A game with soul: ‘Undertale’ provides unique battle dynamic

By Chris Mudd, Contributing Writer

“Undertale” from developer Toby Fox is the latest Indie powerhouse, and rightfully so due to the remarkable amount of heart the developers poured into the game.

Generations ago, the world was ruled by humans and monsters alike. Inevitably the two came into conflict, and the monsters were condemned deep underground and sealed by a powerful spell. As the game began, a young child slipped and fell into the world below and had to work his way back to the surface.

Along the journey, the child encountered some of the most entertaining and riveting characters in recent video game history from a terrifying, pure-evil daisy to an enigmatic and heroic skeleton with no idea how ridiculous he sounded. “Undertale” had some of the best dialogue I’ve ever heard and is without a doubt the funniest game I’ve played to date.

The game felt like a somewhat spiritual successor to old role-playing games akin to “Earthbound,” especially in the art style. Where they differ is the unique combat system employed by “Undertale.”

During each battle players were given options beyond simply attacking the enemy—they could engage with enemies in conversation and attempt to talk them down. Of course that occasionally backfired and increased the opponent’s damage, but some of the best moments in the game came from just trying to understand the enemy’s motivations.

Of course, showing mercy to enemies will yield players no experience points at the end of the battle. So if a player wishes to become stronger for future bosses, they are forced to kill. There’s an interesting philosophical dilemma with nearly every engagement, which helps with the game’s overall character and depth.

Also, the soundtrack is absolutely insane. A collaboration between chiptune and real instruments harkens back to the older age of video games while still grounding it to today.

The only problem with “Undertale” is how short it is. It’s a six-hour adventure, but considering the $10 asking price, it’s a steal. I would gladly pay $30 or more for a game of this quality, even considering the length.

“Undertale” is a game for everyone. It is a culmination of every comedic RPG that’s come out to this point and sets the new standard for comedy and heart in a video game.