In the last days of 2015 I decided to try a different type of game stepping aside from my usual MMORPG’s. Whilst I didn’t get to play as much games as I wanted to, I did get to experience Undertale. I’ll try to just convey how it made me feel and some general stuff without spoiling too much, because it’s still a new game.
To all of you who don’t know, Undertale is an RPG game with a very unique story, characters and gameplay.
The basic story of the game is that you, a human child, have fallen down into an underground inhabited by monsters, which have been chased away by the humans many years ago. You embark on a quest to exit the Ruins and go home.
Now the clever thing about this game is that it allows you to decide how you will achieve that and you have two main options – either kill every monster you meet, or spare them and get to know them, befriend them. One is called the Genocide run and the other the Pacifist run, as the latter is considered to be the true ending of the game. During these fights you battle with your SOUL and your Determination, where the SOUL is the essential drive of your being.
Whichever you choose to play and in what order you choose to play it decides the conversations throughout the game. Furthermore each play through will slide in minor or major changes in either dialogue or outcome. All character interactions will be different depending on how the player decides to interact with the monsters by either sparing them or killing them.
Undertale doesn’t shy from LGBT characters too. It works on very, very human feelings, very naïve and heartwarming scenarios – it deals with grief, with loss, with love, friendship. It’s quite a sad game too and I can’t shy away and say that I didn’t get a tiny bit teary eyed by the end of it. It conveys as I said very human feelings, very pure.
There’s also a bit of time travel in and outside the game which is always fun. The game itself breaks the fourth wall on many occasions and interacts with the player in clever ways. It remembers the save files and some of the characters do too.
I did like Undertale a lot and its one of the titles that will surely remain amongst my favorites. As simple as the game is there are a lot of emotions revolving around it. I know for a fact that the internet loved it and there is very high praise about the game out there.
One of the things I mostly enjoyed about Undertale was the possibility to spare rather than kill the characters. It’s a common thing to get into a game and aim to kill for either score or prize, and most games don’t give the player a different option. Everyone who plays games is used to the kill for win scenario, but those are just the types of games we play, those that demand that action to achieve the goal and I’ve never minded that, nor considered it. But when an opportunity like this comes along it feels great, especially in an RPG game like Undertale with its visuals and style.
However as plain and simple as Undertale might seem, it’s not, and it doesn’t only allows you, even begs of you to choose and be the pacifist. It’s strangely satisfying moving away from the FIGHT option as it’s called in the game and choose the MERCY one. It’s even greater fun to choose the ACT button as it’s called and get to know the monsters you’re “fighting”, by learning how to interact with them – some require encouragement, others a laugh, third a bath. There are a lot of characters and they are all quirky, punny, adorable, very colorful in their personas. Some of them are like people I know, like people you know. Some just want to see the stars, the real ones. It pays off being friends with them by the end of the run – it’s heartwarming, and that word cannot be used enough for Undertale. It may be dark, but there’s so much warmth in it.
I did a Pacifist run exactly executing on that opportunity to get to know every monster and in return for them to tell me the story of the Ruins. Besides, I didn’t want to harm anyone of them. I wanted to be able to be good and do good, and eat Nice Cream and such.
I will do a Genocide run as soon as I post this review-ish as the Genocide run adds more to the story of the game. I’ve been spoiled a thing or two, but that’s inevitable with the popularity of this game and the sheer amount of fan art and such on the internet. I respect the fact that the game allows you to get to love these unique characters but then makes you understand that the price for restarting the game and trying the other run will be killing them, one by one.
The characters I liked from random encounters were quite a few and to anyone who hasn’t played the game, or hasn’t encountered anything related to it they’ll sound weird: there are these…strange cats called Temmie (hOI!), there’s the muscle-flexing seahorse Aaron, there’s the blushing, flirting Tsunderplane, Lesser Dog, Greater Dog and Annoying Dog, and the main, boss monsters, the skeleton brothers Sans and Papyrus (yes, like the fonts), Undyne, the tomboy heroine, Asriel the Prince, Flowey the Flower and so many more.
In a way Undertale is a Fundertale, even a Pundertale – there are so many jokes – some are corny yes, some settle in with a very certain laugh zone, but they are good-hearted and they deserve sometimes a chuckles, sometimes a healthy laugh. I did get healthy laughs out of it.
And the music – it’s phenomenal! The tracks, again as simple as they are, they fit each situation and character perfectly. I’ve been listening to it ever since I started playing Undertale.
Undertale has got soul and a big heart welcoming everyone that wants to try it. Albeit it’s not for everyone, Undertale is well worth a check, a try. It could be a very pleasant and special experience.
I’m looking forward to the Genocide run but not towards completing the game fully. I like the idea of being able to return to it over and over again, discovering something tiny new, addressing characters differently. It’ll be fun!