exposed to the vacuum of space. You quickly dart towards the door you just entered from, when unexpectedly, your video feed dies, you can't issue orders to your men because your audio feed has been cut, and the door they're attempting to reach has been sealed. Congratulations, a roaming Watcher just ruined your day because you forgot to install a firewall earlier to counter it.

The watcher can't maintain the jam for a long period of time, and your audio/visual feed comes back just in time for you to realize the majority of your party is at half life from standing in the destroyed section of the ship. Your Deadnaut hacker hauls ♥♥♥ to the door, opens it, and everyone throws themselves into the safety of the adjoining room. Or maybe everyone dies horribly because your hacker got dragged off and flayed earlier. Unfortunately, it takes 15 seconds to open the sealed door and everybody dies in the mean time.

That is just a sample of the fun you can expect!

As far as party composition goes, your crew of five's roles are determined by the type of suit they're wearing, as it will allocate different slots for equipment in weapons, tech, sensors, or protection. When you complete missions, find blueprints on the ships you're searching, or purchase new ones on the marketplace afterwards, you might have a suit with slots for weapons and tech. This changes each game, however, and the slots each type of suit has is different every time.

But just because there is no class system in Deadnaut's does not mean you're going to assign a dumb grunt the role as the group's techie responsible for deactivating turrets or installing firewalls to keep Watchers off your back. Characters have four stats that correspond with eight abilities, and where an interesting aspect of the game comes into play is character creation. You can customize your roster of Deadnaut's to fulfill specific roles.

These aren't going to be Master Chief's with flawless personalities and sparkly clean criminal records, since only the desperate or deranged would seek what usually amounts to a one way trip into deep space aboard alien derelict ships. If you want a character with extra stats to allocate you're going to have to decide if you want to assign them extra flaws, such as taking stims without being ordered or maybe they periodically steal money from the group. Is that trade off worth the extra firepower?

At the end of the day this game offers a lot for $10 and while I probably won't be investing 100s of hours into it, I've enjoyed the short time I've spent and will log more later. For me it scratches an itch and even reminds me a bit of Firefly, in the way that you have a motley crew, all with different motivations, just trying to make ends meat in the darkest corners of the galaxy.


Pros :

- A unique game that pulls no punches, you're punished for your mistakes and rewarded for careful planning and positioning.

- The game changes with each campaign, one might have you searching medical ships discovering what went wrong, while others will have you salvaging military warships with active turrets around every corner.

- Good amount of character customization, I was able to reconstruct my family with pretty accurate detail (or, what our futuristic Deadnaut alter egos would be). Each Deadnaut had their place in my party and if one of them died it made the mission harder.

- Intense atmosphere, the sound is well done and when alarms start going off, you start to panic.


Cons:

- Even after reading the manual it still took trial and error in game to figure out what was happening and how to use abilities in game. It didn't take very long, but it could be a potential source of frustration.

- While the atmosphere is pretty interesting, the crew logs aren't particularly intense and are repetitive. Once you've read the log of one ship, you've pretty much read them all.

- Replayability might be questionable for some people. My first successful campaign completion took 2 hours, and my second one took barely 66 minutes. That doesn't mean I'm done with the game, however, as each campaign has individual challenges and I've only succeeded on about 2 out of 9 attempts. Others might finish one campaign and be done though.

- Confusing relationship mechanics. I couldn't tell why one of my characters with high cohesion (the charisma stat) was hated by everyone else. Sometimes your characters mesh really well together, and other times they start fighting within minutes of a new campaign, even with the likeable trait.


TL;DR = Even if the game doesn't receive substantial updates, this is a game worth trying if you're into strategy games or rogue likes/lites. Or dying surrounded by friends and family on an alien ship in deep space sounds really fun.
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89 of 116 people (77%) found this review helpful
6 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
7.3 hrs on record
Posted: May 20, 2015
Let it never be said that I didn't at least try. I have played this game for about 3 hours, and it's been teeth-grindingly frustrating. I am being completely honest when I say I have absolutely never felt this level of animosity towards a game. Here are the biggest problems I can list, if and following that I will lay out in more detail my frustrations to anybody who wants to read that far.
1: Totally random. It's entirely possible to gear up your team and send them into a 100% impossible mission
2: Even when you know what you're doing, impossible scenarios will be thrown at you
3: No mod support. Don't like a feature? Too bad. You're stuck with it. (Devs have said it will come with enough player demand, but I doubt it very seriously just from their phrasing about the work it would take)
4: Some of the character flaws can make a character impossible to use. In an already ball-busting difficulty curve, do we really need that?
5: While in pressured suits, you can die of vacuum exposure. Excuse me?
6: Sentinels. Big evil guns that kill in one hit, can only be hacked once you've seen them, and tend to sit out in the open where you won't see them by any means until it's far too late.
7: You will be SEVERELY outnumbered and there's a good chance you'll find yourself swarmed by a very large group of armed to the teeth aliens
8: You'll unlock new weapons before you have armor capable of supporting it. Hope you didn't waste your currency on it too early.
9: Some of the contextual actions have to be activated from a certain camera angle, or else the menu will disappear.
10: Replacing squad members is too expensive for this kind of game.

