Daryl is a stoner/hippy version of Garth from Wayne's World crossed with Napoleon Dynamite, and we join him at the start of his first day at Water Falls High School where he immediately gets mixed up in some strange goings on. Most of the classrooms are locked, there's hardly any students around, and there's a princess locked in a secret room deep inside the ventilation system. “What's going on” is a pretty simple premise for a story, and one that easily provides cover for the ridiculous adventure that lies ahead.
'RPGvania' might be the best way of describing the gameplay, with Daryl exploring the school and taking on missions from other students while amassing an arsenal of skills and abilities to help him deal with whatever might be thrown at him. Quite often you'll find yourself overwhelmed by the amount of things you've been asked to do, but thankfully the game tracks the progress of your quests so things never get too out of control. You're rarely explicitly directed to your next destination though, so there can be a lot of wandering around as you try to work out where you should be going.
Daryl's quest for popularity lands him in all kinds of wacky situations, usually ending up with our hero coming face to face with some pretty peculiar characters. There are goblins on Napoleon's battlefield in history class, evil electronics and killer lab equipment in the science room, and there's even time for a trip to Ebenezer Scrooge's house during literature class. A whole host of historical figures make an appearance alongside Daryl's modern-day schoolmates, and every single encounter leads to some sort of unexpected adventure.
All of the characters, backgrounds and cutscenes are completely hand drawn, with around half of the visuals in black and white while the rest is in colour. It's an unusual combination that really works well and gives the game a unique eye-catching style. The writing is consistently goofy (and occasionally misspelled) with a massive dollop of humour, which can be a little hit or miss at times depending on your own sensibilities. It's all absolutely charming in its own way though, and even if you're unsure to begin with, there's a high chance you'll be won over pretty quickly. With an emphasis on the “high”, probably.
Despite some frustrations with navigating the overall world, Super Daryl Deluxe provides more than enough content to keep most RPG fans going for many hours (we were closing in on 20 by the time the final credits rolled). Sure, it isn't the most complex RPG in the world, but then sometimes all you want is an enjoyable romp through some daft locations with a bit of absurd humour thrown in for good measure. If you're up for something along those lines, check this one out immediately!
SUPER DARYL DELUXE / DEVELOPER: DAN & GARY GAMES / PUBLISHER: DAN & GARY GAMES / PLATFORM: PC, PLAYSTATION 4, SWITCH (REVIEWED) / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW