Having played the Mother series, it was different to any other RPG out there to me and it remains one of my favourite game series of all time. So what happens when you’re introduced to a series that is funny, silly and can throw away that silliness to give you nightmares? You’re recommended a game that should be for someone like me, someone who may like a game that looks like it was inspired by Earthbound…well kind of. This is a game where my friend kept telling me about it and that I should get it, to the point where he even brought me it, thanks friend. Undertale, developed and published by tobyfox…albeit one guy called Toby Fox and was released in 15th September 2015.
Many years ago, humans and monsters lived together in peace, but then a war broke out in which the humans became victorious and sealed the monsters underground, though the only entrance is in a mountain. Many years later, a human child with an ambiguous gender (It’s up to you), falls into that very mountain and ends up in the monster world, where he first meets a talking flower called Flowey…and he is creepy as hell. But then we meet a lovely goat lady called Toriel who takes care of us in. The child eventually explores the world and meets other monsters. And this is where the gameplay comes into place.
We have an RPG with a difference…or not. You see, there are two types of gameplay runs: the Pacifist Run and the Genocide Run. I played the Pacifist Run, where despite going into battle against monsters, you aren’t supposed to kill any of the enemies. In the battle, you play as a heart, representing your soul and you must avoid attacks from the monsters which is similar to bullet hell games so you’ve grabbed the Japanese audience right away.
If you’re playing the Pacifist Run, you can select the Act option to perform actions that don’t hurt a monster and some acts are chosen based on the complex personalities of the monsters. Should you respond to the monster correctly, you can spare them, which gives you gold but no XP. But if you chose the Genocide Run, you’ll just kill monsters. Though whatever you choose, it will change the story based on the dialogue from monsters and whatnot. And remember, BUY FOOD. LOTS OF IT, you will need them, it will get difficult.
This takes some conventions of the RPG genre and flips it upside its head, and it makes the game all the more original. Remember selling goods when you don’t need it anymore? Guess what? In this game, nobody wants to buy anything from you, that’s so funny and caught me off guard, that’s brilliant, though I wish there was more of that in the game. Some of the boss battles are very unconventional, where you have to get one boss to not kill the monster as normal…only to date said boss afterwards. Or another boss who dreams of having their own TV show or channel I think, but it still wants to kill you. It’s full of humour but for me it’s a bit dry but there are a lot of people who will like it. Whenever I talk to Sans, I just love it, he makes puns and the puns are full of cringe but it’s funny because the game is kind of self-aware about it. But the humor overall works…sometimes, but not as smart as the Mother game’s humor.
I’m going to talk about the graphics and level design last since I have something to say. The music is just so good, one of the best parts of the game, it takes many genres and chip-tune some of them, though adds some flavour to it, top notch stuff. The gameplay is very simple, even simpler than Mother, which was made for people who are introduced to RPGs, though it does get difficult later in the game and especially if you played the Pacifist Run, you don’t level up.
Now for the graphics and level design…it’s not for everybody, it really isn’t for everybody. For me, it’s a mixed bag, there’s some unique looking characters which I love, but I think it’s the world, it’s a little messy and is all over the place, and I can understand since it’s the monster world and the monster world can be whatever you want but I feel that the graphics don’t do it any favours, but there are level designs that I do like, they’re just not memorable.
Now, to talk about the most important similarity to Earthbound (Kind of). When Earthbound was released, people found it so odd and too different to where little to nobody brought it and the critics hated it because of the graphics and all sorts, it was unique and…well…unloved for a while. Undertale, some gamers hate it because it’s different, the difference is it’s been considered the best game of the year, beloved by many people, but supposedly a lot of “experienced gamers”…hate it. That and that SJW BS.
Because, there are gay relationships, characters whose genders remain ambiguous and you’re able to fight without…fighting at all. So I hope the people that hate on it are just the minority, I think the people who hated it NEVER played it. Please keep in mind, I’m not an SJW, I would buy that Dead or Alive game just to annoy them, but it’s £40 so I won’t get it. But I can agree that it is overrated in a way but if you love it, then I won’t judge, it’s for certain people to love, the only way to figure out if it’s good is to play it.
Overall, I played it, I experienced it and…I don’t hate it, at all, but I don’t love it and I really wanted to love it. So in Steam, I choose between Undertale and Team Fortress 2, 8 times out of 10 I pick Team Fortress 2, I was always disinterested in Undertale, but when I eventually played it, I spend a lot of time with it. With Earthbound, I complete a chapter every day, I always looked forward to playing that game, and I would always look forward to what I’m going to journey through next.
I didn’t get that feeling from Undertale and I think because it’s different, it flips gameplay around and…well Earthbound just did unconventional RPG better for me. I don’t mind taking a genre and do something new or unconventional with it, as long as it’s done right where everyone can be happy. I can accept the opinions of people who played it and not liking it and having good reasons for not liking it, even I don’t think it’s the best game ever, but it has its fans and I have no problem with that, it could be a new generation of gamers seeing different games in a new light. But hating it just for the sake of it is really pathetic. It’s ok, the game is ok, but it’s not THE DEFINITE BEST, Undertale is for some people, and I don’t think it was or ever will be for everyone. But play it anyway so at least the discussions can be at least interesting and you have a legitimate opinion.
With that said. Probably the most interesting part of the game was the ending in the Pacifist Mode; let’s just say that it will give Giygas a run for its money…almost. I also took a look at the Genocide Mode. Never have I been sad, frustrated and genuinely frightened…looking at a game, it’s quite unnerving. I just wish that this was a different game. Oh well, I’ll give points to the Genocide Run for at least giving me something of different emotions.
You can get it on the PC and Mac.