By Mitch Sequeira
!!!DISCLAIMER!!! THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!
I already reviewed something that you might already know, now how about something you most likely DON’T know. A hidden gem, buried under a mountain of hate. This is a review of the game known as Undertale, created by Toby Fox.
Reviewing the story is kind of hard since the story throughout the game can change depending on what you do. So instead I’ll be rating the hidden lore.
Long ago, there were two races: Humans and monsters. One day, war broke out between the two races. After a long battle, the humans were victorious. They trapped the monsters underground with a magic seal at the top of Mt. Ebott.
Sometime after the battle, a child named Chara fell into the mountain. Injured by the fall, she cried out for help. Asriel, son of King Asgore and Queen Toriel, heard her call. He brought Chara back to the castle. Over time, Asriel and Chara became like siblings. The King and Queen treated the girl as their own. The underground was full of hope.
Then… one day… Chara became very ill. She had only one request: To see the flowers from her village. But there was nothing the monsters could do. The next day, she died. Asriel, wracked with grief, absorbed Chara’s soul, and transformed into a being with incredible power. With the human soul, Asriel crossed through barrier made to trap the monsters. He carried her into the sunset, back to the village of humans. Asriel reached the center of the village, and placed her body on a bed of golden flowers. The villagers saw him holding the body, and assumed he killed her. They attacked Asriel with everything they had, he was struck blow after blow. Asriel had the power to destroy them all, but he did not fight back. Clutching his sibling, Asriel smiled, and walked away.
Wounded, Asriel stumbled home. He entered the castle and collapsed, his dust spread across the garden. The kingdom fell into despair, the humans had once again taken everything from the monsters. Asgore and Toriel had lost two children in one night. The king decided enough was enough. He made a law stating that every human who falls, must DIE. With enough souls, the barrier can be shattered. Asgore migrated to a new castle, one by the barrier. His queen, filled with grief and disappointment, left him. She and her supporters stayed in the ruins of the old castle.
After six more children fell, everyone waited for a seventh. Asgore began to grow impatient and did not want to kill any more innocent children. He made his royal scientist, Alphys, experiment with a power, which human souls have, known as Determination. It was what allowed Asriel to cross the barrier when he fused his own soul with Chara’s. Alphys’ first experiment was the bed of golden flowers that Asriel’s dust was spread across. She injected determination into the first flower that bloomed after his death. At first it seemed like a failure, unknowingly to her, it did work… somewhat. Asriel’s conscience was in the flower, but his soul was not. Because of this, he lacked the concept of mercy and compassion, and became a physical embodiment of pure evil…
The lore is quite sad towards the end, but it is written decently. The story/hidden lore gets a 6/10.
The gameplay is your basic RPG game style. Overhead view, puzzles, exploration, random encounters, the usual. However, Undertale adds a uniqueness to formula. During an enemy encounter, you can either slay them, or give them mercy. This will somewhat change the ending.
Kill anyone, you get the neutral ending (on your first playthrough, you will get this ending no matter what). Kill no one, you get the pacifist ending. Kill everyone, you get the genocide ending (which is very hard to get). Do the genocide route THEN the pacifist route, and you get the true genocide ending.
The way combat works: Your soul (represented by a heart) is in a box, you move your soul to avoid attacks. If you are going for the pacifist route, you try to please your opponent to try to make their name yellow in the battle options. When their name turns yellow, you can spare them. If you are going for the neutral or genocide route, you use the fight button. (It is hard to explain, so finding how this works would be easier if you saw for yourself.)
The difficulty is just right throughout the entire game. You won’t experience any massive difficulty spikes, with a few exceptions. All three exceptions are boss battles, Photoshop Flowey, Undyne the Undying, and Sans. I won’t say anymore than that.
Overall, the gameplay is perfectly fine. It can be very fun if you’re looking to have a good time, and it can offer a challenge if you’re looking for one. The gameplay gets an 8/10.
The music is absolutely amazing (this may be a common opinion in my reviews). It fits the retro style of the game. Some of my favorites are “Bonetrousle”, “Waterfall”, “Another Medium”, “Spider Dance”, “CORE”, “Death by Glamour”, “Your Best Nightmare & Finale”, and the one and only “MEGALOVANIA.” There is not a single song I hate in the soundtrack. The music gets a 10/10.
The total is a 24/30. Undertale is quite the experience. This is because every little decision can change the entire game. What I would recommend doing first is the pacifist route. The version I recommend playing? The PC version. This version can have the sound easily modified, and a mod that colors in the battle sprites. However, there are incentives to get the other versions instead. PS4 has a new room and the Nintendo Switch version has a new boss. Both versions are available for digital and physical purchase. The Collector’s Edition has the physical game, the Official Soundtrack with a few extra songs, a story booklet, sheet music, and a heart locket music box. So if you have the money to spare, I say get the game. You won’t regret it.