By: Ashley Quirke
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have definitely heard of Undertale, the indie smash hit created by Toby Fox and released in September of 2015. In this game, the player is placed in the role of a child that has fallen into the underground. As the player navigates their way through the game, they meet with plenty of different characters that they can either help or kill. Undertale is pretty special game in that there are multiple endings, and your actions in previous playthroughs will affect what happens in other playthroughs. In a true pacifist run, the player doesn’t kill ANYONE. Not even random encounter monsters. In a genocide run, the player character kills literally everyone they possibly can. A neutral run involves a little bit of both. Each run gives you a different ending depending on the choices you made, and the lives you saved…or ended.
Speaking of the lives in this game, the characters the player encounters are all really unique and very well done. You never really know what to expect from them. Even the random encounter monsters! Throughout the game, I really came to care about each and every character I met. I certainly don’t think I could ever do a genocide run. The more I played, the more committed I became to seeing these characters through their trials, and trying to get them their happy ending. I am warning you, parts of this game even moved me to tears. The story, the characters, it’s all just so well done.
Something else worth noting? The soundtrack is AMAZING. I seriously cannot recommend it enough. It’s worth the extra few dollars in the Steam store to pick up the game along with the soundtrack. These songs will get stuck in your head for days, but not in a bad way. Each main character that you encounter gets their own theme song that suits them perfectly.
I’m going to talk about combat for a bit, because this game has a combat system unlike any I’ve ever seen before. The player character has four basic options during their turn in battle; Fight, Act, Item and Mercy. Instead of the usual turn-based fighting mechanics (select an action and go) attacking is done using a slider a bar. You have to try to line the bar up in the middle to perform an effective attack. As seen below:
The Act menu gives you all kinds of non-violent options to choose from. Each new enemy presents a new Act menu. It’s worth messing around in the random encounters to see what kind of stuff you can do. The outcomes of these actions can be pretty funny.
The Item menu lets you use an item. Pretty straight forward. And the Mercy button allows you to Spare or Flee. Sparing means you can refuse to fight. Sometimes this works and the fight ends. Other times there are actions you might have to take, or something else you need to do before you can spare an enemy.
Because of the different endings, the game has a lot of replay value. There are many different secrets to discover and choices to explore. Just be careful of what choices you make. You might end up having a bad time.