Video Game Review: Undertale

I’m not quite sure when I first heard about this video game called “Undertale” or how. I know that it showed up in my tumblr feed and a friend mentioned it back in October 2015. As I was currently travelling and very busy when she brought it up, I didn’t really think about it much. More time passed, things at work became busier, and I finally found myself with a bit of free time, so I decided to play Undertale, as it seemed like a fairly simple game that wouldn’t really take me too much time.

I was told way back in October 2015 that the best way to play the game was to not know anything about it so that you could give honest reactions. In fact, the exact comment on the game to me was: “Undertale is a special case, because the less you know about it, the better the experience. xD But I’ll say this: it’s very funny, it has excellent music, and it subverts genre expectations by being an RPG in which you don’t have to kill enemies.”

So what can I say about Undertale that won’t spoil the game for anyone who hasn’t played it?

There are three ways of playing the game: pacifist, neutral, and genocide. I guess playing the game in each path results in different character interactions and different options in the game. I can’t vouch for any of the other routes, as the only play through I did was the total pacifist option where I didn’t kill anyone. The battles were sometimes hilarious in their resolution and some of them made me feel a lot better about my choices to not kill them. However, there were two battles that seriously tested my abilities. The first major battle I just couldn’t figure out also involved a dialogue that said something along the lines of: “You remind a certain character that they have already killed you more times than you can count. The character nods grimly.” And the second major battle I just couldn’t figure out involved a lot of really frustrated, disappointed, and unhappy messages while I chatted with the person who recommended this game to me. With careful encouragement, and maybe a light hint or two, I made it through and I’m very happy that I did.

I will say that I definitely enjoyed the game. The characters are interesting and very deep. Each character is completely unique, has different goals, motivations, abilities, and passions. After meeting the characters, laughing with them or at their shenanigans, and hearing about their world, I didn’t really have the heart to kill them. I think it’s likely that I got more out of the character interaction because of my choice to not kill anyone and I was rewarded with a much more hilarious game with a lot of very amusing romantic pairings.

For a computer game with very “low” graphic quality and a retro-feeling, text-based gaming style, it was beautifully done. I absolutely agree with Sam’s Undertale review when she says that the telling of this story could only be done through a computer/video game. Every decision that you, as the player, makes during the game is used to create the rest of the gaming experience and the story wouldn’t make sense without your interaction, or without the choices you make, or even without how hard you have to work to get through certain sections.

The music to this game is so absolutely addictive that I ordered the soundtrack and I also set up my audio recording device and recorded something like half an hour of my game play. While the soundtrack has not arrived yet, I am excited about it.

Overall, I would say this game is a four on my rating scale. There are really only two reasons why I wouldn’t necessarily enjoy playing this game again, but I’m not going to tell you what they are because I don’t want to spoil anything for those who haven’t played before. One reason is because of that second major battle that I just couldn’t figure out. The other reason? That one will be a mystery because I don’t want to ruin the ending 🙂

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About C.A. Jacobs

Just another crazy person, masquerading as a writer.
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