Video Game Review: Deltarune Chapter 1


Credit: Elizabeth Zhong

Join WSPN’s Kris Poole-Evans as he reviews the best video games to play today.

Warning: contains minor spoilers to Deltarune Chapter One

American game developer and composer Toby Fox created Deltarune in 2018. As of 2021, both chapters of Deltarune are available on PC, PS4 and the Nintendo Switch. Deltarune chapters one and two had a pretty big gap in terms of release, with chapter one coming out in 2018 and chapter two in 2021. Fans definitely hated the wait, but it was certainly worth it.

Deltarune starts with a very eerie opening scene. The gamer is asked a series of personal questions and create an avatar of sorts—it’s referred to as a vessel. Once the gamer finishes answering all the questions and is done personalizing their vessel, it gets thrown away. A screen reading “your choices don’t matter” is presented, and they’re tossed into the game. They are then given a completely different vessel, as well as a different name: Kris.

Chapter one starts with Kris arriving at school and having a run-in with Susie, a mean girl who hates everything related to school. As punishment for being late, Kris and Susie are sent to the old storage closet to retrieve some chalk. As they get closer, it becomes rather obvious that something is wrong, almost sinister, with the old storage closet. Not wanting to look like a wimp, Susie rushes inside the closet, with Kris following closely after her. The door suddenly shuts, and the floor gives out, which leaves Kris and Susie to fall to what they assume is their death as the screen fades into black. When Kris wakes up, they are alone and in a more knight-like outfit. They carry on and explore this new world with caution, avoiding things that are desperately trying to kill them. Kris does eventually meet up with Susie, who is very unhappy to see them as well as extremely confused as to where they are. Their questions get somewhat answered once reaching a kingdom and speaking to it’s only resident, Prince Ralsei. Ralsei tells them a heroic story of two ‘Lighteners’ and one ‘Darkener’ that will save the Dark World from a tyrant. Not wanting anything to do with that, Susie runs off and tries to find her own way back home. Kris sticks with Ralsei who teaches them all about the Dark World and how to battle. Susie ends up teaming with a character named Lancer, another Dark Prince, to become ‘the villains’; only to join back up with Kris and Ralsei at the end. The four of them make their way to the Card Castle, where their final fight will be.

That description was as vague as I could make it. I did this on purpose as there’s so much to dive into and cover in Deltarune from the psychological analysis of characters, presence of the player, theories, secret boss fights, lore and the list goes on and on. It’s something I really enjoy about the game. However, a big part of the Deltarune experience is being surprised by what happens, so I tried to keep it somewhat spoiler free. Luckily, both chapters are free to download, so it’s not much of a hassle to get your hands on it if you have the right consoles.

Fox has composed music for a variety of other games and media such as Homestuck, Pesterquest, Pokemon, Little Town Hero and has even composed a remix of Megalovania for Super Smash Bros. Fox has also created other songs such as the mess that is ‘The Baby Is You,’ a terrifying Homestuck fansong that I wouldn’t recommend looking up. This goes without mentioning but Fox also made all of the music in his first game, Undertale. So it’s no surprise the Deltarune soundtrack is amazing. Both soundtracks are fantastic but I really enjoy how magical chapter 1’s sounds. If I had to describe the entire thing in one word it would probably be escapism. The entire world of Deltarune, specifically the Dark World that Kris and Susie stumble into, is all about forgetting real life and adventuring with friends. Each song from Chapter One’s soundtrack captures that perfectly, even the more creepy songs like “The Circus” and “ANOTHER HIM.” However the standouts in chapter one’s most are definitely the battle song “Rude Buster” and “THE WORLD IS REVOLVING,” the secret boss’ battle theme.

The battling system is a fun one. In Undertale the player controlled one person, in Deltarune you get three: Kris, Susie and Ralsei. The battling system is still turn based, but it’s more lively with three characters to control that all have unique abilities and personalities. Susie being the resident mean girl is less willing to be nice to enemies and want to kill them, while good boy Ralsei is focused on healing and showing enemies mercy. It makes you look forward to battles too, which is always a plus.

Normally when playing a game, you play as the protagonist, your decisions are seen as their own, and what you think is what they think. This isn’t the case in Deltarune because you aren’t playing as Kris, you’re controlling them. The player’s decisions are not Kris’, and we see evidence of this in battle as well as some dialogue; the player treats Kris like a puppet. For the sake of not spoiling I won’t go any further, but since this aspect of Deltarune is one of my favorite parts of the game, I just had to mention it.

I’m giving Deltarune Chapter One a solid 10/10. I have a feeling I’ll rate the upcoming chapters the same way too. Deltarune’s got everything: fun characters, an interesting story, mystery, challenging bosses, some weird dog and an awesome soundtrack. There’s pretty much no reason not to play this game, and if you’re a fan of unsettling, yet charming, games then definitely give this a try.