You may have seen some Undertale fan art or cosplay around the web, since this little game has already taken parts of the geek community by storm. So even if you don't plan on playing, here are a few non-spoilery reasons I've learned it's so great:
- It's funny.
This is my #1 reason for why you *should* play Undertale, and my chief take-away from my time with it. Most video games suffer from clunky, over-long dialog and convoluted storylines. By contrast, Undertale keeps it relatively short, weird, and laugh-out-loud funny.
I'm a humor writer, so it takes a LOT to pry a laugh out of me, but Undertale's unexpected twists, groan-worthy puns, and gleeful sense of humor kept me chuckling through much of the journey.
I finished the whole game in 3 nights (at maybe 3 hours each), so Undertale doesn't require a huge time commitment. There's a lot of exploring, though, so you could easily spend more (or less) time in the game.
- It's almost completely non-violent
Almost every battle can be won without fighting, and let me tell you, the non-fighting options are the best part. You can flirt, pet, mimic, or compliment your opponents - often with hilarious results - and those options change with every new baddie you encounter.
This aspect can be a *little* frustrating, since the bad guys are still attacking you, and it takes trial-and-error to figure out which non-violent approach will work for each enemy. But hey, just because the game doesn't require killing doesn't mean it should be easy, right?
On the few occasions when you do have to fight, from what I can tell there is always a "mercy" option after you've knocked their HP down a ways. Be careful, though; I accidentally killed a character very early on, and that messes up the whole storyline and the "pacifist" ending. So try not to kill anyone.
Which reminds me: the mini-games inside the "fights" get surprisingly hard. On some of the boss encounters John and I took turns playing (and losing) over and over. So prepare to die a LOT. Heh.
- It's different.
And in the world of video games, that's huge. It's refreshing to see something this creative, and completely gratifying to watch so many fans embracing it.
The gaming industry as a whole WILL take note of these successes, so remember to vote for what you want to see in gaming with your wallets.
I'll end by saying if you don't choose the pacifist route through Undertale (even by accident, like me), then you're guaranteed to feel like crap by the ending. (If I'd known this at the time, I would have re-started the game immediately after I killed that character.) I won't go into details, suffice to say Undertale is a lovely, heart-felt game that makes you want to solve things peacefully, so by the time you get to the end, you really don't want to fight!
I have to believe this is intentional on the creators' part, and it's admirable, but that doesn't make the non-pacifist ending(s) any easier to swallow as a player. I FELT things, you guys. Unpleasant, singing Behind Blue Eyes to myself feelings.
So next time - since I strongly suspect there will BE a next time - I'll be sure to play much more carefully, and not kill anyone. :D
OK, guys, your turn: have you played Undertale? What'd you think? Share in the comments, but do try to keep it spoiler-free for everyone else, k?