Okay, so today’s review is on the Switch version of Undertale. I had heard of the game for some time, and despite its connection to Earthbound (a personal favorite of mine), I never got around to playing the game. Maybe I’m not much of a PC game player, but with it on as many platforms as it is now, including the Nintendo Switch, I no longer have an excuse. With my finishing the game recently, I can now cover what I think of this game.
Now, there are only two things you need to know about the game before you play it. First, play the game without knowing anything about it. The moments it throws at you have the greatest impact if they manage to surprise you. As such, this review will have no spoilers whatsoever, and I will only describe the game in very broad strokes.
The second thing you need to know about Undertale is that it is an RPG where your choices have an impact. You can be good or evil and it will influence the game in some way. I won’t tell you how these choices affect the game, but it is a good idea to keep this in mind as you play or replay the game.
Undertale has fantastic writing, especially for a video game. Not only does the story have a wide range of emotions (including humor, heartbreak, anxiety, love, and horror), but unlike many games that attempt these feelings, you will feel every one of them. The game also plays with common video game tropes and expectations, often changing them or doing the opposite of what they usually are, thus keeping the player on their toes, in a good way.
In all honesty, there is little else that needs to be said about Undertale without spoiling what it has to offer. I can’t recommend the game enough. There are just too many things this game gets right. The morality system very closely resembles what people adhere to in real life, and the consequences are incredibly believable. Most impressive is that this is a game that has a message, and doesn’t ruin the game play portions when it tries to deliver it. In fact, this message is integrated into the game play seamlessly, something that rarely happens in games. Often, video games separate story and game play, including RPGs (which is odd, as they are they are the most story heavy, much of the time), and it is refreshing to see both aspects mesh together so incredibly well.
Now there are some quick notes about the Switch version. The only change I know about is there is one additional encounter hidden in this version, though it is optional. The Switch’s portability options make playing Undertale very manageable, especially if there is a moment or two that is very frustrating or too emotional (depending on the path taken). The possibility of bite sized play sessions are ideal for this game, as well as being able to take it anywhere.
Here are some general play recommendations:
- Play how you like.
- If you need help to decide how good or evil you want to play this game, be certain to take the evilest path last.
- You also want to play the “true” (or pacifist) ending before going the evil route.
- Avoid all spoilers, at least until you have gotten to one ending. You may want to look up how to get the other endings, but you don’t want to see how they play out until you play those portions of this game.
Now for the Pros and Cons:
- Perfect writing that is incorporated into the game play.
- Music is both catchy and matches the current mood of the game.
- The morality of each decision matches that of real life actions.
- Some of the level designs are too simple (a possible con).
- Depending on the path you take, the difficulty curve can be very erratic (another possible con, though it may be intentional on the creator’s behalf).
- Graphics are only adequate, but still have a lot of personality (possible con).
So time for the verdict:
9.5/10 An excellent example of a morality system in a video game!
Unlike some games that are criticized for being “artsy” Undertale’s game elements are still fun, add to the intended message, and that message is crystal clear. This is a rare game where everything fits together, and creates something that is stronger than the sum of its parts.
So that is what I made of Undertale. As you can see, I am an instant fan, and I would encourage others to try it out. So now I have to ask my readers, did you play Undertale? How much did you enjoy it? Can you tell me why, without giving any spoilers to my other readers? Would you like for me to cover other aspects of this game in other articles? Let me know in the comments below!