Just an hour into Deltarune Chapter 2, “A Cyber’s World,” the game’s sullen hero, Kris, is negotiating a take care of a monster made of web site popups, searching for blue checks (sure, those from Twitter), and enjoying video video games with a fighting-game-obsessed, wine-drinking robotic Queen whose favourite tagline is “lmao.” All the whereas, a catchy chiptune soundtrack bumps within the background.

This sense of humor is par for the course for developer Toby Fox. In his newest launch, Deltarune Chapter 2, Fox picks up after the cliff-hanger of Chapter 1 solely to throw gamers immediately right into a cyberspace-inspired metropolis. Players are Kris, exploring the world alongside their associates, Susie, and Ralsei — the identical heroes from Chapter 1 — and struggle by means of a collection of robust, bullet-hell challenges. Though the battle mechanics really feel related, this chapter complicates the ethical and moral questions posed by the game’s predecessor, Undertale, whereas including to the story began in Chapter 1. Fox additionally lays the groundwork for a large sweeping journey, one which explores one other part of Deltarune’s rising world. And regardless of being a harsh problem, it’s a world that also feels very welcoming.

Though Undertale did give gamers the choice to indicate mercy or to kill, the game despatched a robust message in opposition to killing monsters. Undertale encourages a non-violent route, the place none of the monsters must be vanquished, and gamers are extra aware of the affect of their selections. But this additionally made the game tougher: once you don’t kill monsters, you don’t stage up. Your base stats, like well being, stay unchanged, making for a tough time surviving in later battles.

Deltrarune’s ethical stance isn’t completely completely different, however this time gamers are on their very own when deciding when to indicate mercy to monsters, and when to struggle again. In Chapter 2 sure enemies are price slaying, like a despotic king who nonetheless retaliates when proven mercy. It’s a distinction to Undertale’s extra easy, purely pacifism-driven play.

Kris, Ralsei, and Susie from Deltarune fight pop ups in a battle

Image: Toby Fox

Like Fox’s different video games, Deltarune Chapter 2’s battles are distinctive arcade bullet hells, the place each monster’s quirks are expressed of their assaults and features throughout play. (And like Undertale, Deltarune’s battles get more durable if gamers refuse to conquer their foes). In one boss battle, the three heroes struggle three monsters who all have audio system for heads, and navigate a barrage of groovy assaults that appear like musical notes. For one other boss struggle, Berdly spams you with lethal A+ papers as a result of he’s a know-it-all at college.

Fox’s bullet-hell RPG is as robust as ever, which makes it more durable to determine whether or not to indicate mercy or struggle monsters. These bullet-hell battles really feel all of the harder when the game is extra morally ambiguous, suggesting it’s OK to kill some monsters (which might make the struggle simpler). A boss struggle with Spamton, the monster who spams you with practically illegible pop-ups with messages like “MEET LOCAL SINGLES” as you struggle him, knocked me on my ass greater than as soon as. I ended up figuring it out, and I caught it out for his golden persona. But it did make me surprise if I’d have the endurance to determine it out with future characters, slightly than simply preventing them.

Chapter 2 offers gamers one other issue to contemplate when choosing whether or not or to not spare a monster. This newest chapter introduces a “recruiting” system, which has similarities to the Shin Megami Tensei or Persona collection, the place sparing monsters permits gamers to recruit them to the crew. They could assist us out at factors, by lending their energy in a struggle. As we recruit monsters by sparing them, we populate a new city crammed with all our associates.

Kris from undertake navigating very dangerous traffic!

Image: Toby Fox

Still, regardless of the problem, the game embraces gamers with open arms. At the start of Chapter 2, Ralsei makes cute bedrooms for Susie and Kris primarily based on their favourite colours and tells them, “I’d be happy if this place … could be like a second home to you.” These scenes made Deltarune Chapter 2 really feel like a form of second house. Supporting the concept that these video games could be an escape and a supply of consolation, Fox launched Chapter 2 free of charge and forward of its preliminary launch date. “The world has been really tough for everybody recently,” Fox stated on the game’s web site.

Of course, this is only one chapter. This just isn’t the conclusion of a dialog, however slightly the beginning of one. Fox warmly brings us into his worlds, however some core questions stay: Which characters get to really feel comforted by these worlds? (Certainly not our expensive hero, Kris.) What are the implications of our actions? In Deltarune Chapter 2 our selections matter. But the story remains to be ongoing, and we don’t fairly know the way these selections will have an effect on the characters. For now, gamers will simply have to attend till the subsequent three chapters come out.

Deltarune Chapter 2 was launched on Sept. 17 on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Windows PC. The game was reviewed on PC. You can discover further details about Polygon’s ethics coverage right here. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These don’t affect editorial content material, although Vox Media could earn commissions for merchandise bought by way of affiliate hyperlinks.