Undertale Review

Undertale has a combat system that's quite a bit different to your typical JRPG
  • Developer: tobyfox
  • Publisher: tobyfox
  • Release Date: 15 September 2015
  • Time played: 7 hours

For my birthday, my mates managed to pool some money together so that I could buy my own pressies. Of course, the only prudent thing to do when you've already got a "pile of shame" is to add MOAR GAMEZ to that pile! So, I decided to purchase the new King's Quest, Rebel Galaxy and, the game this review is about, Undertale (thanks guys!).

So why did I get Undertale? Mainly curiosity got the better of me. The game is one of the highest rated games on Steam with an "Overwhelmingly Positive" rating of 97% from over 40,000 reviews! However, when you look at the game, it's not exactly a big budget game - it's an indie game by effectively one man and a few other collaborators.

So why is this game so good? Is it really as good as the Steam community says it is?

What I like


Undertale has a touching yet, at the same time, hilarious story. It cam sometimes come off as a bit twee yet at other times, the story is quite moving. It takes what is best from some of the iconic fantasy films from the 80s such as Labyrinth, The Princess Bride and The NeverEnding Story and places it in a game that looks like your standard, retro JRPG. The game is a fantasy adventure that doesn’t take itself too seriously, often breaking the fourth wall, and even having characters that are probably inspired by Sesame Street (such as Sans and Papyrus which remind me of Bert and Ernie).

Hilarious and unconventional combat system

The conventional way to fight battles (if you could call it that) involves dodging bullets fired by the enemy, i.e. it's similar to "bullet-hell" games like Raiden to a degree. However, what you need to do in each combat mini-game is rarely ever the same. The game also encourages you to talk to monsters and avoid combat altogether (which I've rarely ever seen in a game before)!

High quality chiptune soundtrack

The developer of Undertale, Toby Fox, also happens to be the game's composer and the cynical ones amongst us might think the game was simply developed as a medium to showcase his music. Well, it's pretty damn good music as far as chiptune soundtracks go and it covers an eclectic range of styles.

Multiple endings and a customised epilogue

There are actually multiple endings to this game and the game's epilogue is also customised dependent on what actions you took in the game.

What I dislike

The ending

Okay, the game does have multiple endings, as I've mentioned, but the ending I received for the first time playing the game was a bit underwhelming. Yes, it was pretty choice how the epilogue was customised but when I researched further I discovered that like some Japanese visual novels, you can never get the "good" or "true" ending on your first playthrough - you must play the game again in order to do so! So basically, you have to grind through a game twice in order to get a satisfactory ending instead of a half-arsed one. I tried my best to not kill any monsters during my playthrough but found it nigh on impossible to avoid it in some cases, and it's not always obvious what you have to do in order to avoid killing monsters, even if you don't want to.

Bullet Hell

I'm really bad at bullet hell games, and when you don't have the option to resolve a confrontation in a peaceful manner, you're going to be dodging a helluva lot of bullets. It puts players like me between a rock and a hard place since I really want to resolve the confrontation peacefully for not only one reason (because I'm trying to roleplay a nice guy/girl) but two.


Just like many console games, you only can save the game at certain points in the game (and it's only one save game). You can't save whenever you feel like (which is usually the norm for PC games). Also, the game never bothers saving any of your configuration settings so each time you want to play the game fullscreen, you'll have to do so manually.

Steam goodies

There are no Steam Achievements and no ability to take screenshots.


You can’t bind keys and it's possible to sometimes become confused when navigating the interface.


I actually like the style to be honest but primitive 80s era graphics aren't for everyone: You’re either going to love the nostalgia or hate it.

Score – 7/10 (Good)

I thoroughly enjoyed most of Undertale as it incorporates many of the best qualities of fantasy films from the 80s along with a healthy dose of humour that often breaks the fourth wall. Its combat system is also quite a bit different to your typical JRPG where there's even the option to play nice with the monsters and hopefully seek a peaceful resolution to the conflict. However, the end-game truly disappointed me as I found myself unable to avoid having to play the "bullet hell" mini-games in order to progress and the ending itself is pretty underwhelming (unless you're willing to play the whole game again for a "good" or "true" ending).

Is the game worth $9.99 USD?: Yes. With the current exchange rate, that’s about $13 and just like a good book, it was hard to put Undertale down. Pity about the ending though.

If you like this game, you might like…

[ LINK: Undertale on Steam ]
[ LINK: Undertale on GOG ]