Video Games are nerdy. That’s the way many people think. Only people with too much free time would waste their time on such frivolous things intended for children! Then every once in a while, there comes a game that threatens to destroy that way of thinking. A game that further pushes people to consider video games as an art form. One of these games has come out in 2015 and it is called Undertale.
Undertale was created almost entirely by one guy: Toby Fox. The story of the game is that humans and monsters once lived together in peace, but one day without warning, the humans attacked and forced all the monsters to live underground. Many years later, a child, in order to escape the rain outside, runs into a cave for shelter and accidentally falls into the realm of the monsters. The game focuses on you playing as the child in her attempts to escape the monsters hidden world. The story beyond that is left for you to decide because Undertale has a big twist, you don’t have to fight anybody. Your character and your story all depend on your actions. Do you rely on making friends to escape the world of monsters? Do you kill your way through the land? Maybe it’s a little bit of both? It’s up to you!
In terms of gameplay, it is very fun to discover each enemies insecurity to find out how to make them leave you alone or you can be cruel and just kill them. However, this is nothing new. Many games have choice with fluid stories; what is so special about this one? This game address you directly. Few games can have this much of a sense of immersion. If you choose to be a blood-thirsty maniac, the game will guilt you. If you choose to be a pacifist, the game will question your motives and ask what you think you are accomplishing. In a way, it is almost as if the game is alive. To further explain it would ruin the experience; it must be played to be fully understood.
For a game with such heavy themes as the nature of violence, it is also one of the funniest games in a long time. Many of the enemies will have humorous themes and comical ways of defeating them. To defeat a dog, you must pet it. However, it is the many characters whom you can befriend that are the true stars of the game. Many of them will have superb dialogue that truly fleshes them out in a way that makes them feel real. They can vary from funny to pitiful to violent to somber, and some can be incredibly relatable. You may want to kill one, but befriend the other. The game allows you to do whatever you want to each character (even up to the point of dating them if you so wish), but it also makes you question your moral code. Is it okay to kill those you don’t like and spare those you do?
The graphics are 8-bit, but that works to the game’s advantage at many times. Some areas will have a very simple and quiet beauty to them even with the simple graphics. The gameplay itself is that of a JRPG, which is a game where you and an enemy take turns attacking each other and you can collect weapons and armor to increase your strength and defense in battle. Besides fighting, the game also contains a fair amount of puzzle solving. The puzzles aren’t too intricate or complex, but they are challenging enough for you to be mentally tested without getting frustrated.
The soundtrack is nothing short of amazing. The music is beautiful and fitting to every scenario, it can range from quiet and somber to loud and epic depending on what you are doing in the game and you will be humming the tunes for days.
Conclusion: What makes Undertale really great is that it can’t be made into anything else. Many times, video games try to emulate Movies and T.V shows, but Undertale could only work as a Video Game with its fluid story and direct references to the player. The story, characters, writing, and music all combine to make a perfect gaming experience. It really is a work of art and no review could do justice to the experience of playing the game.
Undertale is $9.99 on Steam.