Every year there always seem to be a breakout hit from the indie side of gaming, And this year, it's no different with Undertale. More to the point Undertale is also a Kickstarter success story, proving the value of the service while also being a great commentary on fandoms and traditional RPGs.

Undertale begins with a story about a legend where humans and monsters once had a war, with the monsters being banished to the underground. Apparently some time afterwards a human child went through the barrier and never came back. Years later, another human also fell through to the Underground. This is your character: Frisk.

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Frisk is androgynous in appearance to let the player identify with them regardless of gender, despite the fact that they're a silent protagonist with no dialog of their own. However it still works decently to endear players. Frisk has to make their way through the ruins and get back to the barrier, passing through it to get home. There are two ways to go about doing this.

Undertale has random encounters, and once battle starts you have a few options available to you. You can either kill everything standing in your way, or interact with them in order to spare them. Being a pacifist is much more preferable to killing everything, and I personally recommend that route first. It's much more rewarding, and the game will have the opportunity to warm your heart and make you laugh with its humor. There's quite a few references to other things in the game like Final Fantasy VI, Earthbound, and even internet memes that you would ever expect to show up.

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The actual gameplay for battles though is setup up like like a bullet hell game once the enemy attack phase starts. Thankfully it's never too difficult, even though the game might have benefitted from a difficulty setting. At least the game is scaled depending on whether you go pacifist or genocidal. The genocidal run is, of course, inherently more difficult.

Undertale also has a terrific soundtrack that compliments its rather simple but well-done visual style. The story does play with the idea that perhaps fandoms sometimes should stop obsessing over a piece of media and let it go after a while. Even if you could ignore that part, there's still the message about turning the traditional RPG mold on its head by having the option to not fight. If you go Pacifist, you'll get silly opportunities to date skeletons and listen to ghost music. It's a terrific time and the $10 USD price tag is well worth it.

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VERDICT:

The Good – The game's difficulty is scaled for the Pacifist route, so it's not as difficult as it would seem.
The Bad – There isn't a physical soundtrack.
The Ugly – The game will sometimes punch you in the gut with its story.

SUMMARY: Undertale is a terrific RPG that's an excellent and heartwarming commentary on traditional RPGs, and also of fandoms that get too attached to a work of media.

FINAL GRADE:

Review code provided by Tobyfox

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