An Objective Undertale Review

The Undertale logo

(There are some very vague, very technical, very Objective™ spoilers for Undertale below. You probably won’t get the joke if you haven’t beaten Undertale at least once anyway.)

Undertale is a 122.52 MB single player game with “partial” controller support described as an “RPG Game”. The game is rendered at 640×480 pixels like a 30 year old CRT television though almost all ingame art is actually made at a resolution well below 480p. Most enemies are black and white in combat with extremely limited animation. The color pallette is similarly limited, probably 32 colors or less on most screens. The game only uses three buttons and arrow keys.

An objective sample of Undertale's art.
An objective sample of Undertale’s art.

The game has three endings. Two endings can be achieved at level 1, while the other ending requires more time grinding than playing the game. The “hardest” boss in the entire game has only 1 HP and their attacks can only deal 1 HP in return. The strongest equipment in the game is literally useless. Several fights cannot be lost.

The game was created mostly by one person, with a second doing a fair amount of art, and a third that did not do much at all. The creator states the number of dogs as a key feature on Steam, but is unable to actually count the number of dogs in the game. Despite dogs being listed as a positive, one of the dogs is objectively Annoying.

The following song plays at one of the most dramatic moments of the game:

The game can erase your save file. The game can close on itself. The game sometimes makes you wait ten minutes before being able to even do anything at all. The game does not have chocolate. Most stores won’t even let you sell your gear. There’s only one save slot. There’s only one playable character with no visual customization.

The creator, Toby Fox, is not actually a fox.

Doesn’t that sound objectively terrible?

Objectively 0/10.

 

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…hopefully at this point you realize I’m not being serious (I in fact love Undertale) and you appreciate how an “objective” review could in fact be massively misleading. All statements in this review are all technically correct (the best kind of correct), but are deliberately misleading, inaccurate or irrelevant to the actual piece of media that is Undertale.

There’s nothing inherently positive about “objectivity” in this context and a massive deal of information about games simply cannot be conveyed objectively–games are highly emotional experiences, which are essentially impossible to measure objectively, though a few extreme Behaviorists have tried.

Whether the “objective” bits sound good or bad is often entirely disconnected from whether the game is actually enjoyed by the majority of people. For reference, Undertale, the objectively poorly performing, low res, simple game is at 99% positive user reviews on steam with 1,500 reviews. The (unofficial) Performance Survey results next to the user reviews are…quite amusing:

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So think about that the next time you ask for an “objective” review. Maybe you should ask for a descriptive or useful review instead, because a truly objective review is neither.

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Author: Sir TapTap

Opinionated gaming spikeball dedicated to showing cool games and making games more enjoyable for everyone.