Undertale… need I say more?
I played this game much later than the rest of the internet, it seems a lot like how I experienced Minecraft. I briefly heard about it, saw how much ruckus there was about the game and then fell in love. Falling in love with this game however seems like an understatement. This game was perhaps the greatest gaming experience I have had in a long time. Despite the game being a bit short it still impressed me to a great extent and left me wanting so much more. I had a whole silly plan for this review involving two of the characters from the game coming in to give their views too, but unfortunately I can’t edit fonts on here. So for now, you’re stuck with me, hope you enjoy!
The story of this game is something I absolutely don’t want to spoil. This game is best experienced with no prior knowledge into how the game works or what happens in the course of your adventure and so I will keep this part short. In this world long ago humans and monsters once lived on the surface of the world together, however a war eventually broke out leaving the monsters banished to the underground where they remain to this day. You play as a human many years later who falls down a huge hole into the underground and must find their way back home. Along the way you will meet some of the most interesting, funny and memorable characters in gaming. You will find yourself laughing, you will cry, and you may even feel as though your entire outlook on this particular genre of games has changed completely, or maybe that’s just what I felt. Anyway the story of this experience is one you will not soon forget and thus I won’t say any more about it.
The presentation of this game is absolutely spectacular, though it may not seem so when you first play the game. The game prides itself on having retro 16-bit looking graphics and generally utilizes this style to a great effect. Backgrounds are detailed and colourful, characters are distinct and all very well designed and even battle animations are incredibly smooth and convey a lot of information when needed. The only part of this game that doesn’t really utilize this well is the opening level which has a rather drab design that tends to repeat. It makes the first impression of how the game looks rather unimpressive however keep on going and you will find yourself a visual treat, even if it still looks retro. And by god I haven’t even mentioned the music which is some of the best I have heard in a video game ever. This is the first game I have ever bought the whole soundtrack for, and I listen to it on a regular basis! Honestly me talking about how good the music is doesn’t even do it justice just have a listen on Youtube if you are curious. However if you are not a fan of retro style chip-tune music you might not be impressed.
The gameplay of Undertale is a rather interesting blend of genres. On the surface the game is a turn based RPG in which you level up, gain stats and fight monsters, however this is with a huge twist. This game gives you the option of sparing all the enemies you come across, including bosses! You can even become friends with all of the bosses and learn more about their character and motivations. This brings a huge spin onto the typical RPG genre, making you question your actions in battle and maybe even making you a full pacifist throughout the game, which of course is what I aimed to do. The gameplay also for certain battles changes up into various different styles, from becoming a platformer, to a shooter, to even a dating simulator! It’s all rather silly but it provides a huge amount of diversity into a genre of gaming that has pretty much covered most of the content it can to death. Aside from the combat of course you have an overworld which you run around, speaking to characters and finding items. All the areas you visit are distinct and have a particular theme which helps them to feel more interesting. The characters too are absolutely spectacular to fight, these are some of the greatest boss fights I have ever done. One in particular that I won’t spoil was capable of twisting how I play video games so much that I consider it the greatest boss battle I have ever encountered in a video game. Truly this game is capable of blending various genres, bring an entirely new spin on an already existing genre and seamlessly blend both humor and seriousness together in an adventure which absolutely has to be experienced.
While I would love to sing more praises to this game I do have to point out some problems that it has. For one the combat mechanics also bring in elements of a particular genre of gaming known as ‘Bullet Hell’ which is a top down shooter that focuses upon dodging hundreds of bullets being thrown your way. If you don’t like bullet hells then this game may not keep you for long as you will be doing a lot of dodging attacks and waiting for enemies to keep their dialogue going until the next event. Also I found some of the mini boss placements to be very strange, especially during the mid section of the game in which some mini bosses seem to appear from nowhere, not giving you proper time or context to why they are in that specific area. The world of Undertale does seem to be a bit disjointed as some places seem very strange when being placed directly next to each other. Finally of course there is the run time which if you are only going for a single ending might feel a bit short, however I didn’t have too much of a problem with this as I found Undertale should be experience more as an experience rather than an infinitely replayable game. And of course there are indeed many multiple endings which can really add to the runtime of the game.
At this point I’m just stretching to find things that are wrong with the game really. As an experience this is one of the greatest games I have ever played, probably going onto my top five list somewhere. I haven’t even had the time to talk about how well this game represents gender roles and sexual orientation in society without bringing too much attention to it, or how well it helps to keep you engaged in interacting with even the smallest and most disposable monsters. I am now part of that unbearable fandom that won’t shut up about this game however I honestly believe this game deserves it. I did actually go for the full pacifist ending, however there is a completely opposite side to the game which involves killing everyone you come across, and even with the intention to fully complete the game and allow my girlfriend to play through it herself I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t kill all the characters I came to love, I couldn’t feel like a murderer running through the world slaying without remorse, I couldn’t even bring myself to reset my save file as I want the characters to stay as they are in the final ending that I got. That is how much this game affected me, significantly more than any other I have experienced in a long time. This game currently stands at 10 hours played in my Steam library and that is how it is staying. I am not touching the game again, not playing through a different way, I found my experience of it to be nearly perfect. If you haven’t experienced Undertale for the love of all that is holy go buy it right now (it’s very cheap for the experience you get) and try it out. I felt determined throughout this whole game, and I feel determined writing this to you all and encouraging you all to experience a near perfect game.