Review: Undertale – PS Vita (9.5/10)

Platform: PS VitaGenre: RPGDeveloper: Toby Fox
Publisher: 8-4 Ltd. 8-4 Ltd.
Release Date: August 15, 2017 August 15, 2017
Price:$14.99 USD / $19.99 CAD£11.99 / €14.99 / $22.95 AUD
File size:160 MB
Review by 2 Old 4 Gaming

Sitting down to review Undertale is daunting. Its not a long game, the gameplay isn’t particularly complex, the graphics are old school, but its just got so much heart and charm. There were so many moments that had me smiling, laughing and feeling emotional. I haven’t played a game quite like it where reading text on a screen can have such an impact on me.

Story

Undertale PS Vita

The story of Undertale starts off as you, a human child falling below the surface to the world of monsters. Monsters have been trapped there ever since they lost a war with the humans. You journey through the world in the hope of finding a way back home. Along the way you meet many characters and if you take the time to get to know them and talk to them, they can become your friends. By the end of the game I felt so attached to them. Undertale isn’t a particularly long game, but I felt like I knew these characters so well.

I knew their hopes and dreams and their loves and hates. This is Undertale’s greatest strength. Making you care about the monsters you meet along the way. The core story of the game is a good one and there are some really interesting twists and surprises that kept me hooked all the way until the end. And the ending was just perfect. Im being purposely brief in describing the story and the characters you meet, because this is something that you should experience rather than have described to you.

Gameplay

Undertale PS Vita

Undertale is an RPG, but one that’s very different from any other RPG I’ve played. There are random encounters but they aren’t very frequent. You can fight monsters to gain experience and level up but you can also just talk to the enemies to get through battles. The battles are turn-based and when you enter a battle, you have options to fight or interact with the enemy. When you are attacked, the game starts a bullet hell mini game where you control your heart and move it around a small square trying to avoid projectiles.

I wasn’t very good at this to be honest and I would take a lot of damage and this was a source of a lot of inner conflict for me. When you kill an enemy you can level up and increase your health. This can help in future battles, especially boss battles, but I also wanted to be the “good guy.” It’s a decision that you’ll have to make as you play the game – make the game somewhat easier by killing enemies, or be a nice person and increase your challenge.

Undertale PS Vita

Most of the game has you walking through the monster’s world, solving puzzles and talking to monsters you meet along the way. The game is linear and can probably be completed very fast if you ignore everyone you see. But taking the time to talk to all the monsters, learn more about the world and form friendships feels really rewarding. Even with completing every aspect of the game, it’s not particularly long but this wasn’t a bad thing. It lasted just the right amount of time and I wouldn’t have wanted it to be any shorter or longer.

The game is so good at playing with your expectations. As someone that’s been playing videogames for around 36 years, there are so many common design choices in games and so you expect Undertale to behave in the same way as games that came before it. Something simple like walking into a hole in the wall and expecting to enter a new room, but the game tells you it’s literally just a hole in the wall. Or clicking X on instinct to read the first sign and it tells you “click X to read signs.” These little touches add a lot of fun to the game.

Undertale PS Vita

The platinum is surprisingly easy. I had it before I finished the game. And the trophies again play with your expectations. The game is very self-aware at how trophies are a bit of a waste of time and it plays on that with titles and descriptions that are funny and a bit silly. One set of trophies is obtained by donating money to a dog statue but you can only give one coin at a time. I was sitting there for around 30-40 minutes just pressing X constantly to donate the money and get all the trophies. The things we do for platinum trophies…

Graphics

The game has an old school, pixel art style. Again, it just suited and complimented every other part of the game perfectly. The graphics were part of the reason that game was able to play with your expectations so well, by giving the feeling your playing an old school RPG which then made it more surprising to discover some of the smart and modern gameplay elements. The battle scenes are black and white, which I found a bit jarring at first to move from the top down colour world to the black and white battle screen. I got used to this pretty quickly.

Undertale PS Vita

Music & Sound

The music is amazing. The tunes are catchy and suit the game perfectly. The final boss music and the music for the snowy town were just two my favourites and had me humming them for hours after putting the game down. When you talk to characters and as the letters and words appear on screen you hear the quick notes common to indicate speaking in old school games. Undertale has different notes for the different characters. It’s a small touch, but having these unique notes made each character feel more distinct.

Conclusion

Undertale is so unique and so impressive. Every part of it just works. It could be criticised for the tough battles, especially towards the end of the game, but even the moments where you struggle just spur you onwards and bolster your determination. The journey is as touching and memorable as the ending. If you let it get its hooks in you, you’ll find that it’s an amazing and memorable experience.

Undertale Video Review:

 

The review was written and provided by 2 Old 4 Gaming. All screenshots are from the PS Vita version.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube for the latest PS Vita, Nintendo Switch and 3DS news.