‘Undertale’ review: 16-bit RPG is actually a test of your moral character

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By YP reader Ian Mak Yui-him

The choices you make will come back to haunt you in this innovative indie title for the Nintendo Switch, PS4 and PC

By YP reader Ian Mak Yui-him |
Published: 
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Undertale is a role-playing game with retro graphics and a unique morality system that lets players decide whether to kill all the enemies, or opt for a pacifist run.

The player controls Frisk, a child who has fallen in the Underground, an area below the surface of the Earth. He must escape the different regions (including the Ruins, Snowdin, Waterfall and Hotland), while attempting to escape to the surface by shattering the barrier that exists between the two zones. Along the way, Frisk encounters a range of monsters and has to solve different puzzles to proceed.

Undertale also features an amazing soundtrack, and breathtaking, pixel-art graphics which are reminiscent of old-school games like Super Mario (although some critics said the 16-bit graphics felt dated). There are also plenty of hilarious moments in the plot, unlike most games which take themselves so seriously.

Undertale has a unique combat menu. When you see a monster, you have different options on how to resolve the encounter. The “Fight” option is the most aggressive approach, and you can do more damage if you time your attacks correctly with the sliding bar mechanism.

The “Act” menu lets you perform certain actions on a monster, such as checking its statistics. The “Item” menu lets you choose a restorative item to use or give a special gift to try to befriend them, while the “Mercy” menu lets you spare a monster if its health is low, or attempt to flee the fight.

After you have made a choice, the monster will attack in a mini-game where you will have to dodge projectiles a la retro bullet-hell arcade games like Space Invaders.

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Another exciting aspect of Undertale is its multiple endings, depending on what you do. For example, killing no monsters and befriending them results in a pacifist ending; killing all available monsters everywhere triggers a genocide ending and permanently alters certain details of other endings. Killing some but not all monsters triggers a variety of different neutral endings.

Overall, I think Undertale is worth buying; it’s reasonably priced, at only HK$75, and is available on different platforms. It is a must-play for those who love indie or RPG games.

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