I love the shit out of Undertale!
It has been far too long since I’ve played a game that made me feel so many conflicting emotions at once, all while being fun and entertaining. It is also the first time in a long while that I really enjoyed playing an RPG, to the point where I didn’t want to put it down, or play another game. It’s that freaking good.
As much as I want to talk about EVERYTHING in this wonderful gem, I also believe that the story should be something you experience for yourselves, which is why I won’t be spoiling it for you. Unless you have watched one of the numerous Let’s Plays out there – which is not on me.
So, let’s get to it!
The writing and art style of Undertale is very reminiscent of EarthBound, which is no accident, considering the game’s creator, Toby Fox, also loves the shit out of that game, and was inspired by it. There are also elements of internet culture in the dialogue, and the way certain characters act seem to be heavily influenced by the antics of Mr. Bean. Considering that Mr. Bean used to be one of my favourite shows growing up, it is one reason why I kept coming back to this amazing game. I also love how the writing makes fun of RPG tropes, which becomes crystal clear when you spend the night at an inn.
While you do play an expressionless, silent, gender non-specific protagonist named Frisk, the true charm in this game comes from the many secondary characters, each with their own lovable quirks and unique personalities. Take Papyrus, for example:
He’s flamboyant, confident, charismatic and kind. Despite being occasionally oblivious, he can also be wonderfully deceitful – by means of reverse psychology during one of the game’s most humorous moments. Papyrus is my favourite because out of all the characters, he made me laugh the most.
If you choose to, you can go on “dates” with several of the secondary characters, including Papyrus. I highly recommend doing so. Many of the game’s best moments come from going on dates with these characters, and it’s the only way to get what is arguably the best ending in the game.
Or, you know… You could just kill everyone.
For the most part, I really enjoyed the combat system, because it reminded me of Super Mario RPG. When it’s your turn, you can attack your enemy with timed button presses (via a meter), or choose to “act” a certain way in order to spare their lives. Nonviolent actions such as talking to them, ignoring them, or even singing with them are just a few of the actions you can perform. When you’re opponent attacks, you must move a red heart on the screen (which represents your soul) in order to avoid getting hit, much like a bullet hell shooter. This irritated me many times during my first playthrough, because I kept getting killed. I’m much better at this now, but it can still be a pain in the ass, because my eyes aren’t as fast as they used to be.
Fetch quests do not exist in this game! This is a big plus from me, and I’m sure it will be for you as well. I hate needlessly backtracking through a game to get some random item, just to give it away for another random item, and repeating the process until you get some piece of armor that becomes obsolete within a half an hour. There is backtracking in this game, but it usually means doing certain things for/with other characters (mostly during/before dates), and this is okay with me, because it opens up new dialogue between Frisk and another character, or multiple characters. If you thought hanging out in a garbage dump wouldn’t have you laughing your ass off, then you need to play this game.
You need to know that every choice you make has an effect on either the dialogue, the ending, or both. Aside from the Neutral ending (of which there are many text variations), the two major endings are the Genocide and Pacifist endings. The Genocide ending is exactly as it sounds – you kill everyone, no exceptions. The Pacifist ending is a bit challenging to get, because it requires you to find a way to spare/save everyone. Believe me when I tell you that the Pacifist ending is worth it. Also, I don’t think I can ever bring myself to do a full Genocide run. I did try once, but you have to go out of your way and grind for EXP, and I fucking hate grinding.
Do you have any idea how awesome the music is in this game?
It’s so awesome that I highly recommend purchasing the soundtrack with the game. I’m dead serious when I say that the music was what sold me on wanting to play this game in the first place. I just wished I bought the album at the same time I bought the game to save some money, so I could enjoy such ass-kicking tunes like Megalovania and Death by Glamour any time I wanted to. But the music also made me feel melancholic at times, particularly during certain flashbacks and near the end of the game, which further highlights my praise of the soundtrack – It made me feel awesome, it made me feel sad, and it made me feel confused, but in a good way.
If I actually did a Top 10 (which I won’t), I’m positive Undertale would be…at least 5th place. I love the gameplay, I love the music, and I certainly love the fact that there are no fetch quests in this RPG. Interacting with NPCs is what kept me coming back to this game, because the humour is among the best in any video game I’ve played. My eternal gratitude goes out to Toby Fox, Temmie Chang, and everyone else who worked on this fantastic game!
When you have the chance, download this game and play it.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going down to Grillby’s.