A Feeling Of Great Determination: An Undertale Review


Sang-Hee Park

For years, the gaming industry would only find success in big-name titles – huge corporations such as Nintendo had no problem making and selling popular games. Nowadays, however, the biggest cultural phenomenon seem to come from modest origins. Swedish developer Markus ‘Notch’ Persson’s small project Minecraft soon became a gaming phenomenon. Scott Cawthon, a family man in Houston, Texas, created the Five Nights at Freddy’s series that swept the internet off of its feet. Now, musical artist Toby Fox has created Undertale, an aesthetically minimalist RPG (role-playing game) that has seen an enormous boom in success. Metacritic gives the game a rating of 4.5/5, and Steam presents a perfect grade of 10/10. Indeed, it seems that Undertale is one of the most well-received titles of the year, perhaps even the decade. Is the hype deserved? Let’s play and see.

In the world of Undertale, two races known as Humans and Monsters had plunged into a devastating war. Since Humans are physically stronger, they had overpowered and trapped all Monsters in the Underground, a world beneath the great Mt. Ebott. An omnipotent barrier prevents any Monster from crossing. In the year 20XX, you play as a child who climbed the mountain and fell into the Underground. Here, you must traverse through various lands and make your way to the barrier to return to the human world.

After experiencing the game myself, I could quickly grasp why it received so much acclaim. For one, the seemingly simplistic art style and music became beautiful and quite memorable. Each environment (my favorite is the Waterfall area) had a distinct theme that perfectly captures the mood of the scenery, ranging from a blissful, snowy town to an intense, mechanical core. The character designs are wonderfully unique and every enemy you face off has personality.

In fact, the cast in Undertale are written excellently as well. The diversity astounds me even now; a non-binary, racially-ambiguous protagonist – a lesbian fish knight who is looked up to as hero – a flamboyant, pink-loving robot who still presents as male – a bisexual dinosaur doctor who struggles with her self-image and depression. Even though they are monsters, they are just as complex and dimensional as humans.

The most important element in Undertale, ultimately, is the power of choice. Unlike traditional RPGs, where you only make progress by fighting and killing, Undertale allows the player to have a gaming experience without killing anyone. The game actively alters the course of the story, rewarding or punishing you depending on your actions. Even the murder of one monster can have a drastic impact on the game’s complex, multi-layered endings.

Many claim that Undertale is the game of the year, and I strongly concur. The art is great, the soundtrack is fantastic, the story is gripping, the characters are iconic, and the gameplay is top-notch. Don’t spoil yourself by watching others play; Undertale costs $10 on Steam, and it’s well worth your money.

I would rate this:
10 Flowers Out Of 10

You should check this out if:
You’re a fan of old-school RPGs (or if you’re not! seriously, this game’s for everyone)
Click Here to see the Trailer!