So right there we have 10 good reasons to dodge this one. The concept kicks butt, no denying. I LOVE the atmosphere. I love the isolation. You, as the character, are the pilot of some nondescrepit kind of 1980s tech powered spaceship, and you control all the action through a series of 3 screens and a viewport. I have really felt the pangs of loneliness just staring at these screens, and overall Screwfly did a fantastic job of setting the backdrop and stage for their game. Truly fantastic. However, the gameplay leaves a lot to be desired, just like Zafehouse Diaries. I hate that game, simply because it's impossible. Every little thing you do will end in disaster constantly because the gameplay is half-baked and poorly implemented. But we're not discussing that here, we're talking about the poor gameplay in ANOTHER game by the same developer. First up is the gearing. You may either create your own characters, or roll the dice. There are 4 classes, as follows:
Combat (carries weapons as primary)
Tech (Carries hacking gear as primary)
Field (Carries shield projectors as primary)
Sensor (Carries sensor pingers as primary)
All of these have a place in the squad except for Field. Because of the limitations of the armor, if you only have one field unit, you have to play favorites with your soldiers. Sure, you only need to extract 1 Deadnaut from the ship to be successful, but at a whopping 3,000Kn to revive the dead, it's pretty much a death sentence to do that. Now then, for the first 2 1/2 hours, I died in the first ship. Every time. I'd get somewhere close, and then I'd die. But this last mission is what did me in. I went into it as carefully as I could. I got lucky: Melee only enemies in a tight ship with decent integrity. That's the best setup you can get. I even caught the Sentinel on board and was able to disable it safely. But it all broke down as I was pulling the log. Would you know, the gen engine decided to place a teleporter on the bridge. I have 2 options: Either destroy it and safely extract the data, or let it be and face a steady stream of enemies until I can get away. I chose to destroy it, and for some reason that vented the bridge. Now here's where it got fun. Noticing that all of my characters were dying from vacuum (which above... Pressure suits. Explain this immediately.), I instructed them to grab the log and run back out the door. The door is now locked thanks to Watchers, which patrol the ship and look for ways to cause you BIG problems. Either way, the instructions were ignored. All of my signal bars were full, and I should've been able to get out fine, but nope. Nobody was taking orders at all. It wasn't until the first person suffocated that everybody else got in gear, grabbed the log, and another died before the door opened. So even in the most optimistic scenario, I lost 2/5 because of 'random' factors. I feel the need to say that I don't oppose the idea of rougelike games. I enjoy them from time to time. But when I encounter a game that I can sink 3 hours into and STILL not beat the first level, well I consider that to be a failure on the part of the developer. Do not buy this game if you enjoy your sanity. If it's the atmosphere you want, go buy Elegy for a Dead World. Much the same feeling of isolation and lonelyness, much less wanting to put an axe in your computer.
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90 of 121 people (74%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
0.4 hrs on record
Posted: December 8, 2014
Early impressions with edits and later to a full review once I get more playing time in.

Okay, rogue likes, rogue lites, rogue whatevers have made not only a comback but have crept into the mainstream; these aren't just for the hardcore nerdist anymore. Deadnaut is one of the most atmospheric games in any genre I have played ever. Period. [I've been a gamer since the Amiga, Atari St, and C64 days].

