What is Undertale Is it fun

Undertale - Or: How a bunch of pixels captured my heart.

All students who like to cuddle up with a warm cup of cocoa in a thick blanket on the cold, dark evenings of winter, want to embark on an emotional journey and have already played through all the graphics-rich Tripple-A games this year 3 times, I can offer a little pearl that every long-established gamer should have played. Minimal graphics here means anything but minimal fun ... or, for one or the other, minimal tears.

Undertale is not a game that immediately strikes you because of its innovations or individual style. At first glance, it looks like one of the many retro role-playing games that are all the rage these days. It is pixelated, comes from an indie developer, uses chiptune music and comes up with a seemingly banal story that is told with pictures at the beginning: There was once a war between monsters and humans, at the end of which the monsters went underground ( therefore sub-valley) have been blocked. This has been sealed with a magical barrier and the monsters are still waiting for a chance to break through the barrier and take revenge on the humans.

So far, this story sounds like any other generic RPG story. And the main character is also a stereotype that is popular in the genre: You play a little human boy who falls underground through a hole in a mountain that has justly avoided and now wants to find his way back into his world. But as soon as the tutorial is over and the narration picks up speed, the work that India developer Toby Fox has put into character development, music and the colorful underground world becomes apparent. The different inhabitants of the world of Undertale are the real stars of the game. You will take them to your heart in a very short time and would like to make friends with them personally. I was especially taken with the skeleton brothers Papyrus and Sans.

But here comes the crux of the game. If you approach Undertale like a conventional RPG, you see the monsters of the underground as opponents, because you are used to it. So you defeat all opponents in the tutorial and try to level your character. So you work your way towards one of the possible bad endings, perhaps without noticing it immediately, and kill all the lovingly designed characters on your way, whereby the game takes on a much darker tone than if you choose the other way of playing.

Right at the beginning of the tutorial, you are always given the choice between attacking and interacting with the opponents. If, for example, one deals with the problems and needs of the monsters in conversation, a deadly outcome of the fight can be avoided. In this way, instead of becoming the dreaded monster slaughterer and confirming the human cliché, you can make friends with all monsters and finally free them from the captivity of the underground.

When I am just thinking about what is revolutionary, heartbreaking or just beautiful about Undertale, I realize that there is no way I can get it all in one article. You can find hidden jokes, references or references to other games everywhere, and the game's humor may only be matched by pearls like Portal. In fact, Undertale questions himself again and again later on and thus satirizes the concept of video game itself very skillfully, always maintaining a strong emotional bond between the player and the world, its inhabitants and the main character himself; may it be serious, playful, humorous or loving. In addition, you as a player will be addressed yourself from time to time and indirectly forced to question your gaming habits and actions without this looking too intentional.

As you can see, I've said a lot without really talking about the game in particular. On the one hand this comes from the abundance of outstanding game design and on the other hand from the fact that I don't want to reveal too much, because the game simply has to be experienced for oneself. With this masterpiece, which all in all offers an innovative combat system, lively characters and locations, extremely effective music, great and universal humor and a lot to think about, you as gamers (and people) of all kinds definitely can't go wrong.

Undertale is available on Steam. Buy it, you will not regret it. And in the end I'm sure to shed a tear or two. It is definitely my insider tip for “Game of the Year 2015”.

Author: Fynn Mollenhauer

All images are either screenshots or from Undertale website which is definitely worth a visit.

February 27, 2016