Undertale has undoubtedly made a huge mark on the internet. It has spawned new memes. As of November, more than 350,000 copies have been sold on Steam. But what makes Undertale so special?
About: Undertale is a little Indie RPG Game created by Toby Fox that came off of Kickstarter. The graphic style is much retro and pixelated. The story follows the adventures of a small human child who falls down a hole and lands in The Ruins connected to The Underground, which is also home to monsters that are trapped inside, banished after a war against the humans up above. What makes Undertale so special is that there are multiple ways to play the game. You can actually choose to never hurt a single enemy (Pacifist Route), you can take out certain enemies along the way and leave others (Neutral Route) or murder every single living creature on your way (Genocide Route). You won’t gain any LV (experience in this world) if you don’t hurt anyone, however. Your ending will depend on your choices! The game has a 10/10 rating on Steam with Overwhelmingly Positive reviews and a 94/100 on Metacritic.
If you haven’t played the game yet… Then you’re gonna have a bad time if you keep reading, kiddo.
Warning! Spoilers ahead!
The Plot/Characters: The plot of Undertale centers on the main character, also known as Chara, that you name. At the start, Chara falls down a hole and lands in The Ruins, where he is greeted by Flowey. Flowey seems to be there to help you, the player, as a tutorial character just like an RPG would start. After all, you need to learn to play the game! But it’s a fake out and Flowey is actually there to kill you! Thankfully you are rescued by Toriel. The game itself takes lots of twists and turns like this, throwing cliches out the window as frequently as possible, which is a fresh perspective on an old-style looking RPG. The rest of the plot depends on you, Chara, as you adventure forward. You can FIGHT, ACT or use MERCY on enemies that confront you. If you choose to FIGHT and kill all the enemies (Genocide Route) you will find the progression easy in the game but if you choose to ACT and MERCY enemies, you will grow to obtain friends along the way. You have to interact differently with the monsters you encounter, however, and each have a different and unique way of allowing you to SPARE them.
The characters that surround you interact with you differently depending on your actions as well, with full changes in dialogue and actions. Sans and Papyrus are the next characters you meet after Toriel and they add some huge comic relief at the start, filling your life with tons of jokes and puns or mostly avoiding you depending on how Chara is progressing. If you chose to go Pacifist, as I did, you can even go on dates with characters and learn what makes them tick. For instance, Sans is lazy and is frequently called “lazy bones” by his brother Papyrus. Papyrus wants to capture a human so that he can become popular and enter the Royal Guard. Undyne is a beast of a fighter and full of energy and takes up everything with ferocity… The list goes on! Even side characters that would normally blend in to the background have weird quirks to them that make them easy to remember.
You can only gain the True Pacifist Ending by SPARING everyone in the game. Even gaining one LV will automatically mean you will only reach the Neutral Ending. The game though takes this fact to a whole different level however. Instead of you being able to just run Genocide Route, turn around and start the game over… Well, you pay a price for that. The game knows you are replaying, and will make you aware of that. All your actions have a consequence that follows you through new playthroughs. For instance, if you kill Toriel and reset the game… Flowey will know and call you out on it!
Not only that, but in a Genocide run after fighting and dying against Sans… His dialogue will change!
Gameplay: The gameplay mechanics are similar to most RPG games in the genre in terms of having an inventory, save points, health points etc. You also solve puzzles on the way through the game (how many depends on your actions in the game). However, confrontations with enemies have a different take. You play against enemies as a red heart, which has to avoid obstacles colliding with it. Different attacks are introduced as you progress as well, requiring different actions in order to not be hit and lose health (blue attacks you need to stay still, yellow attacks mean move through it). You move the heart using a D-pad or a control stick.
If you choose to FIGHT then you time your attack to hit in the middle of a bar, dealing health damage to the other opponent. If you choose to ACT instead, you’ll have a selection of choices that you can act on, each having a different effect on the monster.
Graphics: Simplistic, pixelated graphics? Undertale has those. Beautiful, pixelated backgrounds? Undertale has those! Despite being simple… Undertale has some breathtaking artist work thrown in that will suddenly be thrown in. That being said, the graphics are still not the main part of the game and are often understated and simplistic. Until… Well… One of the final bosses. But those are major spoilers. But you’ll have nightmares for a while after that possibly.
The Score: You will be utterly amazed to know that while the entire game, save for some of the graphics, were done by one individual, that same individual was also responsible for the ENTIRE soundtrack. Toby Fox wrote and created all of the soundtrack that you hear in the game. That might not sound impressive though until you actually hear the soundtrack. It’s beautiful and adds a layer of depth, atmosphere and even comedic relief throughout the game. Some of my favorites include Bird That Carries You Over a Disproportionately Small Gap, Bonetrosle, Song That Might Play When You Fight Sans and Hopes & Dreams. My suggestion if you purchase the game is to get the bundle because I fell in love with the soundtrack and had to purchase the Soundtrack separately.
Overall: The plot, characters, soundtrack and just the pure joy of playing this game make this worth trying for yourself. Even if you’ve watched Let’s Players play this, your own gameplay experience might be completely different depending on your choices and your exploration. It’s beautifully crafted and I can’t say enough about how much I love this game. I personally am a fan of the playthrough that JackSepticEye has done of this game, however, if you are looking for someone to voice the characters for you.
Have you played Undertale yet? If so, what did you think and which route did you take?