This was one of those big surprise drops/reveals during the absolutely loaded Nintendo Direct that happened just a few months ago. I got nearly as excited about this as I did some of the other teases and surprise drops (I bought the ActRaiser remake almost immediately after, which further shows that I do play games that aren’t RPGs, I swear).
For those who are unaware, Deltarune is the semi-seasonal release by Toby Fox, the wunderkund behind Undertale, a hit indie RPG that made huge waves for mimicking some of the class SNES RPG Earthbound’s style, but adding quirky characters, a dash of queerness (which obviously I’m gonna be on board for, though I swear not everything I review is gonna be pushing that… though, uh, the next essay is pretty much all about that), great music, and the opportunity to take a pacifistic approach to the standard RPG formula.
For those not in the know: it’s something of a major hit.
And, yes, I’ve played it; I own it on the PC and beat it before I got a Switch. It’s brilliant.
I like Deltarune better.
In a lot of ways, Deltarune builds from that success. It, too, is an RPG in the classic style. This time you have a party of up to three (as of now) characters that show up on the left side of the scene, and engage in turn based combat with the various creatures that appear on the right. Commands are entered in a manner that should be familiar even with those only distantly familiar with how this genre works (hi again, Mom and Dad).
Deltarune has the fun twist of having not just the ability to talk enemies down, but a variety of nonviolent solutions. Sometimes this involves engaging with timing minigames to hug the enemies or help dislodge the wires or viruses that make them evil. Or maybe you have to figure out what an enemy’s favorite items are via a trivia style minigame. It ends up being much more fun to puzzle out and tire out your enemies so you can spare them than to outright fight them.
This latest chapter builds from the first, and the additions make for a highly engaging game. You likely take your save directly from the previous chapter (or could just restart if it’s been a while; Chapter One takes less than 2 hours to complete even if you’re thorough). Your characters have all learned more about each other and how to handle this new world. Main character and mostly silent protagonist Kris still leads; but rough and rude Susie has now shifted into being aggressively friendly in an incredibly engaging and adorable manner. She insists that she and Ralsei, the soft-hearted and literally fluffy third member of the party (technically recruited second in the first chapter) should be able to engage in the calming/engaging aspects to wear out an enemy.
Which adds that new dynamic to the battle system. Now each member of the party can have their fun, which, again, turns each fight into a mini puzzle. Perhaps it’s best to have Susie playfully insult someone until they exhaust and Ralsei can put them to sleep. Or to have Ralsei sooth them to make it easier for Susie to berate them into giving up. The combinations are fun, and sometimes lead to incredibly unique dialogue.
Multiple systems have been added too. There’s now a town where the creatures/characters you defeat show up as NPCs, sometimes handing out rewards or just chilling. The game encourages you to see this is a sort of base, letting you roam around and engage with the characters. You can even now pass freely between this “Dark World” and the light one from which Kris and Susie originate.
For now our two protagonists (Susie and Kris) are friends, or at least friendly. They are still going to school, ostensibly high school students, but they utilize the still unexplained power to jump between worlds. That first world came off as a bit of a board game world, helping Susie to work through some of her issues (though not all: I cannot emphasize enough how remarkably complex and well written Susie is). that world is extended into the hub I mentioned earlier, which appears as Ralsei’s castle (he’s apparently a prince). The good news is that the game is fairly free with letting you enter and exit this area.
But as the plot continues, our heroes are trying to study and do their project, this time potentially working with Noelle, a sweet reindeer based monster who is the head of the class. It becomes obvious that she (I’m assuming she as Noelle looks very feminine) has a crush on Susie, one that is reciprocated, but Susie’s absolute awkwardness in socialization prevents her from communicating in any way other than violence.
This affection is part of what drives Susie to just jump in when she realizes another Dark World has opened up in the Library’s computer lab. The Internet has literally taken over, and taken Noelle hostage (also the annoying second in the class Berdly, a character treated semi-comically who mostly works).
The fight then has you going against enemies and characters that are really only sort of original, much like the first world, admittedly. The true originality comes from quirky dialogue and the engaging systems.
The plot twists and turns, but basically involves our heroes wanting to seal another Dark Fountain rift of energy to save the world and the people within. As a bonus, Susie gets to save Noelle from the world’s quirky, off-kilter leader, the internet Queen.
The big plot rewards are the relationships between characters. We see friendships develop between all of them, as well as the possibility for something more. I already hinted toward the Noelle x Susie relationship, which is well done. But the player is offered the possibility of choices that I’m assuming will point to different pairings (I encouraged Noelle x Susie and discouraged the game’s near insistence on Kris x Ralsei, because I see the latter more as good friends, though Ralsei is an adorable cinnamon roll). Friendships and alliances develop as well: the Susie x Lancer relationship/friendship from the first chapter continues in engaging and entertaining ways.
So your mileage will vary some on how well you like this. I would recommend it to RPG fans, particularly those with a queer bend or who are already fans (but you’ve likely already gotten it). I would even go so far as to suggest Deltarune to those that aren’t perhaps a big of fans of RPGs, but like quirky narratives, fun characters, and potential queerness in all levels of the narrative.
The game ending teased several more chapters to come (eight if I’m remembering right). this chapter took me around 3 hours and some change to beat, so it’s meatier than the first. As an added bonus: THE GAME IS FREE. So if there’s even a slight interest, I’d highly recommend it.
10 for me, this game is essentially perfect in what it sets out to do, particularly this latest release. It’s a great deal, particularly for free, and well worth a playthrough.