The old world is dead. Humanity is nothing but a faint memory burned into the sands of a grim post-apocalyptic world rebuilt from the ashes by… robots and humanoid dinosaurs. Airo Games’ Life of Delta isn’t your typical wasteland adventure, promising a story of heroism amid its weird-punk dystopia. It all centers on one brave little robot who is saved by a fellow machine surviving in a dinosaur-man-dominated world. This act of mercy defies the law of the dinosaurs.
As the titular Delta, it’s your mission to rescue your friend Joe and, along the way, maybe make the world a better place for those you encounter. You’ll meet old cowboys, mechanics, and folklorist androids, just to name a few of the curious characters you cross paths with. In a world pitted against them, the machines aid each other, working to keep each other going despite the erosion of time and their harsh reality. Given the current state of the world, it’s a refreshingly optimistic paradigm to explore.
It can’t be overstated how gorgeous Life of Delta is. Daedalic Entertainment’s catalogue of adventure games has always been top-tier when it comes to presentation, but Life of Delta might just raise the bar for its 2D projects. Backed by a whimsical score, the sound design has a real texture to it that brings the space to life. Brilliant use of filters, depth of field, and hundreds of hand-animated elements create the sensation of a living world surrounding you. Yours is but one journey in the wasteland.
You can be standing around idly and still feel the world bustling. Holographic displays crackle. Everyone speaks in a made-up language inspired by Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic’s alien dialects. A derelict gas station’s lights flicker in and out, in dire need of repair. Airo Games’ handcrafted approach is laudable, evoking classic LucasArts adventure games in sheer attention to detail.
Mechanically, it taps into this same ethos, with Delta opting for brains over brawn due to his child-sized body and fragile TV head. While Life of Delta has well-animated cutscenes and demonstrated a brisk pace in our hands-off demo, it’s certainly not an action game. But that isn’t to say Life of Delta is purely a point-and-click adventure of grabbing items either. In the demo, Delta had to build up a battery charge, which can be used in a variety of instances. Accessing the item necessary to proceed wasn’t bogged down by backtracking, but instead featured one of the game’s 50 minigames currently planned. You’ll do everything from rewiring circuits to manipulating ancient tech and fermenting chemicals.
Presently, Life of Delta is very early along. A game this detailed takes a lot of time, especially for a smaller team like Airo Games. The progress made so far is fantastic, but the team is presently focused on quality rather than rushing to a target release date before 2022. Ideas such as potentially playing as Joe or other machines are currently being considered but aren’t set in stone.
No matter the case, Life of Delta already shows signs of a classic adventure game in the making. Between its weird-punk setting, beautiful aesthetic, rich audio landscape, and unique approach to adventure game puzzles, Life of Delta looks to be more than just a homage. Though Daedalic’s portfolio has grown to feature multiplayer mayhem and even a Lord of the Rings game on the way, it’s fantastic to see it continue to support story-rich titles like this. Definitely keep an eye on Life of Delta — I know I will.