Deltarune: Chapter 1

released on Oct 31, 2018
by tobyfox



The story follows a human named Kris who lives in a world inhabited by monsters. Kris and a classmate named Susie fall into an unknown place called the "Dark World" where they meet Ralsei, who informs them that they are heroes destined to save the world. The trio meets various beings who call themselves "Darkners" during a prophesied quest to seal the duplicate Dark Fountain. Mainly through the combat system, the player navigates through different kinds of bullet hell attacks by enemies, which can be resolved peacefully or through violence.

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In short - Undertale walked so Deltarune could run. And as much as I hate to start by not even talking about the game, my Deltarune story starts with my Undertale story.
Undertale has always been a complicated game for me. I'm sure near everyone reading this was around during late 2015 and 2016, where the game seemed to be in everyone's head, universally adored by critics and audiences alike. I think it was the first time I really felt a game's release - games had come out in my sightlines and I had some cognition of games being recieved by audiences, but it was something else entirely to see the utter cyclone that was Undertale - and my recently made Steam page and identification as a "gamer" (gag) - someone who, though I hadn't put it in such words yet, was making the baby steps towards seeing games as holistic, intentionally constructed experiences made by people as opposed to CDs that I had in my house that let me do things - I was pretty psyched to give Undertale a spin, and played it maybe about a month after it came out.
And honestly? I wasn't impressed. I'm still not, really.
My opinions on Undertale still elude me to an extent, perhaps due to its public image as this laureled gem of a game. When I first played it, I remember "liking" it for a bit, and during this bit if you asked me why I liked it I don't think I'd be able to give you much in the way of an answer. I liked the shmup mechanics, I liked the story, the idea of Souls, I liked that it was a game that called into question the way people tend to go through games - albeit more in a specific way I'll get to later. There were bits and pieces I liked in a vacuum, but as a whole it rang hollow for me. I tend to get it a lot more with music than games - probably just because that's a medium I've spent far more time intellectually engaging in than games - but the "vibes" of a thing is a very important consideration for me, and Undertale is not that. The world is saccharine, and there's lots of silly text gags and cute creatures, but it all felt incredibly surface-level to me, and nowadays (ignoring the fact it's been a while since I replayed it) the game feels incredibly surface-level, with the addition of being preachy. It's in the marketing; the RPG where you don't have to hurt anyone.
I bring the failures of this game up first to relish in how Deltarune succeeds.
I played Deltarune - chapters 1 and 2 - this year. I bring this up to acknowledge how my mindset going in was definitely some kind of contributor to how I viewed this game. By the time I dipped my toes into Deltarune, the iron was cold. There was no discourse, the swarm of first-playthroughs had come and gone and left little in my head. When I told my friends I was going through it, I got some nice comments and some "finally", but there was no pressure in my experience here. I wasn't racing to engage with other fans of the game, and I certainly wasn't pressing against the Twitter posts. I think it's telling that the only thing I remembered about Deltarune chapter 1, at all, was that Sans was apparently back.
As I booted up the game for the first time, and went through the character creation, I wasn't sure how to feel. Looking through the options, mulling over the hair and the shirts, other than the notably improved spritework from Undertale, I was on the edge of my seat waiting for the character of the game to present itself. Of all the customization options, "GIVE [YOUR CHARACTER] A GIFT" was probably the most compelling, I gave it an honest thought and thought this vague, broad strokes way of making a character was really fascinating. And then, as my character began to wake up, I heard Toriel calling.
Undertale lets you have a name - you get to see it everytime you pause or save the game - and I think a thing like that is indicative of how the two games deal with the idea of the player being some voyeuristic interloper in this universe. In Undertale, you have a name that is very much used in the game, especially in its more meta moments. By even giving you this name, it gives you a stake in this world, and by extension of that tips the scale in favour of you acting selfishly within this world. Deltarune (well, chapter 1 of Deltarune), very intentionally pulls this rug from under your feet immediately, and never gives it back. Kris is Kris, and you are you. You are very strictly not a part of this world, and I love this change. It goes more in the direction of engaging with the fiction of this world by playing the game being a dubious action in and of itself (à la the amazing OFF which I ought to talk about at some point) which I find a lot more fascinating then the game constantly goading you that you'd better be nice, or else!! Deltarune just kind of drops you in this world, and when characters talk about the virtues of retaliation or non-violence it feels a lot more like the characters just being themselves to Kris rather than giving you a personal lesson about being kind to others.
As I dropped into Kris' bedroom, I found myself looking everywhere, marvelling at all the details. The spritework is remarkably better than Undertale, and it shows everywhere. I was enamored with Toriel's house, all its details and its little inspect boxes. I feel like the increase in frequency of more banal text boxes adds a lot to this more sobered game experience, it feels like someone actually looking in a room and taking in the details rather than a game trying to constantly endear itself to you.
As I go to the school, and enter the Dark World, my point-by-point analysis of the game kind of begins to falter, but the resounding quality of Deltarune is still there. This game has so much love, so much soul behind it. I actually laughed consistently at the dialogue and effects whereas in Undertale I hardly so much as smiled at any of the goofy moments. The battles here feel dynamic and amazing. The shmup segments are wild and wonderful, and managing an entire team of characters with unique abilities adds an unexpected amount of depth to even a completely pacifistic run. The secret boss, Jevil, very well might be the most fun I've had doing a boss battle in years. He took me 6 attempts to beat, probably about an hour and a half of work, but it was so ecstatic the whole way through. His attacks are frenetic and exciting, the level of engagement I had in the strategic planning was unmatched. I honestly wish a battle of that caliber could go on longer, be tougher just for me. Deltarune rewards you in spades for exploring its world, and I can't get enough of it!! I wish I could keep drooling about how much I love the battles and the characters in this game but past a certain point I would just be running in circles.
The intermission after the game, where you get back to your world and just get to walk around town and talk to everyone, was really nice, the vibe was unmatched. Most of these characters are (relative) one-offs from Undertale, and yet I walked to every single location, some of them tantalizingly closed off for now, some of them open and bustling. I talked to every NPC in the town, and it was a joy, even if I didn't need to do something like that. Deltarune chapter 1 is honestly front to back just a really fun experience, something Undertale had trouble consistently being for me. But, as I guided Kris home, and he got into his bed, something happened.
The scene of Kris tearing out the Soul from his body and moving, finally, without my input, was genuinely flooring. Was I a parasite here? Was I not welcome? How is this going to turn out? If I write about chapter 2 (which I have played, I'm as excited for 3 as you), I hope I can eulicidate the specific bits and pieces of that chapter too.
A lot of games tried to be Undertale after it came out, but I think all we needed was the Undertale team to give it another swing.

I played this shortly after it came out so I didn't have to worry about spoilers. This is a very nice upgrade over Undertale (seriously go back and play it, it feels so damn janky now). It was a nice length for a demo and the writing and art were very good throughout. I'm very interested in seeing the rest of the game but who knows if that'll ever actually come out. Also the secret boss is complete shit and unfun.

good demo toby dog 😃😃😃😃😃

não é um undertale mas vamo ver ne a historia ta legal