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Feeling Determined I can't believe I just did that. Damn you, Undertale! You made me break a vow I made for myself. What was that you ask? Well, I vowed to never, ever use fonts as bad as Comic Sans and Papyrus for anything I write! Unless I made a game like Undertale, I guess. Or if I made a review of it. I played it first at a friend’s house for both our first time, not just mine. We were thinking “Damn, one designer made this outstanding game, can we make something this good?” Heh, anything’s possible. If one of my indie games gathers this much of a cult following, crying tears of joy would be the least thing I’d do. So yeah, the next morning in my own home, I just started playing it again and I didn’t stop until I reached the end. So here’s my review for a game made by one very talented designer (And a couple of other people.) I’ll use the format I introduced in Persona 3, I felt like it allowed me to talk about specific parts of the game with more depth as a short version of articles I could on those key points, and believe me, I will consider writing separate threads on, for example how well Persona does character development or why the Metroid Prime trilogy succeeds as a 3D Metroid Vania so on and so forth, I’ll leave that in consideration. In the meantime, enjoy my review. To Save an Underworld Undertale’s tale (No pun intended) is based on your player character, a human kid (Boy? Girl?) known as “The Fallen Human” Basically what happens at the beginning is you obviously name your character, then you fall down the underworld and you get to meet Flowy, a flower (Duh) that actually attacks you and then Tories, your goat mother figure character comes in for the rescue, and then everything onwards becomes a tutorial level. Until you leave the ruins and finish the prologue, after that you get to go to explore the game’s world and meet a variety of different colorful characters. Pretty much every character in this game is great, they’re all fun to listen to and interact with. The game’s story is short in length, took me about 8 hours, though theoretically it should be like 10 since I explored the early game more in my friend’s house, but anyway, it’s one of those games that are short but sweet, length is hardly an issue here. Wide Appeal It’s controversial to say that Undertale is universally appealing because there’s never a 100% universal appeal in pretty much anything, one of my readers right now could hate drinking water, or breathing Oxygen, I don’t know. (Okay if you hate breathing Oxygen I actually need to have a word with you) But I digress. I find Undertale’s gameplay and narrative to have so many choices of how to play through it that it could potentially have a pretty wide appeal. First of all, I’ll explain how it works. Undertale is a game that’s a bit similar to Earthbound in style (I dunno how similar it is since I haven’t played Earthbound despite constantly being told to play it, I will one day.) The game’s combat system works like a JRPG, its combat is turn based and you have your basic actions. Attack, Special, Item and Escape. Except here it’s Fight, Act, Item and Mercy. Fight and Item are pretty much the same as with every JRPG. Act and Mercy are quite different, though. Mercy gives you two options, to spare an enemy’s life or flee from the battle yourself. Act gives you context based actions, most of the time it’s choices that can convince the other enemy not to fight, and you will thus be able to Spare. That goes back to the idea of this game, being able to be as merciful and as bloodthirsty as you can, and your choices will provide you with one of three different endings. The Neutral ending is the one I got, and it has many different variations on it, but this adds to the replayibility and I may go back to see the other two endings. But most importantly, it goes back to my idea that this game has a wide appeal, a lot of players love grinding and battling, the game has that. Some others don’t like grinding at all, you don’t have to do it to win. Well… you may have to grind sparing enemies for money so you can buy healing items but that won’t be necessary if you’re very good at the dodging minigame. But that’s not the only part of this game that makes it appealing, the fact that there’s choices that alter the narrative is an appealing idea to many players, myself included. Because some players play for the story, and the story is already good. The story itself has a lot of humorous and serious moments so that could be considered as one of the things that make this game appealing to a wide variety of players. A lot of stories are like that but I feel like Undertale does it very well, and it touches on themes like genocide and death. It also has a lot of great cultural references, two great characters in this game are based off the worst fonts ever! I just couldn’t praise Undertale enough for all of the great qualities it has as a game. Other Comments: There’s a lot of other great things this game has that I could talk about, the soundtrack composed by Toby Fox, this game’s designer is fantastic. The variety of the tunes is as impressive as the tunes themselves, almost every boss has a different music track, unlike most RPGs where there’s one or two boss tracks that are repeated until the final boss. There’s not much to say about the sound design, it’s retro but has a couple of notable sound effects and voices that would be impossible in an old game due to the restrictions those consoles had. There’s not much else I could talk about in this game without spoiling it, but I do have some major problems that may just be me but I really don’t like the lack of key bindings, I have a feeling that they were designed in this way because if they were more convenient they would be a bit easy, I guess? I don’t like using the arrow keys as much as I like the good old WASD, the fact that the other important buttons are Z (Or Enter) X (Or Shift) isn’t too convenient for me, either. Perhaps I would like it more with a controller, but no excuse for making the Keyboard controls like that, the alternate keys don’t fix much. I don’t hate the bullet hell minigame I thought there was a lot of variety put into it, but the controls made it frustrating. The game’s short but I’m glad I got to talk extensively about it, Final Verdict time. Final Verdict: Undertale is a special game, I didn’t expect much out of it but got plenty, and I wish I played it the moment it released because it was such a huge thing, it’s still big now. I think missing Undertale is to miss out, it’s easily one of the best games of the year, and a big contender for me. It’s unique, charming, witty and just overall awesome. It’s really hard to find many faults with it, even though the length’s short which is to be expected, it still feels just long enough. The journey is one I wouldn’t dare spoiling and if you haven’t played it already then you should now. Undertale is a game that’s different but similar, short but sweet. Augh! It’s so good, play it now! Final Score: LOVE/10 Huh?! Failed to compile the script? What do you mean strings are unacceptable? Fine! 9/10 What did you guys think about Undertale? I know it stirred up quite the discussion here in particular, I want to know why at least some of you guys found this game pretty special. I thought it was the best indie game this year next to Lovers In a Dangerous Spaceime. (Check that game out if you have a friend willing to play along.)