Developer: Toby Fox
Engine: Gamemaker: Studio
Release Date: 15 September 2015
Undertale is a role playing video game created on Gamemaker: Studio, the same engine I am using for my game. It uses a birds-eye or top-down perspective, which gives a nice depth to the game and plays a big part in the puzzles throughout the game. Despite having relatively simple style and game play, this makes it easily accessible and puts more value on the story line.
You play a child who has fallen through into the realm of monsters, separated from the human world by a magic barrier created to banish the monsters to the underworld after war broke out between them. She is saved from the seemingly harmless Flowey; who teaches the basic controls for the game before turning on the human, by Toriel. Toriel is kind and wishes to look after the human child. She is a very nice mother character who fusses over the child, being a typical mum. These interactions between you and Toriel show the basic style of interaction between you and the rest of the characters. When talking to the various characters throughout the game, they tell you how they feel and have very different, eccentric ways of talking. This creates empathy for these different characters through their strange ways of showing kindness to a strange human child.
The characters also have their own ongoing stories. Especially the skeleton brothers Papyrus and Sans and the tentative love between Undyne and Alphys. This adds to the feeling of really falling through into a different world.
The developer Toby Fox also composed the soundtrack entirely by himself. Its perfect nostalgia music, reminiscent of metroid and other early 2D pixel game. The music perfectly highlights the games qualities.
The graphics are simple and a bit dull at times. This is made up for by the little additional stories and weird items or characters along the way, like the “helpful bird that flies you across a small gap that didn’t need to be there” and the helpful history lessons told through the echo flowers and the tablets on the wall. The colour palette is dark and moody, perfect for the underground ( unless you meet Mettaton).
This is not a challenging game to play, which it could have been. The boss battles are hard but not impossible. I guess the key phrase “how you play” is the important part. The battle were fought in a separate screen, showing a heart that you control that symbolizes your soul. You then have to dodge within the separate screen various projectiles thrown at you by your “enemies”. This is fun, simple and each enemy has their own unique attack, so its fun to learn how they will attack you and figure out how to beat them.
The most important feature of these battles is that you can talk to your enemies (sometimes) and that you can spare them. I largely ignored this feature until about halfway through the game, which is interesting. I didn’t even consider not killing the monsters.
There are multiple stores that you can buy from with strange store owners like the “Nice cream guy” who just can’t figure out where a good place to sell ice-cream is.
As soon as I realised I didn’t have to kill anyone if I didn’t want to I wanted to go back to the start as soon as I could. The replay value of this game is good, you could play it differently every time. For example, you could decide not to be friends with Papyrus, but I mean, who would be mean to Papyrus? Or you could keep the Dogi alive and play fetch!
I would love to play this again. I love that there is emphasis on the relationships between the characters and the friendship you can create. The story and gameplay is fun and easy to enjoy. It’s pretty wholesome for a game about monsters and a lost child.
Wholesome Rating: The wind is howling. You’re filled with determination… 10/10