Undertale – An Exploration of the Soul

“Undertale” is a role-playing game that was released September 15, 2015. There have been a slew of retro-style games in the past couple years, and all of them have been very similar: the two major versions have been third-person shooters and games with a battle system in the style of “Final Fantasy.” This one is neither: it is a completely different and completely unique game.

Now you have two options. One: stop reading this review, follow this link, buy the game, and play it with absolutely no information. I promise you, you will not be disappointed. However, if you are not sold on word alone, go ahead and continue so that I can speak in vague and disjointed terms about one of the most fantastic games that has ever been created, and still leave you completely unprepared for one of the most remarkable and spectacular experiences you will ever have behind a screen.

The story

You are a human in a world of monsters. When you boot up the game, you hear retro-style music and see a text and picture cinematic describing the universe. It tells you that the world of Undertale is one in the modern era, but in this world, there were once humans and monsters (which can range from anything from a dog in armor to a ghost) living together in peace and harmony, but a great war began. This war claimed the lives of many on both sides, but the humans were victorious and forced the monsters underground, where their lives are difficult, but manageable. These monsters desire freedom, but cannot grasp it without certain conditions being met. I will say no more, especially not about the story of the actual game, because the way the story goes is entirely up to the decisions that you make.

The characters

I will say nothing here except that this game contains lovable and fantastic characters, well-rounded and developed, and that the game itself has a sense of humor that it displays through them.

The music

Where do I even begin? This game’s soundtrack is one of the best video game soundtracks I have heard in a long time. As I have said before, it is a retro-style video game, and the music is no different. It sounds like the classic 8-bit music that would be in older games, but it has so much more depth and emotion than one would expect. The battle music is catchy and exhilarating, and the emotional music is heart-wrenching. The story is phenomenal, and the music complements it greatly. Here is a link to listen to the intro track to the game on soundcloud! (note: the comments section of the sound file has language, so I have dsiabled it – if you click “Listen in Browser,” they will not show up).

Content summary

Just a brief warning about potentially objectionable content for Christian audiences: there is a pair of characters that are revealed to be homosexual during the course of the game, and the game does dance around the subject of sexuality with some of the other characters, as your gender is never specified. It also has occasional lanuage – I can recall that there was an h-, a d-, and a ba-, but nothing worse than this. The game does deal heavily with the concepts of death, and though there is no blood, the things that the player can accomplish can sometimes be very dark. It is, however, no matter how you play it, an introspective commentary on life and death and gaming as a whole,and will provide a massive amount of conversation material and Biblical application.

A word of warning

You are in control of this game. Your decisions will shape the outcome. Choose wisely when you decide whether to kill or to spare. This is not an ordinary RPG, though it may seem so at first. Choose wisely, and begin your adventure filled with determination.

Who knows where your journey will lead?