Deltarune is a role-playing video game created by American indie developer Toby Fox. The player controls a human, Kris, in a world where monsters live on the surface of the Earth. Kris and a classmate named Susie fall from Earth into a place called the “Dark World” where they meet Ralsei, who informs them that they are heroes destined to restore balance to the world. The players meet various beings who call themselves “Darkners” during a prophesied quest to seal the 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. The first chapter of the game was released on October 31, 2018 for Microsoft Windows and macOS for free, with later Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 released on February 28, 2019. The game’s graphics are reminiscent of 16-bit Japanese role-playing games such as EarthBound, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga and Chrono Trigger.
Deltarune is a spin-off of Fox’s previous game, Undertale (for which Deltarune is an anagram), but its setting is “not the world of Undertale”, according to Fox, though characters and settings may bring some of Undertale’s world to mind. As of December 2018, Chapter 2 is planned, but no release date has been announced yet.
The updated combat system of Deltarune. In contrast to Undertale, Deltarune includes a multiple party member system, a “TP” (Tension Points) bar, the ability to defend, use magic, as well as a complete graphical overhaul and other miscellaneous changes.
Deltarune, like Undertale, is a role-playing game that uses a top-down perspective. The player controls a human named Kris and has to complete objectives in order to beat the game. During some parts of the game, the player is allowed to choose attacks of other characters in the game. Similarly to Undertale, Deltarune has bullet hell sections, in which the player must move Kris’ SOUL around a boxed area while avoiding enemy attacks. Getting close to the attacks (without actually touching them) will give the player TP (Tension Points), which allow team members to use spells such as “Pacify”. Defending also increases TP, albeit by a much larger amount than dodging attacks. Combat is performed similar to most standard turn-based role-playing games, choosing from a set of actions such as “Attack” or “Spare”. While the goal of the game is implicitly to avoid fights and spare monsters, this is made difficult in that Susie, who is not initially controlled by the player, would rather attack enemies than spare them, and thus the player must also determine actions to prevent Susie from hurting enemies if they want to show mercy.
Upon booting up the game, the player is invited to construct an avatar. However, upon completion, the game deletes the avatar and informs the player that “no one can choose who they are in this world.”
The player begins the story as Kris, a human who lives with their adoptive mother Toriel, a monster. Toriel drops Kris off at school, where Kris attends a class taught by Alphys. Kris and Susie, a delinquent monster classmate, are sent to get chalk for the blackboard. Upon entering the supply closet, both of them are pulled into the “Dark World”. There, they meet Ralsei, a prince of the dark, who tells them that the three of them are heroes destined to close a geyser of dark energy to restore balance to that world. However, the King has seized control of the Dark World and is determined to spread darkness.
Susie chooses not to help, only wanting to return to her own world. However, the three encounter Lancer, the King’s son, who tries to stop them from proceeding with various poorly thought out plans. Susie eventually decides to join Lancer, leaving Kris and Ralsei on their own. As Kris and Ralsei make their way to the King’s castle, Susie befriends Lancer, and the four ultimately become a team. Upon realizing that they will have to confront the King, Lancer runs off to the castle and arranges for the King’s henchmen to throw Kris, Ralsei, and Susie into the dungeon.
Susie escapes the dungeon and confronts Lancer, who explains he wanted to keep Susie and the King from hurting each other. Susie promises Lancer she won’t hurt the King. Kris, Susie and Ralsei go to the top of the castle and confront the King in battle. Eventually, the King falls to the ground in exhaustion and Ralsei takes pity on him, healing the King. However, this is revealed to be a ruse as the King quickly incapacitates the three heroes, threatening to kill them all. If the player has resolved enemy encounters without violence throughout the game, Lancer turns the King’s men against him and imprisons him, taking his father’s place. Otherwise, Ralsei subdues the King with a magic spell.
The group closes the dark geyser, so Kris and Susie can return to their own world. There, Susie says goodbye, expressing interest in going to the Dark World again. The player can explore the town before having Kris go home to bed.
That night, Kris, without player input, shakes in bed, then falls on the floor, and limps to the center of the room. Kris tears into their chest and rips out their SOUL, throwing it into a birdcage in the corner of the room. The player can move the SOUL around the birdcage, but cannot do anything else. Kris draws a knife and turns toward the viewer. They smile, with their right eye flashing red.