Undertale

Undertale

Photo Courtesy of steamed.kotaku.com

Stephanie Tombolini, Staff Writer

Game Title: Undertale

Developers: Toby Fox

Genre: RPG

Price Average: $9.99

Platform(s): Windows, Mac OS

General Overview:

What better time to talk about monsters and skeletons than when Halloween is already over. Just kidding, this game isn’t seasonal! This indie game was made by a small development group, the lead developer being Toby ‘Radiation’ Fox. He is previously known for his sound work in creating tracks contributing to other titles like Earthbound tributes, Homestuck, and “The Halloween Hack” for Earthbound. This recent game was created on September 15 of 2015 and has been given overwhelming positive reviews on places like Steam and Metacritic.

 

 

Review:

Graphics+Sound: This game consists of mainly pixel art animation, such as sprites that were beautifully crafted by the artists of the team. Color pallets and the complexity of the art found throughout the game is absolutely stunning. The boards match colors and visual appeal with the overall atmosphere of the story in that moment. However, the quality of the audio in a game like this, without superior distracting graphics or gameplay to compensate for a poor set of tracks, would make or break the experience. Due to Fox’s experience in sound, this game was definitely MADE. Undertale’s soundtrack is a huge contributor to its popularity. The music consists of 8-bit melodies, the occasional piano/acoustic cover, and other computer-generated sound effects to give the feeling of a mix between retro and modern games. Music is integrated in the overall gameplay. Tunes are forced to be able to maintain the same replayability as it was when you first heard it.

 

Gameplay:

  • Controls: This game has a simple handle on controls! Up, down, left, right and Z/Shift, with the menu button being ctrl. The controls are tight and responsive. If you think otherwise you probably need a new keyboard.

 

  • Mechanics (+delivery): This game is very interesting in its way of gameplay. Unlike most RPGs where merely selecting an attack or action will allow you to proceed to the next round in an engagement, this game creates intervals between your turns in a mini-shmup (shoot ‘em up) fashion. This way, you can actually evade enemy attack, rather than damage depending on chance like in many standard turn-based fighting games. Your heart  (cursor) will be forced to dodge incoming projectiles which are unique to the individual NPC you interact with. As for the fighting element in this game, it is a timed event where you must hit the moving marker in the center of the screen as it scrolls past; an element used popularly in games like early sport simulators.
    • An interesting aspect to note about the game is that you do not have to kill or fight enemies, and rather can engage NPCs by using diplomatic (and humourous) tactics by use of the ACT selection. Using this selection for random encounters and boss battles adds more depth to the characterization. It’s a wonderful experience which I, personally, recommend you use on your first run all the time.

 

Story: The overall mood of this game is very satirical and humorous. It is based around whimsical, nonsensical shenanigans, while also being mixed with some serious tones to give it credibility. Also, this game is very linear in the sense that side quests are close to nonexistent in this game.  This game has several endings. Everything you do in the game will be judged and determine your closure. This includes killing/sparing and acting rudely/kindly to all NPCs. Even if you reset the game’s progress or quit without saving, dialogue WILL be changed as a way of the game telling you that it remembers what you did. There are three categories of endings: pacifist, neutral, and genocide (no-mercy). These categories have various endings too, and only one will give you the true, real conclusion to the game. Due to the game being relatively short and linear, the game makes up for its playtime by encouraging the player to play again in a different way to produce different dialogue from characters, obtain exclusive scenes in the game, and dig out more of its hidden lore.