Undertale: A Jen’s Review

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Toby Fox

Have you ever played a game (or seen a movie, maybe read a book, whatever it is you do) that hit you so hard in the feels that you couldn’t manage to let it go after you were done? I don’t know what story that might have been for you, reader, but for me, it was definitely Undertale. If you’ve been living in a hole somewhere and unfamiliar with this gem of a game, it’s an 8-bit style RPG about a human who falls into the monster world and must find its way back to the surface.

“The story’s premise is simple, but as you venture through the underground world of the monsters, you realize there is far more going on than you thought.”
The story’s premise is simple, but as you venture through the underground world of the monsters, you realize there is far more going on than you thought. This story runs deep, and the closer you get to your goal, the more you learn about the history of the monsters and their king…who would love nothing more than to capture the soul of the 8th human to fall into his realm and break the barrier to the human world forever!

Totally non-spoiler screen shot from the pacifist ending

Totally non-spoiler screen shot from the pacifist ending.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. If you’re at all aware of this game (or you’ve been in the Future Monkeys Google Hangout with me lately, because I never shut up), you’ll know that there are three paths you can follow to get to the end: the genocide run, the neutral run, and the pacifist run. These are probably self explanatory, but I will define them anyway. Genocide means you kill everything. Literally. Everything. You monster. The neutral run is what you get if you killed some things, but not all of them. And the pacifist run is what you get for refusing to kill anything, ever (but you have to get the neutral ending before you can get the pacifist ending). Oh, and if you thought you could go genocide and then start over to go pacifist, you’ve got another think coming – this game remembers, and even your pacifist ending changes because of that.

“Every creature you come up against in this game has a distinct personality with unique motivations, and figuring out what makes them tick is the key to victory.”

Me being the boring lame nice (no?) goody-goody person that I am, I played pacifist. I’ve probably discussed before how I have major issues trying to be evil in a game with choices. Maybe I didn’t get enough approval as a child or something. I just want them to like me, darn it! At any rate, the idea of befriending everybody instead of killing them intrigued me. And now that I’ve done it, I literally can not fathom the idea of killing any of these people. Every creature you come up against in this game has a distinct personality with unique motivations, and figuring out what makes them tick is the key to victory. When it comes to the major players in the story, there is also the obvious fact that if you kill them, they don’t come back later. And that’s just sad.

Battles are an interesting affair. I did very little actual attacking (because only on very rare occasions it’s actually necessary in pacifist), but it’s very colorful. You have to hit the Z button when your slider thingy (technical term) is in the very center to get a good hit. Here, I’ll get you a screen shot:

Wow, attacking is colorful.

As a pacifist you’ll spend most of your time dodging attacks in between attempting to talk/ pet/ console/ joke with your opponent. Chances are you’ve seen a picture of that before – you are represented by a red heart in the middle of a box that you can move around, and the opponent sends white ‘attacks’ into your box, which you need to dodge or you take damage. These are as unique as the enemies themselves, which means that every new fight brings new challenges as you learn the attack patterns. Remember kids, pacifist DOES NOT EQUAL easy. Expect to die many a time against some of the bosses. Add to this the fact that since you aren’t killing anything, you never gain experience. So the 20 HP you start with, is also what you’ll end with.

Dodge those flexing arms!

Dodge those flexing arms!

Surprisingly, the thing that is my favorite thing about the game hasn’t even been mentioned yet in this review…I must be off my game. Well, let’s take care of that now. The best thing about Undertale in my opinion, is the soundtrack. HOLY SMOKES the soundtrack. It fits the game perfectly, and it’s enjoyable enough that when you get up from your computer for a minute to get a glass of water or a snack, you won’t get annoyed with hearing it continue in the background as you walk the 5 feet to the kitchen sink. There were several times I found myself dancing in my seat, and when Undyne finally confronts you and her battle music fires up – let’s just say my heart was pounding the whole time I fought her.

The End :-(

The End 🙁

There’s not much else I feel I can say here without spoiling the game. I’m not someone who cares much about spoilers, but this is one game I CAN NOT ALLOW to be spoiled for you if you’re going to go play it. I’ve had such mixed feelings since I finished it. Not about the game itself, because that was one of the best experiences I’ve had in a very long time with a game. But I’m sad that it’s over, and happy that I finished it…life is hard. For a story that seemed so simple, it had a much deeper impact on me than I would have ever given it credit for.

You can find Undertale on Steam for $9.99 by itself, or $17.99 as a combo with the soundtrack.


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Jen is a self-proclaimed supernerd who would happily debate such topics as the correct pronunciation of "gif" and the color of Hera's hair from Disney's Hercules. She's been gaming since age 3 and enjoys everything from RPG's to shooters.

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