Undertale Review

Befriend monsters and explore new realms in Undertale.

July 14, 2016 by Morgan Shaver

Undertale from developer Toby Fox offers a unique take on the RPG genre, with an impressive story and unique gameplay elements. Players will assume the role of a small girl who stumbled into the Underground — a realm that’s home to various monsters and odd characters. Fox’s contribution to the RPG genre is an impressive one, with Fox developing the game independently (including the story and score), with the added help of a few artists.

Undertale is unique in that it gives you the option to play through the game in its entirety without ever having to battle an opponent. With several different approaches to interacting with the various creatures you encounter, Undertale is notable for its pacifist approach. Rather than dueling a monster into submission, you can pacify it before going on your merry way solving puzzles and journeying through the varied landscapes of the Underground.

Dialogue options are of the utmost importance in Undertale, with a variety of complex patterns required to subdue your enemy passively. However, you can still choose to fight things the old-fashioned way if you don’t have the patience or the desire to talk things out with your enemies. Over the course of the game, Undertale demonstrates why the option to communicate and befriend your opponents (thus understanding their personality and motivations), is often the best strategy.

The monsters suffer the fate of being imprisoned in this Monster World, and are dealing with their own internal conflicts. With a few deft dialogue selections, you can easily befriend these creatures and watch the once-hostile world before you slowly transform into something altogether different. Undertale effectively analyzes the RPG genre and spits it back as its own unique story, adding empathy and understanding to a game genre of blind combat and progression.

Furthermore, the monsters in Monster World are great at networking. One individual you befriend may turn out to be best buddies with a different monster, thus adding a chain reaction to your decisions. The game can be played out in stark contrasts, whether you’re acting to understand and connect yourself to the story’s monsters, or grow powerful and vanquish your foes with a few skillful shots. There is no right or wrong way to play Undertale, and you can choose to play through the game several different times in employing different methods in order to see how the story (and its respective ending) will change as you change with it.

Full of genuinely entertaining humor, a smooth RPG system, and fully fleshed-out characters, Undertale earns its place as one of the best RPG releases of the past few years. Even if you’re not a huge fan of RPG games in general, Undertale is an enjoyable experience that offers huge potential for replayability, and overall is quite a lot of fun. Whether you decide to talk it out, fight epic battles, or mix-and-match, Undertale is a game that shouldn’t be missed.

Buy Undertale on Steam!

For more game reviews here on Indie Obscura, be sure to check out our review of Vile Monarch's new RTS Crush Your Enemies, our review of Acid Nerve's Titan Souls, and our review of the unique dungeon crawler Darkest Dungeon!

Pros
  • Fantastic story
  • Unique gameplay with the option to befriend opponents
  • High replayability factor
Cons
  • Fighting/communicating can sometimes be a tedious process