Super Daryl Deluxe Review
Nintendo SwitchAlso available on PC and Sony PlayStation 4
School in your teenage years is a tricky, usually stressful, probably traumatic and highly distracted time. Thankfully you don't have to deal with tears in the space time continuum or the constant requests of historical figures. Unfortunately Daryl, as deluxe as he is, does have to deal with these things. In fact between the sentient musical instruments and the anthropomorphised rats that are around every twist and turn in Water Falls High School it is amazing any learning gets done at all.
The story starts with Daryl starting in a new school, naturally the first thing to do is try and make friends, which is tricky when you are a silent protagonist. The game is filled to the brim with meta jokes and references to pop culture, how well this will all age remains to be seen but for the moment it fits quite nicely. From the kid dressed as Goku to the Skrillex wannabe, nearly everything in the game is a nod to something else and while a lot of them hit the mark there are moments that err on the side of going a little too far.
Thankfully those are incredibly rare and the vast majority of the time the humour is well written and genuinely entertaining. The characters fit a few different tropes each but still manage to be engaging enough to pay attention to. A lot of the story points are told in cut scenes, which are done in an attractive visual novel art style which helps to keep the players attention during some of the longer ones. The actual art style of the game is interesting because while fairly simple it is incredibly stylised, this comes to the forefront as you go from area to area as each one has it's own theme or style. Seeing scientific terms floating around behind you in the void while in the science lab is a very nice touch. Each area is filled with little things like this which helps them to be easy to remember and identify, even if they aren't always easy to get to.
The gameplay is predominately combat based, with you abilities all having cool downs and the trick being to work out which ones compliment each other in order to be as effective as possible. All of the attacks are little jokes in and of themselves and each one can be upgraded to be more powerful and more effective. The combat against the normal enemies can be a little dull at times, with it often ending up just being looping attacks until they fall. The bosses offer an interesting variety of challenges, some are legitimately enjoyable puzzles, with the first boss being one of the highlights.
The feeling of grinding out levels and upgrading skills is as enjoyable as you would expect, as you level up you can equip new items to augment your stats. Unfortunately you don't see any of these on Daryl as he is running around the school, but it is still a nice added level of depth to have RPG elements in a brawler. The backtracking and quests themselves can become a little irksome. Often you will find yourself going back and forth between two locations just to talk to different characters and finish off a side quest. This can grate if you are playing for a long time in one sitting, which isn't a great sign overall. Again though the humour and general feel of the controls can help to push past this.
Ultimately if you enjoy the feeling of levelling up and the somewhat sardonic humour on display in Super Daryl Deluxe then you will enjoy the game. It is easy to look past some of the flaws because the art style and the gameplay can be a lot of fun despite the repetition. The meta humour may well become outdated in a few months but for the moment at least the references are recent enough to still be entertaining and as such the game will probably have you smiling.