Deltarune: Chapter 1 is a delightful spiritual successor to the amazing indie adventure, Undertale. If you’re a fan of Toby Fox’s previous game then you’ll be happy to know that this one upholds the same level of quality as its predecessor. Also, the first chapter is free so there’s really no reason you shouldn’t play this game!
Deltarune builds off of the zany but creepy lore that Undertale introduced to the world back in 2015. There are plenty of returning characters and references to the last game that will quench the appetites of fans who have been waiting patiently for the next installment in the series. If you haven’t played Undertale, I would advise you to do so before diving into Deltarune, as you will appreciate everything within the game so much more. You can definitely play this game first, as it is a standalone game and not necessarily a sequel, but it feels as though it was crafted for Undertale fans. It even asks you before you start playing if you’ve played Undertale, so you’ve been warned.
The beginning of the game starts off by giving you a choice (I won’t say what it is for spoiler’s sake) before telling you that none of your choices really matter. Deltarune consistently bucks tried and true JRPG story elements to keep the player guessing as to what will happen next. As an enthusiast of the genre myself, it’s easy to fall in love with this game as I did with Undertale.
Unlike Undertale you will control more than one character in Deltarune. Each of your party members have distinct traits and special moves that you can use in combat. The characters are all unique with their own personal quirks. They evolve and develop throughout the story and it feels rewarding to see them interact with each other.
Because I played Undertale as a pacifist without killing any enemies, I wanted to continue that trend with Deltarune. I was happy that I could continue defeating my enemies with kindness instead of harm, which was my favorite part of the last game. Battles are a little different now because you’re not just controlling one character anymore. This adds more variety to how you want to get through enemy encounters. For example, you can use one of your party members to lullaby enemies to sleep to resolve situations peacefully.
The battles weren’t much of a challenge. I didn’t die once while playing. I remember dying quite a few times while playing Undertale so players looking for a similar challenge probably won’t find it here. Although, this is just the first chapter of what is supposed to be a larger game and it could get more difficult in subsequent installments.
The writing in this game is quite fantastic. There were plenty of times when I was laughing while playing or scared from one of the enemy’s threats. The dialogue never feels forced but there is a lot. Sometimes I felt as though the game would stop me every couple seconds to have a character talk at me when all I wanted to do was get to the next room. It helps that it’s very well written and packed with interesting lore so you end up wanting to read everything the characters say and not just skip through it.
The soundtrack is absolutely stellar. There were so many times I set my Switch down to zone out to the music playing in the background. From ambient noises that fill the player with a sense of supernatural unease to chiptune bops during battle, Toby Fox, in my opinion, provides a worthy successor to the Undertale soundtrack mantle.
Accompanying the superb soundtrack are fantastic retro inspired graphics. It looks just like Undertale so if you’ve played it you know what you’re getting into. The characters and enemy sprites are reminiscent of SNES RPGs like Earthbound or Chrono Trigger, but they definitely have a modern sense of style to them. I spent a good deal of time wandering around the town where you start your adventure enjoying the beauty and detail put into the scenery.
The story is good and ends leaving you wanting to know what will happen in chapter two. It didn’t suck me in completely like Undertale did but it’s compelling enough throughout its roughly two and a half hour long campaign to leave me excited for more. There are plenty of choices the player can make throughout the story that will affect certain story points and how characters interact with one another so playing it through a few times to see all of the different outcomes seems like an interesting endeavor for diehard fans.
Deltarune is a fantastic retro inspired JRPG that takes many elements introduced in Undertale and improves upon them. It’s oozing with personality and flare. The writing, however a bit much at times, is superb and as charming as ever. The music and sprite work is just as great as before – maybe even a tad bit better. It’s a wonderful game for the Switch, and one that every Switch owner should have. For the price of free, there’s really no reason not to pick this one up.
Deltarune Chapter 1 Review
- Graphics - 8/108/10
- Sound - 10/1010/10
- Gameplay - 8/108/10
- Lasting Appeal - 8/108/10
Final Thoughts: GREAT
Deltarune Chapter 1 improves on its predecessor, Undertale, in almost every way – from gameplay to music to the wonderfully detailed sprites. It’s probably the best free game on the Switch next to Tetris 99. Play this game with the volume up!