The unstoppable flood of indie games that have surged forth since Braid opened the games has been both a blessing and a curse. The bad news: there’s a whole lot of crappy games that saturate Steam and Itch.io and make it hard to find anything worth playing! The good news: some of these new indie games are actually pretty decent! Take Super Daryl Deluxe, for instance, which takes you back to your high school days…assuming those high school days had sharks. Hopefully they did.
Daryl’s school is going a little nuts. Make that a lot nuts. The science room leads into space. Students are getting into flat-out brawls in the hallways. There’s witches ready to go on about the educational values of textbooks just wandering around. It’s a little nuts, really, and now it’s up to mullet-topped Daryl to get to the bottom of things, working with some shady characters to get things done. Or, well, get through gym class anyway. Whatever comes first, really.
Daryl owes most of his goodness to Castle Crashers and similar games. This is a brawler through and through, but Daryl’s unique aspects come from the many skills available. You’ve got kicks, punches, lightning, banana boomerangs, sharks and more; you’re able to assign them all to your various face buttons as you wish for a fully customizable Daryl experience. Successful combat will allow you to upgrade both your skills and Daryl himself, ensuring you get the most Daryl out of your Daryl experience. Daryl Daryl Daryl. Does it even look like a word anymore?
While the whole experience tends to be a little on the floaty Flash-game side, the variety of available skills makes Super Daryl Deluxe feel surprisingly fresh throughout its runtime. If things start to get a little old, well, switch out an old skill with something new and it’s like a whole new ball game. There’s certainly some options that are better than others – that lightning is a personal favorite – but you’ve got enough leeway to mess around with things a little.
Daryl’s pretty amusing, too, as the wild high school experience just sort of pops with authenticity. In an era where irony and cynicism are considered the heights of comedy, it’s nice to see Super Daryl Deluxe go a little unapologetically nuts. The graphics and sound are fantastic; there’s not enough that can be said about the game’s animations, for instance, and in particular I loved Daryl’s flouncing jump.
Bottom line, this one’s shaping up to be quite the sleeper hit. The combination of legitimately amusing comedy and legitimately interesting brawling go together like peanut butter and granola, or mullets and sharks. Again, while Super Daryl Deluxe toes the line a little closer to “Flash Game” than I might have liked in 2018 (a few years back it might’ve been a freebie), there’s still much to appreciate here to make Daryl worth a look.