PAX Aus 2022 Highlight – DROS by emergeWorlds

Posted on October 9, 2022

When two beings work together, you think of pleasant cooperation at best or teeth-clenching teamwork at worst. But DROS subverts this formula in an interesting way. The two beings involved do not like each other at all, but are forced to work together. Without each other, they can’t survive or achieve their goals.

DROS is a tale of two unlikely allies who require each other’s help to survive. Their objectives couldn’t be more different, but they cannot scale the tower in front of them without each other’s strengths. In a relationship reminiscent of Eddie Brock and Venom of Spiderman mythos, you will take a human captain and a being of goo through puzzles to scale a tower made of alchemy.

Going hands-on with DROS at PAX Australia allowed me a deeper insight into this Brisbane-developed title. The first level of the game starts with the titular character (a being made of goo) finding a fatally injured Captain. Realising that it needs the body, DROS bonds to the Captain and begins putting him back together. The symbiotic relationship is apparent in the beginning, as is the reluctant teamwork. You spend time learning the strengths of both DROS and the Captain, while adapting to each character. DROS can jump around the map and go through small gaps, whilst the Captain is able to fight against enemies that spell instant doom for DROS, also providing a heavy weight that activates floor buttons.

Leveraging both characters will be essential to not only finishing the level but achieving full completion. There will be collectibles such as gems and machine parts that will be strewn around each level, and some don’t have a straightforward path. Using the advantages of both characters highlights their importance, reinforcing the fact that both characters have to work together. You might end up using one character more than the other, but you can never escape the truth that you can’t succeed if they don’t work together.

One good thing about DROS is that you can explore as often as you want. While there is usually only one way to finish a level, you can always take the time to grab some gems off the beaten path. The freedom to explore a level is liberating because you don’t have to worry that you’re breaking a sequence or doing something out of order.

Death is an opportunity to experiment and find solutions. Lives aren’t tracked, and you will always end up back at the Captain’s initial position before failure. You don’t have to worry about losing your progress or taking a step that you will regret. Learn by experience, try different solutions, and take your time.

Alchemy is a big theme of the game, taking a substance and breaking it down into something else. Each level will cover a different element to work with, giving each level enough variety to remain interesting and memorable.

DROS is still in development but will be released on PC, Switch, Playstation 5, and Xbox platforms. You can head to the game’s website for more information!