The boundless potential that AI has for good and bad is very much in the headlines right now, and it’s something that’s up for debate within the world of Protodroid DeLTA as well. A more fully realised combination of AI and robotics than the glammed up chatbots we currently have in the real world, the titular DeLTA gets thrown into the spotlight to fight off an attack by Vypers and bring peace to the city once more.
Protodroid Delta has five areas to play through and you can tackle them in any order, leading up to the final area. The areas all generally follow the same pattern, with five stages in each. The first two stages are platforming levels, followed by a sub boss battle, which is then followed by another platforming level, and then a main boss level.
Each area is controlled by a Vyper, and each one has an army of machines to defend their turf. They share the same machines, but more types are added as you go through each area. Not all of these machines are fully on offense. Some are there to create barriers that will push you off platforms or bar you from getting past, while others can hold you in place or provide shielding.
To counteract these machines, Delta is equipped with her own weapons. She has a blade for a melee attack, and a blaster to attack from range. More weapons and tools are unlocked as you progress, but you don’t really need to switch from the blade and blaster combo. You can charge the blaster up to fire more powerful shots, but these attacks cost energy that you need to build up with blade attacks. This ensures you are mixing up your approach instead of always firing from afar and helps fit into the ethos of moving through the levels as fast as possible. The relatively weak standard blaster shots and the blade’s ability to pass through shields also encourage you to get up close and personal.
The level are filled with lots of colour and variation between each of the locations, and there’s hidden paths and bonus areas to search for to grab weapon and health upgrades. There’s a real focus on keeping you in motion throughout. Platforms will keep moving, or disappearing and reappearing, and enemies will keep chasing you if they have a path they can follow – flying enemies are relentless until you destroy them.
There are a lot of obstacles to contend with too, from lasers to rotating platforms and barriers that do damage if you touch them. This all becomes much easier to navigate once you unlock the airdash ability, but the fundamental platforming is pretty tight, if a little floaty in a handful of situations.
The story doesn’t really dig into the Vypers or how they managed to gain power too much, but puts Dr. Shelton – Delta’s creator – in the spotlight and explores her relationship with other powerful players in this world. It’s a merely okay story, but there’s some good voice acting and artwork. It’s the soundtrack that will really tickle your senses, each area having a distinctive style with influences ranging from East Asia, dance, and rock.