Ever since School of Rock and Napoleon Dynamite, the 'high school' art genre is that of notebook drawings. Super Daryl Deluxe uses this and tries to make a game out of it. While a noble effort (I did like Daryl's overall retro look), the game doesn't really hold that well together.
You are Daryl. As the newest student at Water Falls, you quickly notice the school isn't as it seems. Wormholes to other dimensions spring up. Teachers don't really teach. And that's just the beginning. You need to fight and explore your way through the next days of high school – platform/RPG style! It's not a terrible story – it really does nail down some of that teenage awkwardness. But it also plays to many cliches – especially school related. I had higher hopes for a game like this, but it also isn't a Napoleon Dynamite ripoff like I thought – it's enough to make it unique, but also not enough to escape cliches.
Controls on the PS4 were fine. As with most games like this, it's pretty intuitive. Run, jump, select, etc. are exactly the buttons you're thinking. No crazy buttons, no weird controls – it works great.
When it comes to graphics I didn't know how to feel. I never really like comic-book style graphics in a video game and here it happened again. The weird drawings and art fit the high school setting (Maybe this was more Napoleon Dynamite than I thought). But it only fit them when it was normal. When portals start opening and you start fighting, it's suddenly so out of place. Even when some graphics change to a slightly different style, you stay the same. It's so visually distracting. I appreciate what it's trying to do, but it just didn't work for me.
Super Daryl Deluxe has been described as a 'RPGvania with brawler-style combat', and I can see how that's gameplay. Honestly, I liked playing the normal high school parts better. Like early on selling textbooks – I had so much fun with that and I could have played an entire game doing that and doing other side-jobs around the school. But then it got weird and used surrealism to a kinda terrible degree. The upgrades are fun, but even with surrealism and different worlds, the fighting doesn't make sense except on an existential level. And as fun and creative as it can be, it's also very repetitive.
The music is pretty subtle. Unlike many games that tend to go all in and just blast it, it's almost serene. And for as much as I think of the graphics and gameplay, it fits in with the game quite well. It could have easily gone with something stereotypically teenage, but it didn't. It did something that fit. Sounds are fine too. Repetitive, but, again, they do the job.
Super Daryl Deluxe doesn't really employ constantly going graphics – it's more like pictures representing a motion. And that's totally to keep the comic book aesthetic and in no way is a shortcut in keeping it from being fully animated. In that way, there's no real frame rate problem. I didn't see any glitches either. It played relatively smoothly.
Super Daryl Deluxe is a pretty unique game, but it's held back by a lot. Oft pudding graphics, repetitiveness, and overall bizzarness make this a game that makes it niche. To some, all together, this can be a good game. But objectively, it's trying to do too much and making things strange for the sole reason of strangeness – and that distracts from the game itself. SDD does many things well, but it's held up by the overall aesthetic.
Final Score: 6.5 out of 10
A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of review.