By: Devonne Tourre
Undertale is an role playing game that came out on September 15 where the player can control an unnamed human that falls into a monster world. The game, created by Toby Fox, is filled with extraordinary and relatable characters as well as weird enemy encounters. As great as the overall game is, there is one selling point that makes the whole adventure stand out: The player doesn’t have to kill anyone or anything.
This game can be compared to Hal Laboratory’s Earthbound or Game Freak’s Pokemon because of the fact that the main point of the game is to destroy randomly encountered enemies. Undertale has gone outside the boundaries of the adventure RPG by allowing the players to not have to kill anything. Instead, the player can use an ‘act’ and ‘mercy’ feature, which allows the player to do various actions to the enemy, such as hug or stare. Then, once this task is completed, the player is allowed to have mercy on the foe, therefore ‘slaying’ them.
The game follows an unnamed human that falls into an underground monster world. From there, the player decides their own fate: if the player kills enemies throughout his or her adventure, then it will play out as a regular RPG where you gain experience points and LV (known as Level of Violence in Undertale). If the player makes use of the ‘act’ and ‘mercy’ feature, then the player can befriend enemies or avoid them entirely. The player will not gain experience points or LV this way. Nonetheless, the plot is heavily affected by the player’s actions. The way characters interact with the player, different environments, and even the music changes depending on if the player decides on a Pacifist, Neutral, or Genocide Run.
When the player first starts the game, they are presented with a demented flower named Flowey who wants to kill the player. Flowey presents a very important premise of the game: “Kill or be killed”. Even though it is not always in a literal sense –which is where the Act and Mercy feature comes into play– this encounter still moves the plot forward by having Toriel, a caretaker of the Ruins where the player starts the game, save the player from the flower. From there, after going through various puzzles in the Ruins, the player learns to trust Toriel in her ways. She brings the player to her home, and plans for the player to stay there, with her, forever. The player eventually figures out that the exit to the rest of Undertale’s world is in her basement. Therefore, the player has to either destroy Toriel and exit into the rest of the Underground or talk to Toriel meaningfully and get the same product. This choice of either killing Toriel or having mercy on Toriel is what makes this game unique.
Having played most of the game myself, I would have to say that I am enjoying the game. A lot of the characters in the game are quite relatable, and the way that battles ensue with either randomly encountered enemies or bosses is quite interesting. Instead of using normal attacks, they drop you into an attack ‘minigame’ of sorts, shooting things at you and you having to dodge them. The different enemy encounters are varied and unique, and will probably bring a smile to your face. The locations throughout the game are also very interesting, having you travel through a snowy town, a waterfall, and a volcano of sorts among others. The soundtrack of the game is also a really influential factor of this game because it is beautifully composed by the game’s creator. It’s filled with diverse yet simple tunes, and it makes the whole game feel alive and flourished. It is a very fun and interesting game, and I hope that many games like this are produced in the future. I highly recommend that anyone who has the money to buy this game should. If you want to play the game after this review, there is a free demo on the official website of the game, and the full game is ten dollars, which can be found on Steam and the official game’s website.
Joseph Picolo, a senior at Oakland Mills High School, says that “The game reminds the player that they are not above their consequences. Even when you delete or quit your save file, the game remembers what you’ve done.” When asked about the soundtrack, Joe replied that “the soundtrack is essentially one of the best parts of the game and it does not receive the recognition that it deserves.” And finally, if asked if there should be a sequel to Undertale, he said that there should be one. “I believe that there will be a sequel because there are so many unexplained things in the first game that they would most likely make another installment, which fills me with determination.”