Super Daryl Delux is super duper weird, and the developers know it. This RPGvania with brawler-style combat is unique, to say the least. Coming from artist-programmer duo Dan & Gary games and funded by Kickstarter this game is clearly a labor of love. I played this on the switch, with a code provided for me, so this review is mainly about that version but the game is also out on PS4. This review will also avoid any major spoilers.
“With Super Daryl Deluxe, we can finally project our awkward high school memories onto all of our players,” said Gary of Dan & Gary Games. “I mean, not really, because we were very handsome and strong and popular. Are you guys going to use this whole quote? Could you just leave the handsome part?”
Set in the perfectly normal, multi-dimension spanning high school of Water Falls High you play as new kid Daryl. Now Daryl, like all new kids, wants to make friends and be popular. To do this he becomes employed by a couple of students who are setting up a contraband textbook business. That’s just the start of what soon becomes one of the strangest adventures I’ve played in recent memory. The story goes to some really out there places as Daryl attempts to track down different textbooks. There are missing students, locked down classrooms, and the shadowy principal that no one has actually seen. Not to mention something about a
secret that nearly destroyed the world 40 years ago. Each classroom is a doorway into a weird, school subject-themed, dimension. The science class, for example, is a trippy dark place with equations floating in the background with anamorphic glass flasks trying to kill you. The Art & Music department, on the other hand, features a crude – childlike drawing of Vienna full of French rats as well as tuba playing ghosts. Because of this the levels feel unique and the enemies interesting and more importantly well animated.
The animation style is what elevates the game and gives it such a strong sense of character. Whilst I’m not a fan of the way Daryl moves, with legs flailing all over, I can’t fault the hand-drawn detail each character exhibits. What I did find disappointing was the equipment system, you can equip all sorts of weapons and costumes each with their own stats similar to the recent South Park games. Unlike South Park, these costumes only appear on the inventory screen and does not change Daryl’s appearance in the game itself. A strange decision considering the inventive items you find and equip along your quest.
The combat system didn’t win me over in the prologue for the game but after spending more time with it and playing around with the customization it definitely improved. The brawler style fights are quite simple to begin with but as the game ramps up the enemies do too. Try and take on a horde of enemies above your level and you will know about it. The customization for fighting comes from the robust move set the game features, over 40 skills are available ranging from your low-end mallet to spinning so fast you become a circular saw. You equip skills to your face buttons and each one has it’s own cooldown similar to some MMO systems. The key is balancing your quick cool down skills with the longer ones to allow quick combos and keep the fights moving. The combat isn’t going to sell the game by itself but when packaged with the attack animations and the number of different play styles it’s a lot of fun and lives up to the brawler name.
The games story beats are absurd yet a lot of the quests and side quests, of which there is plenty, are essentially fetch quests. The games surreal feel and outragouse humor keeps things fresh though. Its Metroidvania style layout is where I found most of the difficulty, I sometimes found myself trying to work out where to go next and often required a new skill to unlock the path. Along the way you will come across an assortment of bizarre character you will be running errands for Beethoven, Napoleon, and Death himself. In parts, it feels like Bill and Ted.
“Super Daryl Deluxe is a deep, explorative look into the male teenage psyche,” says Gary “Nah, just kidding.”
Super Daryl Delux surprised me and I came to really enjoy my time with it. If you’re a fan of any RPGvania Bralers, An admittedly small genre, then I’d recommend this game, It’s well suited to the portability of the switch and well worth a playthrough.
Super Daryl Deluxe releases on April 10th for Nintendo Switch and PS4 for $19.99 USD and €19.99.
- Amazing Animation
- Fantastic Humor
- Great Customisable Combat
- Awesome Soundtrack
- Daryl's Jumping & Walking animation bothers me...
- That's the only negative I can think of...