→ Wheeler Whitten (SilverAuthor)
It’s not very often that I can play a game, and instantly fall in love with it from the beginning. Usually, I play through a game multiple times before I can even make a valid opinion on it. Yet with Undertale, I instantly realized I might have played one of my favorite games of all time as soon as I started it. But I suppose I’m getting ahead of myself.
Undertale is advertised as the RPG where nobody has to die. Fair enough. That doesn’t mean anybody has to live either. If you want, everybody can live and everybody can die. The game pretty much expects you to do whatever you want on the first run, so don’t worry about big choices on that playthrough. It’s mainly just a test drive, and there certainly isn’t anything wrong with that. You’ll be able to learn the game rather well and learn from mistakes on the second run, which I respect.
As far as gameplay goes, Undertale nailed about every aspect a game of this sort could. Unlike most traditional RPG’s, the battle system is set up in such a way where, in theory, you can actually not get hit the whole game. For most battles, you play as a heart moving around dodging projectiles. It’s hard to describe why this is a particularly great system, but it feels almost flawless. However, I wouldn’t be doing Undertale’s battle system justice without talking about it’s boss fights. For most bosses, they alter the color of your heart, which changes a certain aspect of it. For instance, Papyrus, an early game boss, makes your heart blue. This essentially means your heart has gravity, and can only move left and right and jump, as opposed to the regular system of moving your heart wherever it needs to go. This makes each boss stand out and feel quite memorable in my eyes. In most RPG’s, I’ll remember a boss based on their battle theme, a quote, or maybe even design. Undertale’s unique battle system throws that out the window and makes for some splendid boss battles.
Outside of the battles, you’ll solve puzzles and explore caves. The battle system takes up most of the gameplay, but the overworld still is a joy to play through. There are plenty of great puzzles that incorporate plenty of the game’s charm and wit into them. The characters are amazingly written, the towns are actually somewhat immersive, and the soundtrack along with it all is just amazing.
Speaking of the soundtrack, I can not sing (GET IT) enough praise about this soundtrack. Each and every track is catchy and stands out in some way; it takes you back to the days when game designers had limited tools to work with, and instead of making generic orchestra tracks, would make memorable tunes. Whether it be Spider Dance that makes you excited, or His Theme that makes you determined, the soundtrack is honestly one of the best parts of the game. Granted, it’s $10 on steam. For reference, that’s the same price as Undertale itself. I love this soundtrack to death, but I’d recommend waiting for a sale, or listening to the music on YouTube.
Graphically speaking, he game itself honestly doesn’t look that amazing. From a shoestring budget and the graphical style they went with, it’s amazing. However, I’ve grown tired of the modern-retro style of gaming after playing so many games that use it. In terms of uniqueness, it’s the first modern-retro game i’ve seen to use the macintosh style. It uses its color sparingly, with muted colors taking up most of game, which can be seen as both a positive and negative. In it’s own respect, it’s good for what it tries to do. Outside of that, It’s mediocre at best.
This game’s story is… cryptic. It follows the story of a human falling down a hole and into the world of monsters. Filled with determination, you set out to exit the underground. Barring that, the side characters and themes leave the game with a ton of mystery for you to solve. As the game is fairly new, there’s a lot left undiscovered. This also artificially adds a layer of replayability, beyond the three main endings you can set out to achieve. And who could forget the wonderfully written side characters and NPC’s, which never let the game become too serious. Nonetheless, the game’s story is superbly written. It’s a bit of a “figure out what x means on your own” kind of game, but it’s still fun to interpret what something in the game means. The dialogue is incredibly humorous too, and made me laugh out loud more times than I could count. It kind of pokes fun at many other game genres, with a mix of self-aware humor.
I’ve spoken a lot of negatives about the game, but believe me, they pale in comparison to what the game does right. Plus, you can date a skeleton.