Deep Rock Galactic is a game about space dwarves tearing through an alien planet and fighting off waves upon waves of hostile creatures for the promise of untouched riches. It’s lauded by both critics and players, and it absolutely deserves its reputation. The gameplay is fun, the camaraderie is addicting and there’s enough content to keep you coming back for more.

A first-person horde shooter with random and procedural generation elements, Deep Rock centers around the planet Hoxxes IV. You work for the titular company Deep Rock Galactic, sent down into the bowels of Hoxxes to retrieve the unimaginable minerals and gems below. You play as one of four classes and work to complete a variety of mission objectives in the pitch-black caves, navigating difficult terrain and fending off enemies. You might mine for Morkite, the game’s fictional mineral of choice, or you might collect eggs and escort a giant robotic drill-bulldozer.

Missions begin with you and up to three friends drilling deep into the planet via a drop pod. As soon as the gates open, you’re in for a rough surprise. One of the biggest elements of the game’s underground environment becomes obvious; you can’t see a thing. The darkness of the caves creates a beautifully hostile atmosphere and makes everything much more challenging. Luckily a headlamp and flares provide some welcome vision, but there will always be things lurking just out of sight.

Of the four classes in Deep Rock, each has a clear goal and way of contributing to the team. The Scout can use his grappling hook to grab difficult-to-reach minerals and light up the cave with his flare gun. The Engineer can use platforms and automated turrets to maintain control of the caves. The Gunner can use his zip lines and shield to assist the others, and his handheld minigun to ward off enemies. And the Driller can drill, among the most valuable abilities with miles and miles of solid rock on all sides.

Each class has its own set of weapons that follow an intuitive but rich upgrade system. Different builds can easily be set up and shared online, a habit many players partake in frequently. Each class can be suited to fit your preference, and eventually, weapons can be overclocked to change their functionality significantly.

But why carry all these weapons? Glyphids are why. Eight-legged amalgamations of teeth and chitin, Glyphids are the main enemies you’ll encounter in the caves of Hoxxes IV. These creatures are heavily inspired by the xenomorphs of the Alien franchise and similarly come in a wide variety. Grunts overwhelm you with numbers, Praetorians are coated in thick armor, and Acid Spitters perform their eponymous attack with horrific zeal. Being chased by a horde of bugs can lead to some of the most exciting moments in the game. Other horrifying foes include the electric Naedocyte Shocker, the buzzing Mactera, and the ever-present Cave Leech, which I’ll let you discover for yourself.

There are few games I’ve played that merit a paragraph of discussion over sound design, but Deep Rock is one of them. The absolutely excellent sound design keeps the game both satisfying and terrifying; actions and enemies have easily identified audio cues that you can take advantage of. Glyphids constantly emit guttural roars and hisses, reminding you of the game’s heavy influence from the sci-fi horror genre. Specific enemies have audio cues to alert you of their presence. After one run-in with the infamous Mactera Grabber you’ll have its characteristic shriek burned into your memory, and your head on a swivel the next time you hear it. This auditory ecosystem works with excellent ambient noise and music to create an environment that abruptly lurches from beautiful to horrifying as soon as a swarm arrives.

Much like the sound design, animations are also exquisitely satisfying. Everything is smooth and clicks into place at just the right time, from reloading to repairing an oil pipeline. Attention has been paid to every detail, including requisite sounds for every action. The game has had years in early access to develop its current level of polish, and it has been well worth the ride.

But everything pales in comparison to the intensity of the escape. Upon completing your objective, you’re given five minutes to make it back to the drop pod. During this sprint to the finish, bugs will burrow out from the ground all around you. There’s scarcely time to turn around and shoot as you and your team rush for the exit. If you survive, you’re taken back to the company’s orbital space rig to spend your hard-earned resources and get ready for another round. And maybe put a new hat on your dwarf.

Deep Rock has been out of early access for a while now, but it’s still worth checking out. It’s got an active player base, a passionate dev team, frequent updates, and stellar gameplay that keeps me coming back again and again. If you like co-op games, horde shooters, exploration, or action in general, it’s worth a shot. Deep Rock Galactic is available on Steam, Xbox, and Playstation.