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Undertale is a game that combines smart writing, charming characters, and a unique combat system. Its integration of gameplay with storytelling, strong writing, and an acute understanding of its audience build to something that surprises at every turn.
Although it uses the grammar of a Japanese RPG as its basic framework, Undertale is not a straightforward take on the genre. Instead, developers throw RPG fans into a world of intensely familiar tropes and commands, if only to find new ways to play with them at every possible opportunity. While its witty humor gives countless smiles, the many times Undertale is committed to some unexpected gameplay style and a new mechanic for the sake of a single, inspired joke.
Undertale is the kind of game where, after finishing it, you need to immediately find someone who's reached the end, just to share all the stories of the many weird and amazing things you encountered.
The graphics in Undertale aren’t always pretty, it’s often ugly, even. However, it’s an incredibly expressive game from start to finish. The game makes up for visual limitations with charming animations and excellent music. Every small detail reveals a deep understanding of its audience, which makes Undertale’s commentary on personhood incredibly effective.
Undertale's soundtrack is loaded with beautiful bit-based melodies which blend perfectly with the action on-screen. Each boss has its own theme song, which does a great job of enhancing the particular personality. These tracks put you on the edge of your seat as you try to fight or befriend your opponent.
Outside of battle, music sets the appropriate mood, from the quirky jingle to somber melodies that build tension. Regardless of Undertale’s retro style, its soundtrack has timeless appeal and is great at evoking emotions.
Undertale tells the story of a human child who falls into an underground cavern filled with horrible monsters and must find a way to escape back to the surface. The monsters had been banished there by the humans a long time ago, so tension are always high when a human drops in to visit.
You will quickly encounter two monsters: a flower named Flowey and a motherly Toriel, whose head resembles a white-furred goat, structured with droopy ears and short horns. They seem nice enough, but you have to remember that they are monsters after all.
Your journey through the caves is filled with turn-based random encounters, puzzles, and a whole lot of humor. The gameplay mechanic is outstanding here, featuring a unique combat system. Even though encounters are random, they don’t become an annoyance. Instead, you will likely find yourself looking forward to fighting the next monster.
It's entirely your choice whether to destroy the monsters or show them mercy. Killing monsters earns you money and XP which can raise your level. Sparing monsters is only rewarded with money and perhaps a new friend. It's possible to play through the entire game without killing anyone and remain at Level 1, and it's also possible to kill everything, but you need to keep in mind that every decision has consequences.
Beyond the combat, there are also puzzles to be solved to navigate the caverns. For the most part, they are easy, so you will hardly get stuck on any of them. Actually, some of the puzzles are solved by the monsters themselves as they doubt the human’s abilities. Although the puzzles aren’t particularly impressive, they do a decent job of keeping things interesting throughout the game.
You are encouraged to engage with NPCs rather than charge through the story because the varied and entertaining cast of monsters constantly reveals valuable information about the wider world. It leads to unique exchanges filled with great quips that simultaneously poke fun at games and human nature alike.
In Undertale, the turn-based combat works differently from most other RPGs. When you attack or defend, a box will appear with a short mini-game to complete which determine the level of damage given or received.
While attacking, mini-games require you to stop a moving bar along a slider at the perfect moment to reach maximum damage. The defense mini-games usually play out like a bullet hell, where enemies send out a volley of projectiles, and you must move your heart around to avoid getting hit. Each boss has an own slight alteration to the defense mechanics; plus, the game does a good job of changing things up so that it’s not always strictly the same bullet hells.
Moreover, attacking is not your only option. There are two other options, Act and Mercy, that provide much of the core gameplay. The Act option provides several ways to interact with the opponent, which changes depending on a monster you encounter. Interactions can range from friendly actions like a “Compliment or “Hug” to mean things such as “Ignore” or “Pick On.” If you choose a wrong interaction, the monster might become more aggressive. And if you choose the correct one, it might become happier or even no longer wish to fight. When this scenario happens, the Mercy option opens up, and you can end the fight non-violently.
It’s interesting to try out every possible option, even if you already know which one is correct. Just out curiosity, to see how the monster would react.
Replay Value 5/5
The little details make Undertale special, and you’d want to see more of them once you finish the game for the first time. Although some long sections of dialogue and certain fights may seem slow, they are necessary to establish unique personalities of each character. The Undertale’s well-woven theme of determination will keep you playing and replaying.
This sort of experience encourages you to come back as over the course of roughly five hours, you will make a lot of decisions that impact the world around you.
Undertale doesn’t have any in-game purchases, though you can buy its soundtrack on Steam for $9,99.
Undertale tells its story in such a dynamic way, and with such an excellent understanding of the RPG player’s mindset that it couldn’t have ever been told in any other way. It's a masterfully crafted experience that you’ll hardly forget any time soon.
You couldn't tell it with a passing glance, but Undertale is one of the most innovative RPGs to come in a long time. It breaks down tradition for the sake of invention with great success.
Undertale’s clever and funny writing and unique combat system make it an unforgettable experience.
Pros : Innovative battle system;
Great sense of humor;
Cons : Graphics are ugly at times.
Replay Value 5
Average : 4.8
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