The game where you don't have to kill

Games & Gadgets

By Siddhant Kundu
  • Published 6.11.17

GAME: Undertale
GENRE: Role playing, Bullet Hell, turn-based, retro 
PLATFORMS: Windows, OSX, Linux, PS4, Xbox One 

This game was developed by Toby Fox, who worked on it for three years. The Kickstarter campaign for it raised over 10 times its original goal of $5,000 (the campaign ended at $51,124). Toby wanted to create a game that challenged some of the basic tenets of how players approach an RPG (role-playing game). It uses some of the core mechanics of games that players often take for granted, and turns them on their heads to create a compelling narrative with twists and turns. Temmie Chang helped with the artwork and has a character named after her.

The plot is introduced in the game's intro screen - humans and monsters lived together, war broke out, humans fought and defeated the monsters and imprisoned them in the Underground, a large subterranean region, with a magic barrier to prevent them from returning to the surface. Years later, a child falls into the Underground, and now you take control of this human to try to get her back to the surface, meeting some of the most interesting characters ever seen in an RPG.

The gameplay is a combination of a turn-based RPG and a top down bullet hell dodger. The game involves almost zero backtracking, in an extremely tight linear narrative with each action having consequences. With the multiple choices available at every stage, there are many ways to play the game, and thus multiple endings. The way the game is supposed to be played, however, will become painfully clear at the end of the first playthrough. And although the message is old, it does feel earned.

The game's harsh judgement of the player, along with the way it treats its characters, is refreshing. The musical score is probably one of the best ever, with each theme being both uniquely appropriate and a part of the larger whole. Since none of the characters have voices, this music sets up the atmosphere. The soundtrack's Steam page is Toby's wink to the people who download it. Yes. The humour runs deep with this one.

The game's graphics style is the only thing you can have a grouse with but that is personal preference. Some people may find them dated while others (like me) find them fitting.

VERDICT: It is a rewarding experience, irrespective of whether you're a video game fan or not. If the art style bothers you then this is not your type of game.


Super Mario Odyssey for Nintendo Switch?

• The latest in the Super Mario franchise, Odyssey manages to capture the love for each Kingdom. The decision to return to a sprawling playground proves masterful, as it once again allows the personalities of the worlds to shine.

• By allowing players the freedom to explore entire worlds to collect dozens of Power Moons - seriously, there can be over 70 to find in each of the Kingdoms - learning every inch of the terrain becomes a joy. There are, however, no directions or hints on how to find the moons, you just have to keep a keen eye out for them while you explore the worlds.

• Mario's cap now has two eyes, its own personality and is called Cappy. Mario uses Cappy as a standard throw attack, but the thing really shines when you throw it on select enemies or inanimate objects to possess their bodies and take them for a spin: you'll know the sucker is under Mario's spell once it has his signature silly moustache slapped on to its face.

VERDICT: Super Mario Odyssey is near-perfect.

Price: Rs 4,360 on eBay India