Have you ever laughed and cried so hard at a game that you don’t know where you stand with it?
I first heard about Undertale through the hype it was receiving on social media, which made me question whether it was just being overrated as a new game and if the excitement would soon blow over. However, after seeing a few episodes of a YouTube play through by Cryaotic I was convinced to buy the game. At the affordable price of £6.99 on Steam, I thought it was worth the gamble. I’m glad I bought the game and experienced it myself before seeing the play through from start to finish. There is so much I could say about Undertale but it’s definitely a game that is better to witness first hand. Be prepared for laughter, tears and humerus skeletons (see what I did there?).
The game is introduced with a brief backstory: there was once a war between humans and monsters. The result ending with humans sealing the monsters underground with magic. Hundreds of years later, a human falls into the underground onto a bed of flowers and the game continues from there.
Undertale is heavily focussed on its story, narrative and emotional impact. In turn, it contains loveable and unique characters for the gamer to connect with. The creator, Toby Fox, had some help with the project, but the majority was designed, composed and produced by him. The soundtrack was composed before the characters were designed; this helped to flesh out their traits and quirks, arguably creating a further emotional connection.
The fighting sequences in the game allow you to decide whether to kill or show mercy to your foe. Giving the option to either choose an action (see above) or fight (see below), leading to showing mercy or the death of the monster.
Your soul is depicted as a red heart in the fight scenes, with which you must avoid the monsters attacks through using the arrow keys (see below). The story changes depending on your choices, whether you take the pacifist, neutral or genocide route. Even the smallest decision makes an impact on the game. Undertale also remembers previous save files even if you decide to reset the game. You have been warned. You don’t wanna have a bad time.
Use logic to solve puzzles which are not overly testing, but remain an important asset and gratifying part of Undertale. There is quirky humour that runs throughout, but it’s not all fun and games, as you progress the storyline deepens and gradually becomes darker.
The simple retro pixelated 2D style gives off a nostalgic vibe; it keeps the design simple but at the same time shows itself to be the most detailed pixel design work of its kind. Featuring beautiful scenes such as the waterfall map (as shown below), coupled with the soundtrack, which on its own is a masterpiece, intensifies the emotional impact of each event.
Undertale questions your morality and the general game set up of EXP and LV. If you want to kill every monster in this game, you have to go out of your way and continue to walk around the area until there are no monsters left. There are a finite amount of monsters in the underground, therefore they do not re-spawn like in regular RPG games.
I recommend this game for people who like puns, dogs, plot twists, deep storylines, diverse characters and anime (not a necessity but there are minor references some may not otherwise understand). I advise you to avoid looking into the game too much online, as there are a lot of spoilers splattered across the Internet. Undertale isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but if you do buy it, I hope you like it as much as I, and many others do.