As someone who routinely has Rimworld on in the background, ready to be tended to the second I have a moment, dEskape immediately grabbed my attention with its premise. A base building survival game that sits at the bottom of your screen while you get on with whatever it is you'd like to get on with. Faced with an afternoon of admin, I decided I'd give it a go. Nobody tell PCG's editors.
I thought I should play it as intended, so I put a background stream on and opened up some work I needed to finish, with the game sitting nicely at the bottom of my desktop.
It starts with your ship crashing, leaving you alone on a dark world to collect resources, build shelter, and survive long enough to escape. I was immediately charmed by the spread of neon coloured objects poking through the darkness of the setting. The background movements in the game are quite calming and it's not intrusive at all to look at, which is important for a game that will sit there while you're doing other things. Though I would've muted the music either way, I found it a little odd. It cycled through a range of seemingly unrelated tracks, from intense retro synthwave to relaxing piano, some of which abruptly cut out before switching to the next.
As I settled into my work, every sip of a drink, turn of the head, and brief pause ended with me checking in on my base. You start with a gun which you also use to suck up resources. As you build up your buildings, little creatures get attracted to the light you're emitting, themselves attracting light orbs from the atmosphere which you can collect and store. There were a few times where I'd carry on with some work and then look down to find a new little glowing friend hanging around.
The game does seem to control its procrastination power over you by limiting how fast you can collect things. You'll look down, gather what you need, and maybe shoot a few scary monsters before getting back to it. As you progress you can build little droids to help you defend, scout, collect, and attack, allowing a bit more passive progression which is nice to have going on in the background.
I don't mind the mix between idle progress and in-game action, though I think it may take some by surprise. Increasing your base's power mode will increase the hostile monsters that come into it so you'll need to pay attention if you do. You can pump things a little harder if you'd like, but you'll have to actively defend a bit more despite the defensive aids you may have invested in. I preferred to sit in low power mode most of the time, checking in and upgrading buildings when I had a free second to spare.
Though it's nothing complex, if you like the idea of having a little base-builder at the bottom of your screen, this might be worth a try. There could be more substance but I like the style a lot, so even a momentary glance of the constantly shifting creatures had me smiling. It's a fun distraction and a cool concept. Hopefully nobody notices my eyes shifting back and forth on my next video call as I continue working towards escape.