Undertale

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Undertale title art

Undertale (also written as UNDERTALE) is a role-playing video game made by Toby Fox, an independent artist.

In the game, players control a human child who has fallen into the Underground, a large and out-of-the-way place under the top of the Earth, separated from the rest of the world by a magic wall. The player meets many kinds of monsters as they try to return to the surface, mainly through the fighting system; the player takes turns selecting actions and avoiding attacks made of many bullets, and can choose to befriend or subdue monsters so that they won't get murdered. The player's choices change many things in the game, including how characters act, and what kind of story it is.

Fox developed almost the whole game by himself; he wrote the words and made the music by himself, and only used a few pieces of extra art given to him by other artists. The game was inspired by the Mother and Mario & Luigi role-playing series, the "bullet hell" shooter series Touhou Project, and the British comedy show Mr. Bean. Undertale was originally meant to be two hours long and released in mid-2014, but creating the game took over three years, making the campaign longer and not making the game available until much later.

The game was released on Steam for Microsoft Windows and OS X on September 15, 2015. When it was released, the game was praised for its writing, themes, easy-to-learn fighting system, music, and original ideas; with praise directed towards its story, dialogue, and characters. The game sold over a million copies, and was nominated for many honors and awards, including Game of the Year from many gaming news sources, winning others from conventions including South by Southwest.

Gameplay[change | change source]

Undertale is a role-playing game that shows everything from above.[1] In the game, players control a child and finish tasks in order to go forward in the story.[2] Players explore an underground world of towns and caves, and must solve many puzzles on the way.[2][3] The underground world is the home of monsters, many of whom fight the player;[3] players decide to murder, run away, subdue, or make friends with them.[2][4]

When players meet enemies in either scripted events or random encounters, they enter a battle mode. During battles, players control a small red heart which represents their soul, and must avoid attacks shot by the monster(s) in a way much like a bullet hell shooter.[2][3] Deeper into the game, new types of gameplay are shown; these include colored bullets which harm players only while they are moving, or only while they are staying still, and boss battles which change the way players control the heart.[5] Players can use the ATTACK option to attack, which involves timed button presses. Players can also use the ACT option to do many different actions actions, which are different from enemy to enemy.[2] Players can also use the ITEM option to eat food to heal, or to put on weapons or armor. Players can also use the MERCY option to spare enemies or flee away; monsters can be spared only if they have been beaten up enough to make them weak and unable to fight, or if they have been pleased by the right actions.[6] In order for some boss battles to be completed without involving murder, the player must survive until the character they are facing has finished their dialogue. The game has many story branches and endings depending on whether players choose to murder or spare their enemies; and as such, it is possible to clear the game without murdering a single enemy.[7] Players earn EXP and gold for kiling monsters. 

Monsters will talk with players during the battles, and the game will tell the players what the monster's feelings and actions are.[8] Enemy attacks change based on how players interact with them: if the player chooses non-violent options, enemy attacks are easy, but they become harder if players choose violent options.[3][8] The game uses many metafictional elements in both its gameplay and story.[9] When players play in a boss battle more than once, the dialogue will change depending on actions from the times they played the battle before.[10]

Characters[change | change source]

