Undertale Review: Some Stories Come From Deep Within
This is the story of Undertale. It rolls in first with a tale about two races, humans and monsters, and the war fought between them. The humans prevail, sealing the monsters beneath the earth with a magic spell. Many years later, atop a mountain, a young girl ventures up and falls into a dark cavern. Lost in the underground, our young protagonist has to search for her way out and home.
"Your adventure begins."
Our child protagonist is the silent kind, but this only serves to cement a personal involvement with the game. The world around her begins as being empty and bleak, and a first encounter serves as a minor tutorial to some of the basics. The first encounter however is a real twist that will make you go a little wide-eyed for a second or two.
"You're such a special little kid."
Thanks to this fellow, our heroine is taught about her heart - called her Soul - and how it can be directed within the box below. Moving her Soul becomes important in later stages of the game when combat occurs and introduces the player to a shooter-esque mechanic.
Whereas exploration is done with a third-person over-head view, combat is done in first-person. When enemy creatures attack, they fire projectiles into the box for our heroine to dodge with her Soul, and while dodging one creature's attack pattern might be easy, it can sometimes become a real bullet-time madness when two or three creatures attack at once.
"I said moving your soul is important, right?"
Our heroine in turn attacks with a different method. After choosing a target, a display will show and a reticle will sweep from either the left or right side of this display. The closer to the center this reticle lands, the greater damage our heroine inflicts to the target. It is simple, but it makes a step above the usual 'point and click'.
"No, it's not the Eye of Sauron, silly."
If the player however is feeling nice, then our heroine can use Mercy. Rather than defeating a monster for its experience and gold, one can use options keyed to each creature with the Act command and then provide Mercy in the form of "Spare" to let the creature go. Varying actions under the Act command can be a cheer, a joke, or a flirt. This becomes a major device to this game in that some paths or endings are determined by how many, if any, monsters you spare.
"The world of Undertale is both inviting and captivating with its retro feel."
There is really a lot going for this game, even if it is only a demo at this time. The music is moving, especially during one brief encounter and the culminating encounter at the end. The amount of work that has been put into the demo alone is hard for me to stress enough, as the multiple twists and endings will leave the player rechecking his or her own morality to see each conclusion and repercussions. The game is currently still under works by Toby Fox, but if you want a chance to get a play with the demo, check here.
Try out the demo, and visit Toby Fox's Tumblr and Twitter pages for more on this upcoming game.