I’m sure a lot of you have been wondering what this little game called “Undertale” is all about; I mean, practically everyone has been talking about it lately and it is one of the top rated games on Steam in this point in time. Well, if you don’t know what Undertale is, let me enlighten you on perhaps the most innovative and captivating game of this generation, and my personal favorite RPG ever.
See, you might think to just brush off a game like this because of its simple aesthetic. After all, it’s not the most graphically intensive game ever, but it doesn’t have to be. It uses a retro aesthetic with a unique art style that is so polished and well done. The sprite work in particular is fantastic, and although most enemy models are in black and white, it only adds to the brilliant art direction. Every single enemy is designed superbly and differently, giving each a very distinct feel. Plus, the characters you meet along the way are drawn in such a manner that makes them all pretty memorable. Take sans, my favorite character, for example. His goofy skeleton design is something I will never forget. Not to mention, virtually everything in this game, from a visual standpoint, is stylized, even to the point where there are various fonts, text speeds, and so on. This only harkens back to the one and only sans and his brother Papyrus, who have different fonts, text speeds, and sound effects, which makes them all the more interesting. Just by listening to the sound effects for different characters’ dialogues, you can easily determine their character and persona, even without any real voice acting. Although some screenshots kinda look dull in color, I assure you, Undertale is filled to the brink with a wide array of colors and different environments so no area feels boring to explore in. This is actually one of the few instances in an RPG where I simply walked around aimlessly getting immersed in the world because the atmosphere Undertale creates with both its visuals and soundtrack is unlike any other RPG to date. It’s hard to narrow down what’s so engrossing about Undertale because there’s just so much this game does well. I know I am getting way ahead of myself but every aspect of this title culminates into something amazing.
The same can be said for its stellar soundtrack. This is, bar none, my favorite soundtrack of all time, perhaps next to Ori and the Blind Forest. Seriously, it’s wonderfully composed and its heavy emphasis on synth and percussion is so fitting for a game like this. There is not one piece that is bad, mediocre, or forgettable; I love every one of them. Every track is memorable and catchy, even the somber and emotional ones. As it stands, my favorites include the Ruins track, the Snowdin track, sans’ theme, and Nyeh Heh Heh. Undertale’s OST is so good that it will make you stop and take in all the sounds for a few seconds. To further add to this brilliant sound design, the sound effects are so satisfying and charming. It’s a weird thing to compliment, but these sound effects only add to the experience. The best example of this is probably, again, the sound effects for the different dialogues. In particular, sans’ dialogue sounds are hilariously goofy.
Oh yeah, I guess now is as good as time as any to discuss the emotional story. And this is, without a doubt in my mind, among the simplest, most compelling stories I have experienced. It easily trumps anything I have played, in recent memory. What makes it all the more immersive and interesting is the fact that every decision you make, every thing you do or don’t do affects the story in some way. Anyways, our story begins with you, the player, falling down a hole into the Ruins and eventually, after walking a bit, you stumble upon a flower. And this flower right here, perfectly illustrates how much Undertale emphasizes the freedom of choice. Upon approaching the flower, it tells you about how the game’s combat system works and gives you some “love” in the form of white spears that start heading towards your heart. Now, being in control of your heart, you can move it away from the flower’s white emissions or just accept your love. If you do choose to move over, the flower becomes furious and after more refused love, he goes into this demon-like state and surrounds your heart with this “love”. Fortunately, another friendly monster named Toriel saves you. She then proceeds to take you on a tour around the Ruins, teaching you all about the conflicted world outside of the ruins where humans and monsters resent each other. As you spend more time with Toriel, you begin to see she just wants a companion since all her other rescued humans have died at the hands of Asgore, the king of the monsters. But her dialogue, and every character’s dialogue for that matter, is so well written that she becomes a developed, dynamic mother figure to you. During your fight with her to leave, you don’t want to attack her because of your love for her and conversely, you feel her love for you as you fight for your freedom. Toriel is an amazing character and one of the many I adore in Undertale. So, once you leave the Ruins, you feel a sense of isolation and fear as you walk into the unknown with ominous music playing in the background. And you see a spooky figure, so you run and try to flee, but it’s too late and it seems he wants to shake your hand. So, you do and it was just the lovable sans the whole time playing a prank on you. sans is honestly one of my favorite characters of all time. His jokes with his brother and you throughout your adventure are legitimately funny. The way the camera zooms in on him when he jokes only adds to this humour. During the first encounter with him, I burst out laughing at his skeleton pun. See, he only wants to appease his brother, Papyrus, so he does whatever he can to help him trap you and joke around with him. It’s such an interesting side plot and sans only adds to its depth and memorability. There’s so much more here I could discuss with Tem, the ominous knight, and Undyne, but I really don’t want to spoil anything else for you. This is a story best played on your own time and I mean, it’s short so there’s no reason you shouldn’t give it a go. The other thing is, that ending. Undertale’s ending is my favorite out of all the games I have played. More specifically, the Pacifist Route’s ending made me cry like a wee little baby. It’s that compelling and there’s a huge twist at the end that makes everything come full circle. The plot is really well done and the choices you make do, in fact, show in the story. It’s one of those instances where your own path feels like your own story. What only makes the plot better is the great pacing, wonderfully written dialogue, and character development. I could go on and on with gushing about the story, but I think I’ll let you gush when you inevitably get Undertale.
As for the gameplay, well, it’s also very choice heavy. A lot of people are calling this game an RPG and while it is, by definition, that, calling it just an “RPG” would be disservice how fantastic this gameplay is. Unlike virtually every RPG, grinding is not required; you can actually advance through the whole game without fighting or killing a single enemy. Instead, you can chose to “act” and go about different ways to spare each enemy. Like with the Napstablook, you can just keep selecting “cheer” to raise his spirits and have mercy on him. This is the preferred route, the one that will net you the true ending and is kind of the overall message of Undertale; it’s that you can get through life by having mercy and showing kindness on others. In other words, fighting is pointless. If you do choose to fight, it and killing enemies are terrifying and challenging. Sure, the fighting system of timing your attacks is not difficult, but as you murder and murder, the boss monsters become really tough. They are relentless and if you manage to kill them, watching them die is heart-breaking. And the ending of this so-called “Genocide Run” is horrifying and scary. You feel bad for killing people and enemies in Undertale. Like I was saying before, you don’t have to grind or anything to complete this game because it employs a Mario and Luigi style system for dodging attacks. Essentially, you take control of a heart and try to dodge attacks in this little box in any way you can. It’s a simple concept, but it’s also really engaging as every attack pattern is different and as more “enemies” swarm you, it can get really challenging. It’s so fun, though, even despite this difficulty factor. Not to mention, it’s refreshing to have the option to not kill enemies and interact with them.
So, all in all, Undertale is one of the best games of this generation. Its story is compelling, its characters are dynamic and interesting, its gameplay is fun and unique, and its presentation is absolutely amazing. I cannot praise this game enough. With great determination I have to say, Undertale is my second favorite game of all time. You are doing yourself a great disservice by not owning this magnificent game. It’s only 10 bucks on Steam and a potato could practically run it. I really have no issues with Undertale either so I cannot recommend this title enough to you. Do not wait for a sale or price drop, go buy Undertale this instant mister! I think anyone can enjoy it, too–even if you aren’t a fan of RPGs–because of how unique and captivating it is. But as always, if you disagree with me or agree with me, let me know in the comments below. Thank you so much for watching and take care. Have a wonderful day and good bye!