Last week, Undertale designer Toby Fox released a free new game called Deltarune, and you may be wondering if it’s worth your time. Well, yes. Yes it is. If you enjoyed Undertale even a tiny bit, you should really go play Deltarune ASAP.
It’s not clear whether Deltarune is a prequel, a sequel, or an alternate universe version of Undertale. (As you may have heard, the two names are anagrams, suggesting parallel worlds.) What we do know is that it features many of the same characters, it explores some similar themes, and it ends on a cliffhanger with wild implications for both games. It’s also just as charming, funny, and impactful as Undertale, and I highly recommend that you check it out.
Well, you should play Undertale first. If you haven’t, what are you even doing?
The soundtrack should be enough of a selling point. Undertale was a good game made great by its incredible music, all composed by Fox, which uses leitmotifs to play with your emotions and evoke feelings of warmth and friendship. (See this in-depth analysis for far more on that.) Deltarune plays around with similar themes, and you can feel many of the old-school JRPG music influences as you play.
The current playable version of Deltarune is chapter one of what promises to be a far larger story. It’s technically a demo, but it’s a meaty one, about two hours long and full of secrets. It plays a lot like Undertale, except instead of battling monsters by yourself, you’re fighting alongside party members, which leads to some interesting mechanical and narrative twists that I won’t spoil. You play as a character named Kris who enters a supply closet that turns out to be a tunnel to an underground world. Shenanigans ensue.
Hardcore fans have already started spotting all of the connections between Deltarune and Undertale. Here’s a personal favorite: in Undertale, which came out in 2015, you can actually find a room where a dog (Toby Fox’s avatar) is working on a new mystery game—a room with a door that has a “delta rune” on it.
The bad news is that we’ll be waiting a very long time for the full story. Fox said on Twitter last week that he plans to build a team to finish Deltarune—because just finishing this demo took him “a few years”—but he hasn’t hired anyone yet, so it’s going to be a while.