I love it when you see and indie game, read it’s pitch, and, interest as of yet un-grabbed, finally get a chance to put controller to palm and play the thing…
…and you’re completely blown away.
Super Daryl Deluxe snuck up on me out of no where, it’s odd art and concept not immediately grabbing my attention. However, as soon as I began playing the game, I was quickly engrossed and found myself enjoying the absolute heck out of this action RPG brawler set in both a very strange high school and the imagination of an even stranger hero.
Roam the halls of Water Falls High School as Daryl Whitelaw, certified mouth-breather and the most unlikely hero at school, and fight your way through classes that are alternate dimensions based on their subjects. Help Daryl get to the bottom of student disappearances and uncover why the new principal is locked away in his office.
The first thing that I noticed about Super Daryl Deluxe was just how good the animations felt. All of the characters, attacks and enemies are incredibly expressive and just make everything in the game feel good. The jumps, the slides, the combos; they all feel incredibly, surprisingly good.
Aesthetically, the art and environments in Super Daryl Deluxe are bizarre mix of a comic book-y pseudo-reality and the daydreams of the hero Daryl. This game the creators an incredibly amount of flexibility in what kind of things they might want to draw and and it helps keep the game from feeling stale or same-y. Throughout your adventures in Water Falls High School, you’ll explore strange space-scapes, Venetian streets, and surreal deserts, all full of inventive and hilarious enemies. Bosses will often be an imagination fueled re-imagining of a mundane encounter, often making you question just how stable our hero actually is…
At it’s core, Super Daryl Deluxe is a Metroidvania, and after defeating the first boss, you’re pretty much let loose into the school. Your goal is, of course, to find out what mysterious and sinister plots are being planned. Mechanically though, you’ll be searching the halls for text books, your main currency for unlocking new skills and combat moves.
The combat in Super Daryl Deluxe has surprising depth. You have four combat moves to assign, and one movement ability. While you’ll start simply, you’ll very quickly assemble a large collection of possible moves ( there are over 40 skills to choose from, including melee and ranged attacks and area of effect abilities). The game’s prologue makes a brilliant choice in showing you what a full kit of upgraded moves will look like, once you level up enough, which gives you a great sense of forward drive as you start your first day of school as a lowly flower picker. I felt like every move, in addition to being a hilarious pun, had a use, and most felt like more of a playstyle choice than a necessity.
Super Daryl Deluxe’s combat relies on chaining combos together. Every ability has a cooldown, and once you settle on a few favorite abilities, you’ll soon develop your own rhythm in combat. It feels good, works without fail and gives you freedom to experiments, hitting all the things you want out of a combat system in a game in my honest opinion.
However, I think most people that play the game will admit Super Daryl Deluxe’s shining quality is it’s sense of humor. The story itself is not particularly deep, nor does it have any jaw dropping twists, however it is consistently and continually hilarious, mixing Dungeons & Dragons references, high school culture and puns. There’s numerous in jokes and digs at classic video game tropes, and more than a few clever jokes made at the expense of literature, art and other school subjects. Many of the numerous side quests in Super Daryl Deluxe are simply fetch or collect quests, and without the humorous set up and even funnier character dialogue spread liberally throughout the game, I think they might have become stale.
Super Daryl Deluxe is an incredibly funny and well constructed RPG Metroidvania, presenting the player with deep brawler combat, gorgeous and varied environments and plenty of freedom to explore and experiment. I honestly cannot think of a reason Super Daryl Deluxe shouldn’t be in your game library.