Undertale caused a sensation when it arrived in late 2015. It’s the work of one American man, Toby Fox, who was inspired by Nintendo’s Mother and Mario games—as well as Mr. Bean.
This simple looking, but rather complex, RPG is heavily story driven. And also allows you to spare some of the creatures you enter into battle with, which is quite novel for a video game.
Many gamers have hailed it as a shining example of how video games should tell a story and it’s certainly way above the many AAA developers and their hamfisted attempts to run a narrative through cut scenes filled with godawful voice acting.
As a game, however, Undertale is also another indie gem and further proof we’re in a golden era of indie magic right now which we should all be celebrating. Indeed.
In Undertale, you control a human child who has plummeted into the Earth’s crust and must journey out of there.
Along the way, you come across some seriously antagonistic, fun, friendly, and weird individuals. Toriel is the first decent creature you come across – she’s sort a goat meets motherly human person – who offers advice and tries to protect you.
How you play the game directly impacts your progress as you can spare some of the creatures you come across, but this is really a story driven one so we don’t want to reveal too many spoilers about the plot.
It’s an impressive on, however, and it certainly is a fine example of how to deliver a video game story properly.
The game has been much celebrated and has created a rampaging level of fandom! Some gamers even hail Undertale as the best game ever.
It was certainly up for many Game of the Year awards in ’15, plus it shifted over a million copies as word of mouth spread about its excellence.
The quirky characters are really what help propel the game along, though, as seemingly everyone you meet is a depraved maniac in one way or another.
Everyone is hiding something, or has some bizarre trait you’ll discover, and it does get pretty creepy at times, although there’s a wisecracking skeleton you make friends with who provides a bit of comic relief with some awesome puns.
Fox wrote the narrative and was inspired by the abject stupidity of quite a lot of internet culture, but also had Mr. Bean as additional inspiration.
There’s about six hours of fun playing time here and you may well learn something about yourself after completing it – if that sounds mysterious but compelling well, hey ho, get on into Undertale! It’s fab.
Under the Sea
This thing launched on the PC first, but made its way to the PS4 in 2017 as well.
It’d be nice if it shifted over to the Nintendo Switch, too, as handheld mode would be awesome! Nintendo has really been putting its support behind indie developers over the years and, with the success of the Switch, it’d be grand to see it on there!
It’s a cheap one, too, being an indie game so if you want to try out a unique title, give it a go. NOW!
I stand by my assertion that Undertale is one of the most important works of the decade. It was a game that had good storytelling, but without having taken many (if any) cues from any other medium. As if to emphasize this, while many mainstream releases tried and failed to translate classic film moments into the medium, Undertale took inspiration from another video game, and it resulted in a stronger narrative because of it, not despite it. While the AAA industry took cues from Hollywood, this game followed its own path.
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Damn straight! I like the Mr. Bean inspiration as well, I wasn’t expecting that when I research how Mr. Fox made it. It’s an excellent piece of work – wonder how he’s going to follow it up? Quite the task!
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I wasn’t aware of that aspect. Then again, it was in early 2016 when I originally reviewed it, and I didn’t go into nearly as much detail as I do now. I have been entertaining the idea of rewriting that particular review. All I knew was that it was the triumph in storytelling the medium needed after several years of blindly, and largely ineffectually, following the Hollywood formula.
And you’re right; one could argue that Undertale is the single greatest debut game of all time. It would be quite a difficult act to follow indeed.
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