Every once in a while, an indie video game comes along that defies expectations and creates a genre all its own. A game so good that there’s an entire culture that lives, breathes, and memes the songs and characters from the game (“Megalovania” anyone?). That game is UNDERTALE, and it’s an instant classic that deserves the bucket of fan and critical praise. Thank you, Toby Fox, for creating this magical gem!
For me, I’m upset that I slept six years before finally picking it up to play. After completing it UNDERTALE with a neutral run (one of the possible 93 endings), I can’t want to go back to befriend or possibly kill more monsters.
The moment I fell in love with UNDERTALE involved a monster named, Toriel. In the game, you have a choice. You can either kill the monsters or figure out ways to help them. After an hour of playing, I went head-to-head with Toriel, who was more of a mother-like friend than an enemy at this point in my journey. Yet, she demanded that I kill her. So, I reluctantly did. After killing her, I felt such disappointment in my choice that I immediately started the game again. Upon getting to the moment a second time, I let Toriel live, and a moment of serenity crept over me.
The choice mechanism, along with the ridiculously clever writing, is the magic of UNDERTALE. Hell, I never thought going on a date with a male skeleton that puts me in the friend zone could be so much fun. It takes what we’ve learned in gaming and flips it upside down. In every ZELDA, we kill the monster. We don’t date them. But who are these monsters? What if they had hopes and dreams just like humans? Who cares if their frightening exterior is hard on the eyes if, on the inside, they genuinely want to be kind.
What held me back from playing UNDERTALE all of these years was it looked like an EARTHBOUND RPG. For me, I’m not a big RPG fan. But, I got over myself after hearing how incredible this experience was and went for it. And UNDERTALE exceeded every expectation I had. Since completing the game, I’ve scoured the internet for speed run videos, commentary on its meaning, and most importantly, was the correct answer cinnamon or butterscotch?
UNDERTALE is available on most gaming platforms. I played it on the Nintendo Switch.