I have to admit that I’m not much of a gamer. I play games on the
Netflix Machine PS4 in the living room from time to time. I have Elder Scrolls Online on my laptop, and the last time I logged onto Steam was to play Duck Tales: Remastered. Like I said, I’m not much of a gamer. But I found myself wanting to strike out and play something new. I found that something new in Undertale.
So what exactly is Undertale, a game that has a score of 93 on Metacrtic and continues to receive positive buzz in the gaming world? Let me tell you, since I didn’t even know myself!
Welcome to UNDERTALE. In this RPG, you control a human who falls underground into the world of monsters. Now you must find your way out… or stay trapped forever.
If the trailer didn’t grab you, these features of the game should:
- Killing is unnecessary: negotiate out of danger using the unique battle system.
- Time your attacks for extra damage, then dodge enemy attacks in a style reminiscent of top-down shooters.
- Original art and soundtrack brimming with personality.
- Soulful, character-rich story with an emphasis on humor.
- Created mostly by one person.
- Become friends with all of the bosses!
- At least 5 dogs.
- You can date a skeleton.
- Hmmm… now there are 6 dogs…?
- Maybe you won’t want to date the skeleton.
- I thought I found a 7th dog, but it was actually just the 3rd dog.
- If you play this game, can you count the dogs for me…? I’m not good at it.
The first feature of the game struck me the most when I first sat down to start playing. In most games these days, especially the RPG variety, the character you control is always about the attack. Sure, there is the need for defense, but you’re always bringing the metaphorical hammer down on your enemies to move forward. That is not the case for Undertale. Every choice you make, ever step, item, attack, etc., completely effects what happens to you and the characters around you. You really can find a way to not attack anyone. Yes, :anyone. Fans of the game have even come up with different ways to play the game: Neutral, Pacifist, and Genocide. I’m sure you can figure out the meaning of each way.
At the time of writing this, I’ve logged about 2-3 hours of the game, which is said to have an average playing time of 6 hours. Has it felt like I have been playing for that long? Not at all. The game’s RPG nature, scrolling movements, detailed worlds, and amazing cast of characters make for a game that is anything less than boring.
Speaking of characters…I don’t even know where to begin. I may not have met them all as of my current game play, I know. But the ones that I have met all have taken my heart and soul and I just actually want them as friends. You have Toriel, one of the first characters you meet in the game who becomes your guide in learning the ways of the Underworld. You have Sans, the stoutly skeleton who you befriend. His brother, Papyrus, who shares my own love for spaghetti. Then you have Undyne, the armored badass and Alphys, who loves her social media. I know there are more characters I have yet to meet (Who the hell is this Asgore they keep talking about???) and more chances for me to fall in love want them as my friends. I told you in the title I fell in love, so this should be no surprise.
Every game is only as strong as the writing within it. I don’t want to say anything relating to the story, in the case of spoilers, but I want to point out how fresh the writing of Undertale is. It’s incredibly deep and emotional, but also light and fun. I’ve found myself laughing harder than other games, feeling more of a connection to characters than other games, and just generally taking my time in reading every word that comes across my screen. I read all the signs, scour every detail, and just make sure to soak in all the work that went into the game. There are just that many fun and interesting bits of detail that I would not want to miss (I tend to do that in some games, ask those who have played with me.)
Undertale has another incredibly strong asset, beyond its writing, characters, and gameplay: the soundtrack. It seemed odd to me that Steam would offer a bundle of the game that included the soundtrack, little did I know that I should not have thought that odd at all in the slightest. Even as I began the game, I found myself swaying to the music that flowed out of my headphones. The music is dynamic, adding to the overall feel of the game entirely.
There are tense moments with the music to match, the calm moments with the tones that calm your body, or the moments where you, and the music, are matched in being on edge. The battle music makes me think of the trainer battles in Pokemon. There were times that I got some Mega-Man vibes from the music. The music is drenched in the old bit and chip tunes that used to be in all the games that were played. Even for a game made in 2015, the music fits and does not date the game in slightest.
Playing the game so far has possibly made me want to purchase the soundtrack. Here’s just a sample of what you can expect from the music of Undertale.
I am beyond excited to continue to play this game and I predict myself to be recommending it to those who have not heard of it. Kudos Toby Fox, you’ve made a fan out of me.
You can find Undertale on Steam right now. Go buy it.