Developed by Arthur Vyater for PC, Delta-Gal is a third person action adventure game much in the tradition of Mega Man Legends. It (like most indie games like be honest) bares its retro roots on its sleeve with a design that looks right out of the latter-day PS1 era. In Delta-Gal you take on the role of the titular Delta-Gal as you run, gun, platform and swing your way through the game’s two dungeons blasting away malicious robots and rambunctious mutants to save the day.
A demo for the game is available to try now, however the game’s developer has stated that it will not be receiving any new updates at present. So please bare in mind that the core gameplay experience will most likely change as the final game is developed.
The demo for Delta-Gal can be found on Itch.io.
STORY – DELTA WHO?
The demo for Delta-Gal features no story mode, or really any story or context for who you are, where you are, or what you are doing in the game at present; There is no opening cutscene, no splash screen with text, not even a short blurb in the game’s readme file to give you some idea what is going on and what you need to do. As far as one can tell you play as Delta-Gal who is an android and who must fight robots and mutants to save the day. Whilst I cannot fault a game that is this early into its development for not having some epic, world changing storyline I still feel that the lack of even just a basic idea of where you are supposed to be going can be an issue.
However Delta-Gal isn’t overly obtuse on where you should be going. As the game as it stands is linear enough that you’ll soon find your way around without much difficulty. Plus the mini-map will show you exactly where you have been to stop yourself going around in circles. And as linear as it is there are still fair few secret areas to discover along the way.
Admittedly at this point the lack of a clear objective to do it is a minor gripe, but still if you need a game to hold your hand and tell you what to do then this demo doesn’t have that.
SUPER TALKING ROBOT!
And whilst the title at present has no story the game isn’t totally without character or characters; you’ll meet a few colourful characters along your playthrough often with fun little bits of dialogue. However aside from one character none of them really are all that present in the demo; they don’t have much interaction with the player aside saying a few fun lines with only one really being important to your goals. With that said what is there makes for a fine foundation to built up from and what little we get is promising.
Like with a lot of Delta-Gal it just leaves me wanting more, which given how early this demo is from the title’s development it isn’t a bad thing and it leaves me looking forwards to see what the developer does with cast and world later down the line.
GAMEPLAY – RUN ‘N’ GUN
Delta-Gal hosts a slick and well-paced gameplay loop which, once you overcome any issues with controls, creates a solid and genuinely fun experience which is so well realised that it feels terribly familiar; It feels like returning to an old favourite years after the fact. However it still provides enough of a challenge to command your attention. Even at this point it is the most feature complete element of the game.
How well or not it replicates Mega Man Legends from a gameplay perspective I cannot honestly say (I was a N64 gamer and it was never released in the PAL region on that platform). But as its own entity it provides a compelling experience with enough flavour to give you a feel for the game, so if you want a title that is a little less like Mega Man 11 and a little more like Mega Man Legends then Delta-Gal might well be for you!
I must say however that I did find issues with how the game controls. Whilst it isn’t terrible the default control schemes can feel rather unintuitive. Many of the game’s key controls are bound to the controller’s shoulder buttons with some buttons doubling up on their function; you can’t just press a button to run, you need to hold down the dash button and only after you have dashed you’ll then run. This can make certain platforming sections needlessly difficult as you can easily find yourself crashing into objects that you intended to slide under because there wasn’t enough time or space for the game to transition from a dash to a run.
The controls are not a total write off; you can get used to them with practise and there are alternate control schemes (including a N00b one if you are so inclined). However with that said this isn’t a game that is easy to pick up and play which makes the over all package feel like something that is more geared to fans of a certain style rather than opening it up to newer players. When Delta-Gal works it really works, but it is lacking polish, though at this stage that is totally understandable.
As the game progresses you will find new abilities as well as upgrades for your Blaster weapon. The Blaster weapon upgrades can increase the range of the weapon, the fire rate, the power, as one would expect of such things. The upgrades can be found as you explore the game’s world or purchased from the Gear Shop in the opening town in exchange for Bits; Delta-Gal‘s currency. Its a fine system, even if it does feel that the game is rather stingy with the amount of Bits that it gives out over the course of the demo. This in turn ends up resulting in you having to grind to unlock slots for your new Blaster upgrades.
The game does feature one incomplete area which you can visit at the train station. However whilst the area does look interesting there isn’t anything to it; no monsters, no treasure, no music. Its not really worth visiting, though I am certain that it will make for a fun area in the final game.
There is a lot to enjoy with the gameplay in Delta-Gal; its solid as a rock and hits all the notes it needs to, and with further development I can see it being one of the better indie titles the year it is released. Yes, the controls do require some getting used to. But when you do it grants you a core gameplay experience that is perfectly entertaining and leaves me excited to see what comes next.
GRAPHICS AND SOUND – ROBOT ROCK
The game near perfectly recreates the late-PlayStation era graphical style, more specifically the art style of Mega Man Legends. It is truly a fantastic creation to behold; unlike many other retro-revival titles this is one of the few that feels authentic rather than a misremembered pastiche that pushes too far one way or another. It genuinely feels like a lost PlayStation title that is being revived and there were frequently moments where it felt like I was just playing an emulator or even just a demo disk from back in the day.
All the NPCs that we see have clean designs and bright colours that really help to inform their character. It honestly makes one curious to see what roles some of them will play in the final game. It cannot be said enough about how well Delta-Gal is designed. As, unlike some other titles, it is able to create a game that not only looks of the era that inspired it but it is clean and crisp enough to not only look good but to give you all the information you need to get ahead and win the day.
“Clean” is the word that I’d use to describe the game from a design point of view; its easy to tell where everything is, what does what, and nothing ever feels too abstract. Even some of the menu graphics, whilst still at this stage still crude, never venture down into flights of aesthetic fancy which over complicate what you are seeing at any given moment.
Musically speaking the game is filled with peppy and adventurous compositions that feel era appropriate. Much like its design choices it never feels reductive or regressive; it all helps to give the game more character which at this point the game needs. It feels authentic to the experience at play which is what a game like this needs; the Town music has an air of Crash Bandicoot to it, the Junkyard music is great and I wish that area was developed enough so I could hear more of it, and the music for the dungeons is sufficiently creepy and atmospheric. As you can expect however the soundtrack is limited, though this is due how short the overall game is.
Delta-Gal was previewed on PC.