Deadnaut has a gritty aesthetic, this isn't Star Trek with everything looking shiny and somewhat sterile. In fact, Deadnaut feels more "primitive" than being aboard the Nostromo. It sort of looks like the interior of a World War II sub yanked into the future. It feels somewhat claustrophobic and that adds to the tension. Moreover, your sensors aren't exactly Star Trek issue either. As you monitor your squad to their impending doom, the viewscreen - or port to be more accurate - will sometimes experience staic due to radiation levels. As in Alien, squad life signs are monitored and that too is rather panic inducing as you try to get your squad out of harm's way - and there is a LOT of harm lurking in these derelict ships you are exploring.

Character creation is deep. You have points to spend on each phase of each crewperson's stats. But, Deadnaut goes beyond mere D&D type stas. You are creating a sort of skeletal bio of each member. Their education earlier in "lie" directly impacts their performance on missions and even more interestingly it impacts how each individual squad member interacts with the rest of the squad. Yiu get a sense that these are truly mercenary type space scavengers and there is no noble quest to fulfill.

The action is in real time though the pace is not frantic. The sensor representation of the derelicts and your crew are somewhat abstract but rather than that being a distraction, it actually adds to the atmosphere of this gem out of nowhere.

I have played as of this writing only 21 mintes or so. All but one of my squad died and we are talking perma-death here. That said, the game is not unfair as many rogue type games can be. I suppose I would call this a successful (so far) marriage of RTS, RPG, and Rogue like.

It's fun, dark, grimy, and weird - like my girlfriend but without the Satanic tattoos.

See you out there sister and brother Deadnauts!!
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33 of 37 people (89%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
20.1 hrs on record
Posted: July 11, 2015
The devs obviously sat down and watched that one scene in Aliens and said "Let's make a game about that." You're Lieutenant William Gorman!

Taken directly in that context, this game succeeds quite well atmospherically. The console is chunky lo-fi-sci-fi and the viewscreen reminds of the installation map they looked at in the movie. This is a nice way for an indie developer to get away with less compelling graphics in the viewscreen. The game continually reminds you that you're not personally with the squad. Your video, audio, data connections fluctuate and commands sometimes aren't heard.

The gameplay is quite good in that you have a small squad of highly specialized guys (you can customize them a bunch) and you have to micromanage them carefully to succeed. The game is very challenging but I find I've usually lost due to a moment of carelessness, in classic roguelike fashion.

Excellent replayability. I've won, I've lost many times, and I'm still playing it and having new experiences each time. It's enjoyable to fail, tweak your squad members, and try again.

The flavor text generation is a nice touch. The ship logs, the overarching story, the alien descriptions, the enemy characteristics, and the lengthy descriptions for all of the above, are quite well done. Though much of it doesn't really matter from a gameplay perspective I still enjoy reading about it.

The enemies are different each game, sometimes quite substantially. It might be ice zombies, ethereal specters, leaping hordes, etc. Between each of the 4 ships in the campaign, you have a chance to buy equipment. Your purchasing decisions are based largely on how well you have investigated the ships, and how much you have learned about the enemy's strengths and weaknesses. Reading the logs is really quite important, and making decisions based on them will make or break your campaign.

Recommended!
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37 of 45 people (82%) found this review helpful
Recommended
4.3 hrs on record
Posted: December 8, 2014
Pros
Complete control over your crew customization
Well thought out game mechanics
Easy to use controls
Fun to play
Haven't run into any bugs(Yet)

Cons
No tutorial
Frustrating

Deadnaut, is really not an accurate name for this game as more often then not im dead again. Luckly for me i can be a glutton for punishment which this game has in spades.

Im mainly going to address my con list here as i feel like although the game has cons they are also part of the gameplay.

No tutorial is a con simply because there is so much to understand and if you just go straight to new game you'll just die instantly with no idea why. Such as what each part of your UI does, took me three campaigns before i figured out where to see what an enemies health was, and i still dont know how to see the HP of my own crew members.

Frustrating is certianly gonna happen, mostly at the start of the game because as mentioned before there is a small amount of information given to you

