“It’s exactly my sort of game”
Finally boarding the Unde rtale hype train
When Undertale came out back in 2015, so many people told me that I would love it and that it was EXACTLY my kind of game that I lost all desire to even boot it up. Partly that’s because of a contrarian “I will not be pigeonholed” streak. But it’s also because sometimes, when so many people are talking about a game, it’s hard to simply play it and enjoy it. One advantage of waiting is that if I’m not playing a game, potential spoilers wash over me—if the names and places have no meaning I’ll usually forget them by the time I actually get around to playing it. I also don’t read articles about a game I’m waiting to play (unless I’m editing them). That urge only sets in once I have my own opinions, and I’m looking to either challenge them or see how other people reacted.
And so I finally installed Undertale, spoiler-free and genuinely curious. I’m mildly annoyed to discover that I love it so far, and it’s exactly my sort of game.
Right now I think I’m about a third of the way through, and the biggest surprise was how much humor there is to revel in. When people recommend me games, they tend to pick out walking simulators or arty projects. While I find games in both genres interesting, those recommendations tend to be both very hit and miss, and very much from the serious end of the spectrum.
Undertale, though, has great comic timing and some wonderful characters. It also seems to have a real understanding of how the player will react to particular moments. One example involved text on a signpost. I pressed Z to read what it said, closed it, and moved on. Those kinds of key presses are quick, with the words only registering after you’ve closed the text and started to walk away.
Undertale exploits this by putting something unexpected on one of those signs. When you reopen the text, instead of allowing you to confirm the message it tells you, “Yes, you read that correctly”. It’s a tiny touch, but helps explain why I love Undertale. It can anticipate players and, if it does—if you and the devs are on the same page—it nudges the mood from detached comedy to more intimate friendly banter.
A puzzle carpet has excellent comic timing.