Players of all kinds of games most likely never think about the monsters they face and how they feel when their life is brutally ended with the slice of a sword or shot of a gun. In Toby Fox’s game, “Undertale,” you can meet monsters of all kinds and choose whether or not to end their lives or spare them instead. “Undertale” is released exclusively for PC on the Steam digital distribution platform, or a couple other sites and is published by the creator and developer of the game Toby Fox.
The story of the game takes place underground where the humans of Earth, after a war, have magically sealed the monsters. A child (the player) falls into the pit and discovers underground ruins where he/she is greeted by a flower named Flowey. After a brief interaction with Flowey, the player is then greeted by a motherly goat monster called Toriel. While helping the child through the ruins, Toriel teaches him/her how the world of monsters works and warns the player not to leave the ruins.
After welcoming the player into her home, she begins to become attached to him/her. She tells the player about herself, begins to get an educational system set up for the player, and begins to treat him/ her more like her own child. However, when the player asks when he/she can go home, Toriel mysteriously leaves. The player soon finds that she is going to destroy the only way out of the ruins to keep them safe from the monsters outside. The player must battle Toriel and defeat her, in some way, to leave. The player can then walk through the door to the rest of the underground land of monsters to begin his journey.
The battle system in the game is creative in that with every battle the player is put into he/she have four options. The player can fight the monster head on and destroy them, he/she can act and find a unique way, such as talking or singing, to calm the monster down and give up on fighting. When the player chooses act and figures out how to calm the monster down the monsters name will, normally, turn yellow. This yellow indications gives the player the option of mercy to spare the monster. The player can often times be able to run away from the monster by going straight to the mercy option and choosing flee. The final option the player can choose is the item option where player can heal with food items and change gear in the middle of battle.
When any of these options are chosen an attack from the monster will occur. The player will have to move his/her soul, represented as a red heart, around and dodge the specific attacks from the monster. These attacks are quick paced, making the player have to react fast in order to not be damaged. These attacks will also happen after the player uses an item, making it difficult to keep health.
The backdrops of the game and the pixelated characters have a retro 8-bit feel. There is a small spectrum of colors for each room making the game feel like something out of classic 1980’s video games.
This game is similar to the Earthbound/ Mother series, with a massive amount of comedy and emotional moments. Based on the storyline, art, and presentation as a whole, “Undertale” has many of the characteristics of Earthbound/Mother spread throughout it.
The game’s soundtrack is phenomenal as the tracks are mostly chiptune (giving off an 8-bit tune) mixed with actual instruments. There are some beautiful tracks played at certain scenes that make the scenes stick out. The soundtrack can be bought for $10 on the websites Bandcamp and Steam. It can also be bought in a bundle with the game for around $18.
There are multiple endings that the player can achieve when he/she beats the game. If players try to spare monsters, but fight and destroy a few along the way, he/she will get the Neutral Ending. If the player completely fights and destroys every monster he/she faces, he/she will get the Genocide Ending. If the player decides to spare or flee every monster he/she faces along his/her journey and befriends the characters he/she meets along the way, he/she will get the Pacifist/”True” Ending. The ending depends on the player’s play style which can be either a good thing or a bad thing.
“Undertale” is an indie game that started out as a Kickstarter, which is a site to give money towards an idea, with only a demo for people to play. After a lot of people played the demo, they were so intrigued and satisfied with the demo that they donated to the Kickstarter. The original amount the creator was hoping to be donated was $5,000 and was instead surprised to have gotten over $50,000 donated. With the amount of content and care that is seen throughout this game, it shows just how much dedication the developer put into the game.
The game does have its flaws, as some of the scenes have flashing lights that can be harmful to epileptics. Another issue is that with the game being only being $10, the content in it makes it feel underpriced.
“Undertale” is a unique story that shows how you can have a good game with throw-back graphics and sounds. With likable characters and an abundance of possible outcomes, this game sets a good example for indie games and hopefully will become an iconic one. “Undertale” gets a rating of 4.9/5.