Determined to impress.
This has been and continues to be one of the biggest years in gaming. It feels as though there’s a new high profile title dropping every other week, and there’s no shortage of juggernauts vying for the coveted title of “The Game of the Year.”
Amidst this avalanche of quality entertainment, it’s easy to overlook the little indie games that release without much fanfare.
This bodes doubly true for indie titles without a striking art style to make a great first impression.
“Undertale” is one such game.
On the surface, it looks like just another retro-styled RPG, but in truth, it’s one of the most unique and compelling games ever made.
Undertale is an RPG that emphasizes the use of non-violent methods to end battles. This is not to say that the game doesn’t allow you to simply kill everything along your way, but it manages to somehow both encourage and discourage the usage of brute force.
The narrative of the story and indeed, the world itself, shifts based on the player’s behavior and their penchant for violence.
While most RPGs would have the player make his/her game altering choices in elaborate dialogue choices, Undertale does so during its combat, as killing or sparing of any and all enemies becomes integral to how things ultimately play out.
The thought of a pacifist playthrough can seem daunting and somewhat boring considering the fact that you would never even level up once, but the unique combat mechanics of Undertale facilitate this play style quite well.
During the enemy’s turn, players are tasked with dodging a variety of projectiles while being confined to a limited space.
Even though it starts out simple enough, there were a myriad of creative encounters that added new mechanics to keep the combat encounters feel exciting all the way to the end.
The game also enjoyed breaking the fourth wall quite often in many ways, some of which gave me quite the surprise.
The characters casually mentioned my use of saving/loading, and the there were even instances where the game forcefully crashed itself for dramatic effect. These scenarios continued one after another, and I was kept on my toes trying to figure out what other tricks it might have up its sleeves.
The characters of Undertale are all charming and genuinely well conceived, helped by some of the funniest dialogue I’ve had the pleasure of reading in a video game.
The music is also quite exceptional, with memorable, somber tunes along with some insanely high-energy boss fight themes I’m sure to drop into my workout music folder.
It’s been years since I’ve started writing reviews for ZTGD but even after all this time, I’ve actually never given out a perfect score to any game.
There have been some that have come close, but in the end, I could always think of some notable flaw or a way the game could’ve been more enjoyable.
In the case of Undertale, I can’t think of one particular flaw or a way it could’ve been made more enjoyable. As is, it is as perfect as anything could be in this imperfect world of ours.
Fun Tidbit – After getting the neutral and true ending, I can’t bring myself to go for the genocide run where I have to kill everyone. I simply don’t have the heart to do it.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.