Here at B3 we get to review all sorts of games. Some games are small and are completed quickly; others get played for a short period of time because they are frustrating or you get stuck at a certain point; and then there are games like Super Daryl Deluxe, which are so good you don’t even remember you’re supposed to taking notes for a review… for ten hours!
To say that Super Daryl Deluxe is an enjoyable game to play, then, is to state that water is wet or to rhetorically ask about the Pope’s religious beliefs. It’s brilliant, it’s engrossing, it’s addictive and the only reason I’m not playing it right now is that this review needs to be written!
What’s it all about?
So I guess the question is why is it so good? Let’s start with the gameplay: Super Daryl Deluxe is a 2D platform action RPG set in your regular, everyday american high school… which spans multiple dimensions. It starts, however, with you fighting against a criminal mastermind in order to rescue a Princess and save the day, until you wake up from your daydream. This initial section serves as a tutorial area and introduction to the basic movement and attack controls. In addition to run and jump etc. there are four customisable ‘regular’ attacks and a dash attack slot, which can house a selection of the various skills you unlock later in the game. Each skill has its own cooldown, which means you have to use them together to create combos and wipe out your foe.
Once you get into the game properly, it strips you of all these skills and you start afresh on your first day of school. You wander the corridors, talking to students and teachers, making ‘friends’ and generally getting the feel of navigating the hallways. I have to admit, when I first entered this part of the game, I imagined it was going to be a small and fairly boring slugathon… until I went into the science lab and discovered the weirdness within. Most areas (apart from the main hallways) seem to lead to some sort of alternate dimension — into a vast, sprawling map of interconnected areas. In each of these there are different quests to be found, baddies to beat up and objectives to meet in order to progress in the game.
As you traverse the massive and varied landscapes, you collect text books which can be used to buy new skills or sold for skill experience points to upgrade your existing skills. You find new equipment for additional armour and weapons, which increase your attack and give you passive abilities. As you complete quests and kill bad guys, you also get regular experience points, which level you up and grant access to additional skills and passive abilities.
You might read that last paragraph and think ‘meh, just like any other RPG…’ and you would be right in part, but the whole experience is coated in a unique and zany theme which is hard to describe. Super Daryl Deluxe is graphically presented in a fluid, cartoon-like fashion. The items you find and equip are not your regular swords or shields, but random things like protractors or a pointy stick. This game might look fantastic and be great to play, but its killer feature is the sense of humour permeating every element. It makes the whole thing, above all else, fun.
Okay, so it’s great to play and it’s great to look at — it has lots of things to do and many ways to can customise your character’s abilities and skills — but what about the audio? Well, I’m happy to report that this is excellent too. The background music is superb and different in each area of the game, and the effects are meaty and satisfying. Also, I have to mention the wonderfully catchy music they used in the trailer — it’s so good I have made it my ringtone… genuinely!
There are, however, a couple of tiny, tiny niggles I have with the game… so small that I almost feel bad about writing them into this otherwise spotless review. They’re probably both due to my ineptitude rather than the game itself, but here goes…
Sometimes it’s difficult to know what you are supposed to be doing in a quest, meaning you can end up running around for ages trying to find something you don’t need or can’t use yet. For example, at one point in the game I picked up a quest that needed me to go to the history room, but when I got there the door was blocked by a load of students hanging out before a football game. There was no way to get through the door and no apparent way to move them. I initially assumed there was another way into the history department, so tried all the ways I could think of to bypass them, which didn’t work. I then assumed I had missed a required item back where I got the quest. That was also wrong. It was only by talking to every single student in the corridor that the game decided I had completed some invisible objective and moved them out of the way.
At another point I was trying to progress through an Egyptian pyramid (still in the school, don’t forget!) but couldn’t work out how to get a key that was too high on a platform. There were also ‘exploding flowers’ dotted around next to suspiciously destructible-looking walls. I assumed I needed to trigger the flowers to get through, but couldn’t work out how to do that — even down to buying every single skill from the shop. It turns out I that just needed to use some water, which would become available later in the game, and that to get the key I simply had to jump up and down on the floor above to drop through it…
Like I said, tiny niggles.
Overall, though, Super Daryl Deluxe is one of the best games I’ve played in recent memory. I really can’t recommend it highly enough. If you like playing games to have fun, do yourself a favour and buy this game. If they release it with the soundtrack, buy that too!