There’s a variety of different titles about to hit the market this month, but with all of the controversy around various online storefronts and cosmetic microtransactions getting me down, I decided to return to, in my opinion, one of the most innovative and enjoyable games ever made. I’m talking, of course, about Toby Fox’s Undertale.
Now, I’m going to openly admit, much to my own shame, that I did judge Undertale before sitting down and playing it. A wide range of different reviews hailed the game as an indie darling, but I was sceptical. I looked at screenshots and scratched my head, surely this can’t be as good as people are saying?
Time passed and eventually the game came back into my focus, so I shrugged, downloaded a copy and halfheartedly started up.
I couldn’t have prepared myself for what was to come.
Undertale is more than just a game, it’s a journey, filled with interesting and vibrant characters, fantastic world building and a soundtrack that could quite possibly be one of the best of all time.
Toby Fox goes above and beyond to subvert opinions and traditional norms when it comes to gaming, breaking down barriers between conventional devices and going a step further. You’re not playing this, it’s playing you.
You are your named protagonist and every interaction with the characters will not only change aspects of the game, but will also stick with you.
Now, people who know me are aware that I jump at the chance to be boring. I love the idea of talking down a bad guy rather than shooting him. I want to be the charismatic hero who can move people and sway them towards the light. Forget a gun fight, I want to have a debate. I want to see WHY these antagonists have chosen the path they have and whether there’s any hope to save them.
Undertale understands that.
Now, don’t get me wrong, you can use the violent approach, but I have to tell you, if you’re new to the game, trying to look at combat in a different light can lead to some of the most fulfilling and satisfying conclusions that I’ve ever had the joy to experience in a game.
Encouraging multiple playthroughs via interesting hooks and hints, the game not only draws you in, but holds you there as it lets you define and shape the world around you.
Also, I have to take a moment to reiterate my earlier point. The music from this game, all composed by Toby Fox himself, is not only beautiful and apt to each scene, but also haunting.
Fox captures the mood perfectly, from humorous asides to deep reveals through the tone of each piece, each being different in tone and composition from the last. The variation is something to be praised, with each track evolving and changing as the game progresses.
The song that accompanies the depressed and sweet ghost, Napstablook, known as ‘Ghost Fight’, for example, starts as a deeper toned, jaunty theme to company the comic nature of the character, but as the game progresses we’re shown a variety of remixed and revised versions to go alongside new foes, each revision highlighting a little about the characters personality and traits. It’s a wonderful thing to hear and something to be cherished and savoured.
With a fantastic soundtrack, wonderful characters and a intriguing and twisting plot filled with secrets and little details, Undertale is a breath of fresh air amongst stale releases and negative game mechanics.
So if you’re feeling down in the dumps, don’t have the money for some of the big budget releases right now or if you’re still hesitant about jumping in, I’d say do it. I promise you’ll thank me later.