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Undertale is an indie-produced video game created by Toby Fox, who was well-known as a composer for Homestuck. It is a 2-D pixel-art RPG with turn-based combat and a strong focus on the story. Unlike the vast majority of video game RPGs, Undertale's tag line is "The friendly RPG where nobody has to die.". Within three months of release, Undertale had sold just short of 500,000 copies on Steam. It is available on Steam and as a DRM-free download for Mac and PC.
Undertale begins as a standard dungeon-crawl RPG: the protagonist falls down a hole into the land of monsters, who long ago lost a war and were forced underground ages ago. You encounter many different types of monsters, from well-developed NPCs (skeletons, goats, fish, dinosaurs, ghosts) to encounters with "generic" monsters like sentient jellies and spiders. Progress is saved at various points in the world, and you can reset the game to begin at your last save point; this allows you to return to that point after dying--which happens a lot against the boss monsters, even if (maybe especially if) you are trying the "no-kill" approach.
One of the innovative aspects of Undertale is that several NPCs notice when you have reset--they will greet you differently when you reach a room for the second time, or if you kill or spare someone differently in your next playthrough. Many players re-play the game several time, trying to find all the dialogue options.
The three main "routes" through the game are based on three, mutually-incompatible play styles: Kill nothing, kill some things, and kill everything.
There are many Easter eggs present.
Provided in alphabetical instead of game-encounter order:
- Alphys, a nerdy dinosaur
- Asgore, the king (another goat)
- Flowey, the flower
- Mettaton, a killer robot who stars in a TV show
- Muffet, a five-eyed spider-lady who sells donuts
- Sans and Papyrus, the Skelebros
- Toriel, the "Goatmom"
- Napstablook, a ghost
- Undyne, the Undying - a fish-lady
- Sans/Papyrus - Incest pairing known as Fontcest
- Sans/Sans - Undertale's many AUs make this a common pairing; Toby Fox is on record saying he's delighted with this concept.
- Papyrus/Reader - because the protagonist has a canonical date with Papyrus, reader-insert fics paired with him are common
Fan References Within the Game
Fanfiction and Fanart
Undertale has swarms of AUs, many of which begin as art on tumblr. Some are unique to Undertale and several are Undertale-style names of classic fic tropes. These are written both as "normal" AUs and mashed-up with each other, in both fic and art. Many fanworks focus on characters from one AU meeting characters from another, or meeting themselves from another universe.
- Bitty Bones
- Errortale - Error is an AU name for Sans
- Mafiatale - 20's-esque Mobster AU
- Humantale - a Mundane AU
- Horrortale - Horror AU
- Outertale - Space AU
These are especially common, because many players don't want to play through all three main styles, and most players don't care to play through enough to find all the possibilities and easter eggs.
Undertale has been praised for its innovative original soundtrack, and the fans have run with it since the game's release.
- Megalovania Extended Version Megalovania is San's boss fight music. One notable fan spin-off of this song is Megalomaniac a song about Sans' fight from both Frisk's and Sans' point of views.
- They Need A Monster is a song from Mettaton's point of view made by MandoPony.
- His Theme is the original song by bumble-lily from Asriel's and Flowey's point of view throughout the story.
- Undertale parody of Strong in the Real Way was made by dolce.
- Spider Dance Vocal Music Box Cover was created by adrisaurus. The lyrics go to the original tune.
- Promise Me is a song that was created by NateWantsToBattle from Toriel's point of view when Frisk first falls down into the Ruins. It is set in a Pacifist play through.
- Unaligned is a song that was created by NateWantsToBattle from Frisk's point of view during what is perceived to be the beginning when they are in the Ruins. It is set in a Neutral play through.
- An Ending was created by bumble-lily told from both Chara's and Frisk's point of view.
- Several Touhou-fandom-esque arrange albums have been spawned, including RichaadEB and Ace Waters' progressive-metal three-parter "Determination" and DM Dokuro's electronic/dance album "The Underground Radio" ( and its followup The Untouched Radio.)
Common on tumblr.
The fandom is known for being largely involved in anti-ship movements, groups of people who attack other fans over their shipping preferences. A lot of these reported cases center around Frisk, Chara, and Asriel due to their ages and the fact that people write smut about them. Fontcest is another controversial pair due to fandom's distate for incest.
This inter-community conflict came to a head recently with the assault of Taiwanese fanartist Avimedes at a convention, when a fan gave her cookies with pins hidden inside them, causing lacerations in her mouth that required her to be hospitalized. It is largely thought that the attack was instigated because of Avimedes' art of Frisk/Sans, however this has yet to be officially confirmed as the culprit hasn't been apprehended. Regardless, this event started trending far outside the Undertale fandom, and has since sparked conversation in and out of the fandom about the morality of these anti-ship movements.
The Flowerfell AU became the center of huge drama that led to the creators stopping the project.