A game for Undertale fans that builds on an already well-established premise, DELTARUNE reinstates Toby Fox’s status as one of the most beloved, and intriguing, game developers out there.
With the release of Undertale, game designer Toby Fox rose from slight obscurity – with his previous claim to fame designing music for the highly popular Homestuck web series – into an indie phenomenon, and for good reason.
Instead of the typical focus on victory, fighting and besting your foes, Undertale was very much a title that subverted the norms, a strange cross between Earthbound, Final Fantasy and Animal Crossing that had you feeling a real connection to the strange beings and monsters of the world you explored, from spaghetti-loving skeletons to the internet’s favourite cow mom.
So when DELTARUNE released, somewhat quietly, onto its own website as a free-to-play chapter, there was no way it wasn’t going to make the same splash as its predecessor – though Fox has been careful to note that, while DELTARUNE is designed for fans of Undertale, it certainly is not a sequel. At least not in a conventional way.
From the start, DELTARUNE holds a different vibe to the previous title, beginning in a friendly, nostalgic and intriguing neighborhood featuring many of the favorites from Undertale, before spiraling down into the classic RPG formula with the fight, act and spare formula you’d expect from a Toby Fox title.
But it’s the introduction to the game that truly creates a level of foreboding, which is fulfilled at the end of the first chapter through some unexpected events that seem to fly in the face of Fox’s gameplay morals. It’s drummed in, clearly, that your choices really don’t matter. This is underlined with the creation of a vessel that is quickly discarded at the start of the game, and the theme is continued throughout the episode.
You play as main character Kris, whose name and appearance is highly reminiscent of Frisk from Undertale, and soon form a team with Susie, a large and angry purple monster, and Ralsei, whose name is a clever acronym of a certain character from the original title, too.
A more advanced combat system is one of the primary evolutions for the new title, taking the soul concept to the next level through a multi-player format that looks a lot more like a classic Final Fantasy title than the previous model, as well as sections within the overworld in which Kris can come to harm from a variety of obstacles and puzzles.
What drives DELTARUNE, and makes it so intriguing to its fanbase, is the unique way in which Fox has changed and manipulated its characters, transforming fantasy into the mundane and throwing new ideas into the mix, along with the usual fantastic boss battles to help break up the action.
As with Undertale, there’s no doubt that there’s much more than meets the eye with DELTARUNE, and we will be watching and waiting to see what chapter two brings.
DELTARUNE can be downloaded free of charge for Mac and Windows on deltarune.com