To Mother and Back — My Thoughts on Undertale

I should preface this with the following: If you haven’t played the game Undertale and want to remain spoiler free, do not read this post quite yet. Complete the game and come back here whenever you’re ready. Stay determined.

I should also point out right I’ve only completed this game once and only played one of the endings. To paraphrase a line from Sans, I chose love instead of LOVE. I don’t plan on restarting the game to see the other endings, though I may play it again to get the same ending. This is sort of a rarity for me as usual when a game presents itself with multiple endings, I’ll do my best to get each ending. This time though, I feel I got the ending that I needed. The ending that made me smile. It’s the ending that I would hope I’d do in my own life.

As I write this, I’ve got the soundtrack blaring in the background, purchased immediately after finishing the game. Music in a game usually impacts me more these days. I tend to pick out the retranados and motifs pretty quickly in the soundtracks. One of the highest honors that can be given to a game within my collection is the purchasing of the soundtrack. The music is probably one of the greatest things.

So I’ve taken a few days to compile my thoughts on the game. I’ve played single songs on loop and tried to figure out why it is this game has left as much of an impact on me as it has. I knew going in I’d like it. With it’s Mother inspired visuals and it’s twist on the JRPG formula, I know I’d like it on that alone. When I started the game and noticed the mercy option and the ability to do alternative things, I knew how I’d play this game. What I didn’t expect is how that effected me as a person and how I’d view Undertale as a transformative game.

Undertale is by far one of the most daring RPG games I’ve played in years. With its monster attacks doing a sort of SHMUP bullet hell mini game, it makes for a very challenging, but super rewarding game. Through this small portion, the game is constantly breaking its own rules in not only unique, but challenging ways. Take the blue attack while fighting Papyrus: Throughout the whole game, it teaches you not to move during a blue attack. So when Papyrus launches the attack, you stay still. When the heart turned blue and changed how you dodged the attacks, I laughed and got super excited. I would love each and every fight with an important monster. Personally, I think the most meta to the whole “bullet hell” concept was the final fight with Mettaton, though I think the most unique one was with Muffet. Something about that purple heart battle forcing on this sort of chord field just made for the most enjoyable match. That and the music was top notch. There were many times I wanted to join in with the spiders and clap along too. Also eat their donuts…mmm spider donuts.

So mechanically, the game already had me and this would be enough for me to pretty much pimp the game, tell my friends, and get everyone on the Undertale train. But by the end, I got so much more. As everyone, I completed a neutral run of the game first, having to be forced to fight Asgore. Kept trying to talk, trying to make him listen, but with the ability to not show mercy, I had to fight. Let me tell you: this was the most difficult choice I made throughout my time with Undertale. Each slash made me hurt. I was pretty sure I’d have to kill this guy after working so hard to just do everything peacefully. But then the game surprised me here with the broken mercy, giving me one final chance go for peace. I would then learn the true villain of the game and the next super crazy mechanic of the game: It was aware of the fact that I could SAVE the game, with the final nightmare breaking my save and doing a whole slew of crazy stuff. I loved the whole concept of the human souls coming to help me out and save me and the world. It was a glorious moment for sure.

Now that already was like a cherry on top of the Undertale sundae. I was already in love with the game way more than I should have been. But then, it was revealed that I had missed something that I didn’t even know I could do and I had yet to see the true ending. When I got to the last battle and was given the option to SAVE something else, my mouth dropped and the biggest grin returned to my face. Once again, the game surprised me and brought more and more joy to my face. Suddenly, as I complete the game for good and was able to walk around the world, a thought popped into my head: When was the last time I felt this good about a game? Like this much joy, hope, and glee? And it hit me: The last time I felt like this was when I completed Earthbound and Mother 3 (and I cried my eyes out at the end of that game). I felt like I had played a game from one of my all-time favorite game series. It was at that moment that I knew I had experienced something special and that I know I’d complete the game again, not changing a thing, just to get back to that warm blanket of joy and live it all again.

I’m going to leave you with this thought. Had Undertale just done one of these things, I’d probably be talking about it anyways. Mechanically, it’s an amazing game. But, by doing all of these things, Undertale takes the biggest chance in gaming I’ve seen in a while. It takes its mechanic, plays with it, breaks its own rules, and has fun while doing it. The best part about it: it doesn’t force you to play it peacefully. You can kill everything you want and play it like a typical RPG. All it asks is that maybe you reconsider what you’re doing and really think about this world and how you want to impact it.

Undertale helped me learn a lot about myself: I learned my love for skeletons runs deep, that from time to time I need to clap with the spiders and consume their baked goods, and that I need to hang out in a lab with my geeky dinosaur like monster friend and talk all night long about Anime. I learned the true power of friendship, the determination of the human soul, and just how far love and hope can get you if you just believe. Most importantly, I learned something I didn’t expect I’d ever learn: I don’t need another Mother game. I’ve got Undertale and I think that’s rad.



He doesn't write the news, he just delivers it. Self proclaimed cyberpunk hacker. He/him.

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Roberto Villegas

He doesn't write the news, he just delivers it. Self proclaimed cyberpunk hacker. He/him.