Over all though it is a game i would recomend because although it is hard to understand and frustrating at times. It has the great quality of being able to make you want to play it one more time because this time you know how to do it better.
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59 of 82 people (72%) found this review helpful
7 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
2.5 hrs on record
Posted: August 26, 2015
"Deadnaut" refers to the unfortunate astronauts you command in this real-time squad tactics game, so named because your mission is to hunt through derelict spacecraft full of dead things, and also because their odds of survival are about that of a 2016 GOP presidential hopeful. Each randomly-generated campaign is four missions long, each mission being a crawl through a randomized ship with randomized enemies, layouts, and corpses to loot. Most missions either have you nabbing the ship's log from the bridge or clearing out all hostiles, and scanning the bodies you find earns you Knowledge which you can use to buy new gear between missions or clone dead 'nauts. What sets this particular roguelike tactics game apart, however, is the presentation. You command your squad from the safety of your ship through some 1960s Soviet submarine-looking monitors. The actual action is all wireframe and icons on a fuzzy radar screen, with rough readouts on health and sanity and radio chatter marred by glare. The real draw of this game is basically roleplaying Gorman from Aliens, commanding your troops on lovingly-rendered low-fi hardware and despairing helplessly as they get picked off one by one.

And they will get picked off, because there are very few limits on what the RNG will throw at you. For some reason, your Deadnauts and their alien foes have a ridiculous number of stats, including combat skills, sanity modifiers, specific weapon resistances, and more. I say 'for some reason' because despite the enormous depth to the characters, you cannot affect these stats and skills in any way. You have the option of customizing Deadnauts before you start a campaign, but once you begin everything is locked in. There's no training or buffing. Worse than this, however, is the enemy generation. Enemies can be anything from ghosts to mutants to cyborgs (all depicted as plain red dots, mind you) meaning their health, attack patterns, and resistances can be all over the place. But you don't know this going into a mission and you can't re-gear once deployed, so if you picked beam weapons and end up fighting things that resist beams, game over, man, game over. Diversifying your team between different weapon types and shields and such could mitigate this, except that (A) you won't get nearly enough Knowledge to effectively diversify and (B) you won't have the focused firepower to take down super beefy enemies.

The strangest limitation by far, however, is the lack of combat orders you can give your team. You can move your Deadnauts around as you want, order them to investigate points of interest. You can give hacking specialists orders to open doors or commandeer automated security systems, and you can have defensive units shield others or debuff enemies. But when it comes to actual fighting, and it ALWAYS comes to actual fighting, all you can really do is stand and shoot. You can't even effectively order 'nauts to attack a specific enemy because the game seems to factor in their sight lines, attention span, and sanity to decide if they're going to listen. There are no cover mechanics, no flanking, nothing. I wasn't kidding when I called it a Gorman simulator, because your orders will end up being as effective as his were.

It's such a strange and ultimately disappointing game, because the foundation for something amazing is all there. The presentation and atmosphere is spot on, and there's a huge variety of situations and systems to plan strategies around. But the game never actually gives you the tools to realize those strategies. Stats are meaningless if you can't do anything with them, and tons of weapon and damage types are actually a liability if you don't know what you'll be fighting next and can't afford to diversify. Even the systems that are really fleshed out have severe drawbacks. Your connection to your Deadnauts can crap out, forcing you to boost audio or video connections to stay in contact. It's a neat touch that does a lot for immersion, but it can also send your Deadnauts into a depressurized room to die en masse because the bad audio connection makes them mishear the order (yes, this happened). I've beaten the campaign once, and I can honestly say it was because I got a lucky combination of gear and easy enemies to use it on. In the final analysis, it's a strategy game where your strategy isn't going to determine whether you win or lose. With so many other great offerings like Invisible, Inc. and Darkest Dungeon, it's impossible to recommend.
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20 of 21 people (95%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
21.4 hrs on record
Posted: December 25, 2014
If you enjoy strategy games that pose varying levels of difficulty (if sentinels are involved then it gets a lot tougher) then this may be a game for you. Personally, the custom character creation is my favourite part of game. Then comes the fact that every level you encounter has a COMPLETELY different layout, unknowing of what may lay behind every door and if the decision to open a door or blast open a door may:

1. Get your Deadnaut 'decapitated' by a sentinel.
2. Get your Deadnaut dragged away and torn to ribbons.
3. Become susceptible to a horde of enemies.

. . . and etc. One of the greatest elements this game poses is the feeling of unknowing what lies behind every door, or what may be in the very room your deadnauts are searching. It can feel like no one is ever safe and pulls it off very well.
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19 of 21 people (90%) found this review helpful
Recommended
17.8 hrs on record
Posted: December 18, 2014
Deadnaut provides a lot of creepy atmosphere, fun and replayability.

When I bought Dreadnaut and entered the game, I didn't expect much based on the trailers available. It seemed just like all those top-down squad RTS games, which there are hundreds of. It was only 10 euros, so I decided to jump it and test it out.

