One would believe that after the cultural impact of 2015’s Undertale it would be hard for indie developer Toby Fox to step up to the mark again. But if the demo of Deltarune – a game that may or may not be a sequel to Undertale – is anything to go by, there’s a good chance of lightning striking twice.
Deltarune inherits the tone, sound design and comedy that defined Undertale as an indie phenomenon with a renewed focus on making a game that’s actually enjoyable to play. Coupling Fox’s increasing confidence as a game designer with his clear and present ability to write compelling characters, the demo suggests great things are in store for the final build.
One of the most grounded criticisms about Undertale was that it was mechanically weak, drawing heavy influence from Earthbound Zero in its bleak, simple UI. Your interactions with enemies were limited to mindlessly hitting them or puzzling through menus to try and pacify them. But Deltarune completely overhauls the battle system, with multiple party members, spells, and a side view of the action, allowing you to actually see your characters act.
It’s free, easily available, and a surprisingly well-built experience already for both Fox fans and skeptics alike.
You still dodge attacks by manoeuvring your heart through short bullet hell sections, but you’re encouraged to be daring here, as near misses will increase the magic resource TP, allowing for more explosive, powerful turns. The whole kill/spare dynamic is still there, but it’s more nuanced, with combat encounters that are actually challenging for pacifist players focused on tiring your enemy out rather than finding the correct text prompt.
The demo is about two to three hours long, depending on your level of thoroughness, and it shows a lot of promise for the final product, when it eventually releases. It’s free, easily available, and a surprisingly well-built experience already for both Fox fans and skeptics alike.