Video Game Review: ‘Undertale’

This week, I would like to share with you all the game that has absolutely been devouring my life for the past fortnight. Undertale, a role-playing game developed and published by its indie developer tobyfox, is practically destroying my life, even though I’ve been officially finished with the game itself for nearly a week at this point. Released only two months ago, I found it available on PC via Steam for only $9.99. Enamored with the game’s concept of morality, I could not resist checking it out.

Undertale truly flipped my experience with RPGs upside down and threw them out of the metaphorical window. The game comes off as nothing unusual at first, but is much more unique and complex than its simplicity initially lets on. The game opens to a short prologue detailing the setting, then moves on to a title screen where you may name your game file. It features rather typical RPG elements, with at first little to note aside from its interesting bullet hell combat system.

Proper gameplay introduces its dodging mechanics with a character who claims the world we find our self in revolves around “kill or be killed.” However, this idea is soon shown to be completely untrue. This is where the game presents its moral compass, by granting the player the option to show mercy to encountered enemies. Tasking the child protagonist with navigating the underground world they’ve fallen into so that they might return home to the surface, it is up to the player to decide on just how they will handle the monsters that serve as obstacles to bar their way.

The game’s charms truly shine as its more-often-than-not pun filled humor develops alongside the story. The sharp wit contrasts so wonderfully with the darkening plot, which branches every which way and darkens only further depending on the choices made by the player. Each of the player’s choices uniquely tailor the outcome of the game’s ending. Because of all the various possibilities for how to handle the story, this definitely allows for a great deal of replay value. However, this value is even further increased by the fact that the game saves your previous choices, altering dialogue and encounters in runs made after each reset, making even the finest details very unique.

I wish I could read more specifically into the game, but there is little else I can say for fear of spoiling the really good stuff. Undertale is, I’m afraid, a game made far better by personal experience and without any solid knowledge about the plot’s details. So, I implore the readers to pick the game up for themselves. It is absolutely worth the time and effort, and is not too difficult for any player, regardless of experience with video games. In all honesty, I can almost recommend the game entirely for its wonderful soundtrack, and when something so sweet is being sold at such a small price, it is hard not to recommend. I can assure you that Undertale will have you rolling over for weeks.

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