Monday, 14 December 2015
The story of Undertale starts with a war between monsters and humans that ends with a human victory. In the aftermath the humans sealed away the monsters under the earth except they left an opening to the underground in the top of a mountain. A small child who was wandering around falls into this gap in the seal and this is where the game begins, it is then up to you as the player to help this child find a way out.
The game is very linear but it makes up for it's lack of exploration with some really strong writing and characterization. While it's not perfect and sometimes relies on memes and other internet stupidity you will probably find yourself getting quite engrossed in the Underground and the game provides an interesting cast who you can actually become quite attached to.
Game play is a rather strange mix of RPG and bullet hell shooter. When you get into combat choosing the attack command will bring up a Mario RPG style timing thingy that dictates how much damage you do. When you get attacked the text box turns into a field where the enemy shoots bullets at you and you have to use the arrow keys to move a little heart around and not get hit. There are boss battles which mix up the combat a bit by locking your movement in certain ways and combat is actually quite infrequent so it never really has a chance to get stale. You can also win fights by talking your enemy down but in the one play through that I did I never bothered to try that method of winning a fight
The game isn't very long but this is probably due to the nature of the endings. There are a number of routes and ways you can play this game and doing each one yields a different ending. The ending that you get changes certain things about your next play through which gives the game some degree of replay value however at time of writing I've not gone past a single full play through. Other strong points for this title include a really strong soundtrack and some really well thought out set pieces that either punch you in the soul or make you laugh out loud.
If I had anything to complain about it would be the aforementioned internet meme references and the overly easy nature of all the puzzles. Every puzzle is obvious and unchallenging which in some moments is because the story calls for it but other times where I feel like I'm just being treated like a fucking moron. I've heard people complain about the graphics because it's all retro but there's nothing inherently bad with that. If I was to make a game I'd probably use pixel graphics because I can't draw anything else for shit and I think the game would have lost some of its charm if it looked any other way.
I've heard some people compare it to Earthbound but I'm not seeing it. There's a couple of nods to it here and there so you can tell the developer got some degree of inspiration but there's nods to other games in there like Final Fantasy 6 but I don't see anyone going crazy for that reference. To be brutally honest I was getting more of a Yumi Nikki vibe from the game, obviously totally different but something about the art style and atmosphere of the game gave me that feeling.
Either way, Undertale is a pretty good game that's worth checking out. Love it or hate it, it's hard to deny that that it's an interesting title that's worth at least a little bit of time and attention. It's inexpensive on Steam so if the idea of this game does interest you then it wont kill you to at least give it a go. I could easily see this game not being for everyone but for those willing to take a chance you're in for a good time.