I immediately reached out for the character creation. I've always been one for creating my own party/character, since the game experience feels a lot more personal. The character creation has two minor bugs, which I did not realize were bugs until I read the forums for a tutorial on character creation. The bugs:

  • You cannot proceed "Early Career" -phase without having at least 1 extra point.
  • Selecting flaw Attention Seeker bugs out, so it disappears from the list, making it impossible to deselect.

Other than that, the character creating didn't seem to be that extensive, but it lets you fleck out certain bits of personality on the character. There are a certain set of different charasteristics you get to choose, if you want to spend a point on them. For example, "He likes combat, he doesn't like ruined rooms, he likes tight corridors" etc.

It took me nearly 2 hours to flesh out my squad consisting of five Deadnauts. After that, I finally got into the game. And oh boy, here comes the best part...

The game itself plants you, the "Commander" in the charge of leading your squad through those derelict ships, looking for whatever the mission is. On the way, you collect Knowledge, which is the currency in this game, from bodies, artifacts, killing enemies and simply finding new rooms. After you've finished your mission, which might be "Destroy artifacts", "recover ship's log", "eliminate all resistance" or something along those lines, you simply reach your starting room's Escape Hatch or you use any of those you might've found during your search on the ship. The combat is pretty straightforward. You say where your guys go, your guys (might not) do that, and when they reach there they shoot the baddies IF THEY SEE THEM. You better pack a scanner with you, because those damn Spectres are near invisible. You can also manually target a single enemy, which gives you a great freedom on choosing the most important target first.

Now, why should you call this creepy? Because the ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ soundtrack is ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ creepy. All those howls, yells, screams and growls make my hairs stand up. They sound extremely authentic. You're a commander behind a radio, giving orders to your squad, when you suddenly hear your squad firing their weapons, and you hear loud, unnatural screech. Your squad starts backing away, but on the comms, a message, "We've lost Johns!". Soon the enemy, whatever the hell it was, lies dead on the ground. Your squad makes your way through the derelict ship, completing their mission and encountering little resistance. However, when you're heading back to the escape hatch, you encounter one last enemy. Again, on the comms arrives a message. "Wait, is that Johns?" as you notice your squad starts rupturing apart like flies.

This game is minimalistic on the graphical side, although the UI with the scanners, character profiles and information screens are just like you would expect on a high-tech commander's station on a spaceship. The UI isn't that user-friendly, and takes a lot of getting used to. It is confusing at first, but when you learn how to use it, it becomes effective. Replayability on this game is a huge 10/10, since the missions are dynamically generated. The story, the enemies you encounter, the ships you go on, the stuff that happens, it's generated. Aside from the bugs on the character creation, I haven't encountered any major bugs in game. You can import your own character portraits, which is great for more personality.

My personal score for this game is 8/10, and a place for top 10 games of 2014 on my list. It isn't on the top 5 of the games, but it is still high. This game is for dedicated rogue-like fans, with lots of imagination and patience to get through the not-so-userfriendly firsthand experience.

Also, if you liked Zafehouse: Diaries, you WILL like this game.
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21 of 25 people (84%) found this review helpful
Recommended
10.1 hrs on record
Posted: December 8, 2014
This game is pretty interesting. It has a great feeling of curiosity to it where you want to play more than once to see the different kinds of enemies and the different...things...that happen with some of them.

The gameplay mostly consists of top down tactical movement with your Deadnauts firing automatically. You can use certain items during combat such as a rocket launcher or a 'field' that can slow enemies or shield your allies. There's also hacking sub part that fits in pretty well with your signals being interfered with if you just ignore it, but it doesn't feel forced at the same time. There aren't a ton of graphics, but it doesn't feel like it needs them, though the small viewport does take some getting used to!

There's also a shop after missions where you trade 'knowledge' for equipment. You also get to create your own Deadnauts too which is fun in of itself. Figuring out which perks and flaws you want can take a while and makes the game more interesting. Also custom portraits so you can kill off your friends if you want.

Overall I definitely recommend it to anyone who likes Sci-fi and atmosphere and can stand dying. The game definitely has a mildly steep initial learning curve. To me the only real downside is the length of campaigns and really it's not that bad since the way the game works is that you'll want to play it multiple times.

Oh and if you do play, keep playing until you go up against the 'disturbed' and 'horror' enemy types.
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