So the first chapter of Deltarune was released as a sort of trial/proof of concept as a pseudo-sequel to Undertale, during the tail end of 2018. Cut to September 2021 and Chapter 2 has dropped. Both chapters are totally free to play and I highly recommend you do so.
Because this is not a review of the game as much as it is a speculation and observation piece. If you’ve played the game then you’ll be up to speed, but for everyone else I will recap, which means spoilers abound.
Unless you’ve been on a total media blackout you’ve likely seen whispers of the fabled alternative route, Snowgrave. In a game where Toby Fox stated your choices won’t matter, chapter 2 threw in a curveball by holding this secret route which flies in the face of it. And not only that, it’s also one of the darkest things I’ve played in a video game. This is honestly rather surprising considering half the things I play, but we’re not here to talk about those. We’re here to talk about.
Once you make it to the branching point wherein Susie and Ralsei split up with Kris to explore the city further, you’ll run into and join forces with Noelle. Noelle has access to a little spell called Ice Shock that leaves enemies frozen solid, and every time you successfully beat your foes the victory screen says ‘Noelle grew stronger’.
So if you’re at all medium savvy like I try to be, you thought about Undertale’s Genocide run and went ‘there’s gotta be something in here. So I went and restarted my run, froze everything I could, had Kris say all sorts of terrifying things.
Had Noelle freeze everything she could, and eventually commanded her to use a spell she didn’t even know, locking me into the ‘Snowgrave’ route. Even running into this blind, it’s incredibly obvious how much of an ‘alternative’ route this is, right off the bat due to just how far out of the way you have to go.
It’s a lot more impactful than the genocide route off the bat, because whilst you do kill everything in that route, you also don’t get attached to anyone. Characters show up and die, and a lot of time is spent grinding.
Within Snowgrave, you spend your time with Noelle, already established to be a nice, well-meaning girl, who also isn’t very strong-willed.
And you, the player, make her stronger, by commanding her to freeze and kill for you, pushing her to her breaking point. It’s a route of insidious corruption, that culminates in forcing her to use the snowgrave spell, a spell she doesn’t know, freezing Berdly, more than likely to death. Disoriented and exhausted by the ordeal, Noelle leaves Kris.
But what’s most interesting though is that when Kris rejoins Ralsei and Susie shortly after Noelle leaves. Kris expresses fear to their teammates. Whilst the interaction is cut short, we can conclude from Ralsei and Susie’s reactions by comparing it to their very similar interaction after the bonus fight on the main route. After this fight, Kris looks like they’ve ‘got goosebumps’ and, if you answer no, to ‘Are you ok?’, Ralsei says Kris was yelling.
During this similar fight on the Snowgrave route, Kris calls for their friends, Ralsei and Susie. They do not call for Noelle. You whisper Noelle’s name, and she answers. We’re able to combine this knowledge with the additional ‘SOUL-less’ scenes that occur during the end of chapters 1 and 2.
When Kris pulls out the heart, we lose direct control over the character. When we start the game, our name overwrites ‘Kris’ on the save screen. The common interpretation of this is that the SOUL, is ours, and Kris is acting out of their own free will within those times they have removed it.
Stealing the pie, more than likely slashing the tires, opening up the dark world at the end of chapter 2, calling for Susie and Ralsei during the boss fight, these are all things Kris.
The Snowgrave route makes the disparity between what Kris and the Player that much more blatant. Kris has one set of goals and the Player, with control over Kris, has no idea what those are. But what we do know is that Kris, does not like the Player.
And this is going to come to a head.
(If you were smart enough to figure all that out yourself, thanks for your patience in reading all of this without me telling you anything new. lol)
This post may contain Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate Noisy Pixel earns from qualifying purchases.