Super Daryl Deluxe is a delightful surprise as an indie game. The game never tries to rely on a single genre in order to stand out. It is a wonderful, and in many ways, odd mixture of genres like focusing on Metroidvania for exploration, point and click games for the main story and quests while also offering brawler combat with an RPG progression system. It is something that is not immediately apparent once you start the game but slowly starts to make sense the more you play it.
Super Daryl Deluxe is set in Water Falls High School where you control Daryl, who is introduced as a silent protagonist. You will immediately notice that the school seems to have something weird going on as classes are being cancelled, school staff is behaving weirdly and students are missing. The story offers plenty of crazy scenarios and a comedic focused writing to back them up, but some of the jokes feel a little too forced and don’t really make a good case for the whole game.
While I enjoyed my time with the game, I also found it a bit frustrating because of the clunky nature of its missions. The game is part high school drama and part side scrolling brawler, which means when you aren’t fighting in the game, you will be mostly working with a set of fetch quests given by others. These quests are often hard to complete since the game doesn’t really make it clear on how to approach each objectives. The map layout and the UI itself is confusing so it is easy to get lost. It reminds me of the classic point and click games which similarly provided vague hints but no clear direction.
As far the brawler part of the game is concerned, it is serviceable at best. You start with a set of moves or skills that you can combine to create together a chain of combos. Skills are divided between offensive and defensive and depending on how you want to use them, they can be assigned to 4 buttons. Each move also gets a cool down period so you won’t be able to repeat them indefinitely and have to carefully utilize them so you don’t end up without any sort of offense or defense against the enemies.
The way the game lets you learn new skills is through a book system. There are certain NPCs in the game that are running the service of selling textbooks and buying them can unlock new skills for Daryl. You can also upgrade these skills with experience points that you will earn in combat. As they get more powerful, not only their power changes, they also start to animate differently and can pack a more powerful punch against the standard enemies.
I think it is important to mention how gorgeous the art style feels here. It is not your typical animation that is for sure. It is surreal and often dark representation with a penchant for seeking the most outlandish design. It is hard to state the importance of the art style here which greatly helps with the presentation and overall look and feel of the game. I can’t say the same for the UI though, as I found it quite poor and confusing in the start when assigning different skills.
Despite some of the more positive aspects of the game, it gets dragged down by its repetitiveness. The grind nature of the fights means you will be forced to fight the same mob of enemies in order to get experience points. Thankfully the boss fights feel unique and fun next to the standard battles. They have some great creature design and can be challenging if you are not prepared for them. The issue here is that the story might be fun but it is supplemented by a mission design that as I stated, can prove to be frustrating in nature.
Most of the issues that I faced with the game could have been easily fixed with a little more though and time given to the game. Instead of forcing the players to grind ahead of fights, the encounters could have been made more varied. The missions are a mixed bag for the most part so if they were more fun to play, that could have also alleviate some of my issues. I still had a lot of fun with the game and it is honestly not that bad of a brawler if you are looking for a good time on the Nintendo Switch.
Super Daryl Deluxe itself isn’t exactly a short game even if you ignore the tons of optional content. The side quests that are available to play here might be fetch quests related, but they offer some of the best writing and jokes from the game. Simply put, make sure to attempt as many of the optional content as you can before you are done with the main game. Speaking of which, it can easily take you more than 10 hours to finish with the main story content.
Super Daryl Deluxe Review (Switch)
Game Reviewed on: Switch
Game description: Experience high school again in Super Daryl Deluxe, the last totally normal high school themed RPGvania you'll ever want.
This could have been a truly great game if it was more closely designed and didn't offer as much filler. I can understand that the developers were going for something ambitious here but it unfortunately has resulted in a flawed product that still shows plenty of potential.