Character Role in game Route where fight occurs Description
Frisk Player character N/A
  • The protagonist of the game
  • Human who fell into the underground
  • Has the power of DETERMINATION, which allows them to become alive again after dying
Flowey Boss/Area boss Neutral (as Photoshop Flowey) / Pacifist (as Asriel)
  • Asriel "regenerated" as a flower
  • Believes it's "kill or be killed" due to his death previously when he was a pacifist
  • Has Determination (the substance, not the soul-associated power)
  • Has no soul so cannot feel positive emotion
Sans Area boss / Judge Genocide
  • Short skeleton who enjoys telling puns
  • Wears blue jacket and gym shorts
  • Has knowledge of the concept of timelines
  • Likes to drink ketchup
Papyrus Area Boss All routes
  • San's brother
  • Wants to be part of the Royal Guard
  • Friends with Undyne
  • Enjoys cooking spaghetti
Alphys Battle component only (during Asriel fight) Pacifist (as component)
  • Scientist
  • Tried to find a scientific way out of the Undergound
  • In love with Undyne
  • Built Metatton
  • Low confidence
  • Loves anime
Metatton Area Boss Genocide (as Metatton NEO) / Neutral and Pacifist(as Metatton and Metatton EX)
  • Robot built by Alphys
  • Originally human-killing but turned to TV stardom
  • Previously a ghost
Undyne Area Boss Genocide (as Undyne the Undying) / Neutral and Pacifist (as Undyne)
  • Head of the royal guard
  • Determined to kill the player until after she is fought
  • Friends with Alphys and Papyrus
  • Shows ability to generate the substance Determination, which allows her to persevere after death before melting
Napstablook Mini-boss Neutral and Pacifist
  • Metatton's cousin
  • Quiet and depressed
  • Informs the player that standard attacks cannot hurt ghosts
Asgore Area Boss Neutral / Pacifist
  • The King of Monsters and of the Underground
  • Toriel's ex-husband
  • Declared that all humans who fell into the Underground must be killed to obtain their souls (seven human souls will break the Barrier)
  • Doesn't actually want to kill the player, but is fated to fight them.
Toriel Area Boss All routes
  • Historical Queen of Monsters and of the Underground and Asgore's ex-wife
  • Motherly figure
  • Abandoned Asgore and moved to the Ruins after he declared any humans must die
Asriel Final Boss Pacifist
  • The son of Asgore and Toriel
  • Killed by humans on the surface after taking Chara's body up
  • Transforms from Flowey when he absorbs all human souls and monster souls
Chara Pseudo-boss Genocide
  • The very first fallen human, before Asgore's declaration
  • Made a plan to kill themselves so their soul could fuse with Asriel's, and kill the humans
  • Returns after the player has completed a Genocide run; they ask for the player's soul and takes it by force before deleting the world

Deltarune[change | change source]

In late October 2018, Toby fox hinted at the release of a new game called Deltarune, which was released on 31 October, on his Twitter page. This new game is set in a similar world to Undertale and is familiar to previous players of the Undertale. It follows the story of a human, a monster and a "darkner" to bring balance to the world.

Currently, only Chapter 1 has been released; Fox plans to create a development team and release the full game, with one ending only, when it is complete.

References[change | change source]

  1. "The RPS Advent Calendar, Dec 16th: Undertale". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. December 16, 2015. Archived from the original on December 26, 2015. Retrieved May 16, 2016.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Davis, Ben (September 24, 2015). "Review: Undertale". Destructoid. ModernMethod. Archived from the original on January 20, 2016. Retrieved January 21, 2016.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Hudson, Laura (September 24, 2015). "In Undertale, you can choose to kill monsters — or understand them". Boing Boing. Happy Mutants. Archived from the original on January 20, 2016. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  4. Smith, Adam (October 15, 2015). "Conversations With Myself: On Undertale's Universal Appeal". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Archived from the original on May 16, 2016. Retrieved May 16, 2016.
  5. Cobbett, Richard (September 21, 2015). "The RPG Scrollbars: Undertale". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Archived from the original on January 20, 2016. Retrieved October 31, 2015.
  6. Couture, Joel (September 22, 2015). "Guilt, Friendship, and Carrot Monsters — Undertale and the Consequences of Easy Violence". IndieGames.com. UBM TechWeb. Archived from the original on January 20, 2016. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  7. Farokhmanesh, Megan (July 7, 2013). "UnderTale combines classic RPG gameplay with a pacifist twist". Polygon. Vox Media. Archived from the original on September 26, 2015. Retrieved September 25, 2015.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Welhouse, Zach (October 8, 2015). "Undertale - Review". RPGamer. Archived from the original on January 20, 2016. Retrieved January 21, 2016.
  9. Muncy, Jack (January 18, 2016). "The Best New Videogames Are All About … Videogames". Wired. Condé Nast. Archived from the original on March 27, 2016. Retrieved January 18, 2016.
  10. Grayson, Nathan (September 28, 2015). "Players Still Haven't Figured Out All Of Undertale's Secrets". Kotaku. Gawker Media. Archived from the original on February 17, 2016. Retrieved February 17, 2016.