Reviews - Updated on April 12, 2022

It’s probably hard to find a more unattractive protagonist than the protagonist of Super Daryl Deluxe. His walk causes laughter, his mustache is good only for scaring away girls, his mouth is constantly open. He is also dressed ridiculously: an orange sports headband is very strangely combined with the same color trousers and boots, which are probably more expensive than his entire wardrobe. And the hero with such an atypical appearance fits perfectly into the game, because such ridiculous things are happening around him that you quickly stop paying attention to his outfit and behavior.

Ignorance is light

By the will of fate, Daryl ended up at Water Falls High School, where something strange has been happening lately. Classes have been closed for more than a year, teachers don’t teach anyone anything, and the director is more like a robot and repeats the same phrases with a creepy smile on his face. In addition, interdimensional portals have opened everywhere, and children are constantly disappearing somewhere. There’s no timetable here, and Daryl doesn’t have to go to class, so he can walk the hallways indefinitely.

The main character, being a notorious guy, is trying to make at least some friends. He meets Paul and Alan, who immediately seem not the most pleasant types. They force Daryl to do all sorts of nonsense, like picking flowers and looking for keys, and the character ends up either making someone uncomfortable or stealing. But being an errand boy turns out to be not so bad – soon the guys hand the hero a book that once “changed the whole world.” Each page of the tome is a new skill, but only four sheets allow you to carry it with you – otherwise Daryl will be “caught and sent to prison.”

You can buy additional pages from the same guys, however, they only give them in exchange for textbooks – since the school is going through hard times, books have become a kind of currency. Some benefits are well hidden, others will be a reward for completing tasks, some of them can be bought from merchants. At first, the abilities offered are not the most interesting (the category to which they are assigned is called “garbage” for a reason), but over time, the player will be able to unlock much more useful and effective tricks, even if their cost will become much higher.

Skills, which I will talk about in more detail below, will be useful throughout the passage. Outside the school corridor, danger awaits Daryl at every turn. Here, the developers did not limit their imagination in anything, and if you remember what your reaction was when you first watched Aqua Teen Hunger Force on the 2×2 channel, then know that every new location will evoke such emotions here. Flying French fries and a talking milkshake will seem commonplace against the backdrop of a laboratory with attack bottles, neon platforms and formulas appearing on the screen.

Super Daryl Deluxe game review

Where Daryl’s walks around the school will take him!

Everything is mixed up at school

In one of the episodes, you will find yourself in the theater and meet Ludwig van Beethoven standing on the stage. Next to him is a modern audio system, from which a remix of one of his works is heard. Above the floor there are rooms with musical figures of the past hiding there, including Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. And nearby, ghosts fly, armed with French horns and not attacking the hero until he attacks them. And you will never guess who Daryl will eventually have to fight in order to return the theater to Beethoven.

Then the hero will get into an art class, which will also turn out to be a series of different locations, and will meet with Leonardo da Vinci and Marcel Duchamp. He will also be carried to the battlefield, where he will see Napoleon. In general, there are so many unique places, personalities and references here that every time you get into the next zone, you want to talk to all the characters and look for “Easter eggs”, at the same time laughing heartily at great jokes – the vast majority of them will cause positive emotions.

And all this is not separate levels, as in a regular platformer, but locations connected to each other. Super Daryl Deluxe is a “metroidvania” with RPG elements, so you will have to constantly return to old places (most often school corridors). But it is very difficult to get lost here – the names of all zones are written on the map, as well as the location of the person who issued the main quest. In addition, you will often need to talk with secondary characters who literally overwhelm Daryl with side quests.

Super Daryl Deluxe game review

Flying saucers, Mexican beans with a mustache – all the fun is yet to come.

Alas, the developers paid little attention to the instructions. Very often, students or just random people ask Daryl to collect a certain number of items that fall out of some type of enemy. Rats in the ventilation leave behind cheese, running bottles in the laboratory – shards of glass, and creatures that take the form of various shapes drop clay. The process can take a long time depending on the number of items requested and Daryl’s strength. Yes, and enemies carrying these items with them may be located too far from the guarantor. And you sadly beat one opponent after another, keep track of the amount of garbage collected, then return, repeat the same process in another location – the authors did not bother with the “side effects”.

But such fights are a great opportunity to try out new skills bought with textbooks. In total, Daryl has four ability cells, which are activated by different buttons on the gamepad. There are several dozen skills, so finding the most effective combination will be one of your priorities. You can get close to the opponents, throw them into the air and cut them with daggers, or blind them for a couple of seconds and hit them with all your might with a huge hammer. The whole thing is complicated by the fact that abilities are restored for some time after use. Some attacks become available again immediately, but to repeat the most effective techniques, you will have to wait for a few seconds. From the outside, the idea seems out of place and more reminiscent of MMORPG battles, but it works great and forces you to make combinations, and not press all the buttons in a row.

Of the RPG elements in the game, there is a character upgrade – the hero earns new levels during fights with opponents, and then can buy new weapons and armor with money received from various sources. Unfortunately, they will not let you see Daryl armed with a protractor and dressed in a clown hat and bow tie – these things do not change the appearance, but only add bonuses to the characteristics. It takes quite a long time to level up, and sometimes there are small problems with balance – from time to time I got into a new location and saw enemies whose levels slightly exceeded Daryl’s level, and therefore returned to the old zones to “farm” opponents, spending several minutes on it.

Super Daryl Deluxe game review

When you find the perfect combination of moves, the fights look much more spectacular than usual.

***

Super Daryl Deluxe will not be called one of the best indie games of the year, and for sure it will be lost among other releases. But it is so idiotic, absurd and surreal that I really enjoyed spending time in it. The game has undeniable shortcomings, and some elements (like the combat system with “cooldowns”) may not be to everyone’s liking. However, Super Daryl Deluxe was an unexpected surprise for me – there is so much humor, references and original ideas here that you should not miss it.

Pros: great humor and atmosphere of complete idiocy; many references to films, games and other works of art; a deep combat system that encourages the use of combinations; a fascinating plot and well-written characters, including historical figures.

Cons: dreary side quests; levels are earned so slowly that sometimes you have to “farm” experience in old locations.

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