Stuff like hermitgames‘ DELTA1 ($2.99) should really come labeled with a pair of warnings. The first is good news up front; the game is a fully-addictive arcade racer, has that ‘one more try’ quality that plenty of games aspire to but most don’t ultimately achieve. The second is not as good, and potentially hazardous to your health; DELTA is an all-out audio / visual assault on your respective senses. If you’re sensitive to pulsating lights and shapes in the slightest, or get motion sickness easily, it’s probably best to avoid the game entirely rather than take a chance.

Proceed with caution.

Disclaimer aside, the game is a sound-based first-person racer with trippy visuals. That’s just generic phrasing by me. In actuality, DELTA is like someone’s Tron-inspired acid trip through the trench sequence in the original Star Wars, running back to back with the ‘stargate’ sequence in 2001: A Space Odyssey, dipped in a psychedelic rainbow, all while some Daft Punk / Aphex Twin-type music plays in the background2. It’s that busy!

Things move pretty fast, flashing and morphing and spinning as you whiz by, and the somewhat procedurally-generated courses you race on mean you can’t just memorize layouts to win. I say ‘somewhat’, as the tracks in DELTA are comprised of inter-connected ‘rooms’, aligned randomly. While you will eventually adjust to the hazardous walls (one hit = death, natch) and camera style in any given ‘room’, the corridor between can lead into a random layout each time, presenting a new race on each attempt. And you’ll be ‘attempting’ quite a bit; you’ll have to twitch your way through this one, my friend.

You can choose from a total of three race ‘classes’: 120, 144, and 180. Each features its own visual design and music (the soundtrack is slightly interactive, modified with every triangle-shaped ‘delta’ you pick up along the way). While the default race is unlocked from the start, you’ve got to earn access to the latter two ‘tracks’ by reaching a preset distance marker in one continuous run. That total distance is, in essence, your score. Otherwise, it’s a pretty straightforward racer. Your chief objective is to survive and / or reach the end of the stage, with a ‘reward’3 unlocked for completing all three.

DELTA - Screen

You can almost taste the colors, man.

The game’s excellent and eclectic graphics match the developer’s previous efforts, but those same novel visuals can work against the quickened gameplay in DELTA. Given the shifting nature of the rooms, and the constant pyrotechnics / flashing, it’s super easy to lose track of where you are and what you’re looking at. Throw in an occasionally-spinning camera, and ‘suddenly steering yourself straight into a wall that you quite literally didn’t see coming’ becomes totally plausible. The gameplay, too, can be its own worse enemy, as I literally felt fatigued at playing it for longer than an hour at a time.

That last bit can be mostly chalked up to late nights and eyestrain, though it’s certainly worth the mention, depending on how you plan to play. Consider it a challenge on several levels then, beyond the atypical difficulty of the navigation itself. So long as you don’t stare at your screen for too long, DELTA is plenty tough, and plenty fun.

  1. This review is also featured at Indiepitome
  2. No embellishment. None. 
  3. And don’t bother asking me what that reward is, as I’m in no immediate danger of finishing the third track. 

17 thoughts on “REVIEW: DELTA”

  1. First this … and a new Aphex album in 2 weeks … good times for electronic music enthusiasts. Although the music/sound effects in DELTA sound more like Beaumont Hannant’s GPR label to me. But you get points for name dropping RDJ anyways!

    1. RDJ? Robert Downey Jr.?

      Unfortunately, I’m more than a bit of a phony when it comes to Electronic. I know the names, know some of their hits, but that’s the extent of it. Occasionally I wander onto Soundcloud or Bandcamp to take a look around. I dug the game’s tracks all the same. 🙂

    2. See, I’m a total phony. 🙂 And again, I’m no connoisseur, but I did like a lot of the tracks on Random Access Memories. You should probably consider that album more ‘pop’ than anything else, of course, but hey, they like to evolve their sound.

    1. Thank you, sir, thank you. I’ll be looking into that one eventually. Got a few more reviews ahead of it, but it’s on my list. Nice to have a backlog of XBLIG games again. 🙂

  2. Reminds me of Child of Eden (without the shooting), a game I’ve never completed (well, there’s a lot of games I haven’t finished, seems to be a bad habit of mine).

    1. Some similar effects in there. Much easier on me eyeballs. 🙂 Always meant to play the game, but never got around to it (thus far). I’ve got a bit of a habit myself when it comes to completing games. So many left half-done…

    2. Child of Eden is a good game, and I really like its trippy visuals. I mainly bought it to relax, because that’s what I thought the game is about, to sit back and enjoy the scenery. Thing is, as soon as you reach stage three or four, shit really starts to hit the fan and you can forget about relaxing. 😀

    3. @Dream Poet: Yay, I got a ’round tuit’! Those things are the best! Who knows the next time I’ll get a ’round tuit’. 😀

      @Soosh: I got that feeling from watching the gameplay. Also, it supports the Kinect, right? Thought I read that, and how frustrating it was to control the damn thing with it. Ha, that damn Kinect, always ruining the games it was supposed to support. Least I can still tell my One to record game clips, so there’s that.

    1. Code will be heading your way shortly. Oh, and see, I published the article later in the morning. You got your chance at ‘code glory’! 🙂

    2. Yes I did notice the later pub. 😀 Funny thing though I was up early this morning even though I work really late last night. Actually caught this posting only because I’ve been working all morning on some pop up/ads with Chrome and finally gave up on it (3 hours pulling my hair out) and downloaded Firefox and was logging into things to get things working on this browser the way I want it and poof there it was.

      Thanks for the code man. I was thinking about this game already just didn’t even get around to giving it a try so looking forward to it later on today. Thank the publisher as well.

      OH…(I’m sure you did) but did you notice that BigCorp (Dead Kings) put out that stand alone clone version of asteroids? I think that was smart of him. As well he should put out that breakout close too. Heck, code is written, just maybe grab a few extra dollars. I’ll buy them both just in support of him. It really would be cool if they could allow you to donate money to the developers if you choose. I know it’s too late for that now but just food for thought.

    3. I forget the reason I added Firefox, but I do like it. Chrome is still my main, just for the ease of having everything set up the way I like it. Sure, I could do the same with FF, but hey, I’m lazy. 😀

      I will relay the message to hermitgames in just a bit actually, as I’ve got to send a follow-up email. I did see Blasteroids up on the marketplace, and yes sir, good for him. DeadKings was undervalued, so why not. It’ll be a nostalgic trip for some, and it should (I’m assuming) be fun to play even on its lonesome.

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