What drew you to get undertale? looking at its trailer, it seems like an amalgamation of different small games mixed up to keep interest, and that made me suspicious of it being shallow, making me not get it.
A friend on facebook that I trust posted that he liked it and people should play it. He then told me to play it directly, and I said I would without looking up any information on the game, and with no further questions, besides knowing there’s a pacifist and genocide route and it was an RPG with shmuplike battles. I did this out of trust to him and general impulsiveness.
It is kinda shallow. All the fights are segregated from one another, and there isn’t much context bridging them. You’re allowed to heal very very frequently with save points, before every big fight. Healing items carry over, and you use money from fights to buy them.
Despite that, it’s a hard game, and the battles don’t have that element of repetition that I hate in games like super meat boy, down to the point where you’re memorizing every single input practically. Even the rhythm game boss integrates a large amount of randomness into her patterns. Many of the enemies have partially randomized patterns. However they still follow a very consistent pattern, and show you what is coming before it hits you, and always allow ways out, so it’s extremely fair in that way.
Beyond that, many of the shmup style avoidance minigames are rather unique. They mix it up a lot and as far as I know try a bunch of unique things. Like some enemies have blue or orange attacks, blue attacks can only be avoided by standing still, orange only by moving through them. The bosses each change the control style of your heart, like one is a platformer, rhythm game, actual shmup where you shoot, and a weird one where there are these 3 lines and you can jump between them instantly, but also move smoothly down each line, and one attack has you race up a bunch of lines to escape from an enemy at the bottom while projectiles are moving all over them. Also interestingly, in normal enemy encounters if you get multiple enemies at the same time, their bullet patterns get mixed together, making more complex bullet patterns.
In a genocide playthrough, you gotta sit through a lot of tedious enemy farming, but it has two bosses that are really intense, a ramped up version of the rhythm boss that is even crazier, and a final boss fight that is still kicking my ass.
I did a little rant on twitter about something I felt was lacking, like it felt like there was no dynamic really guiding when you should heal in battle, it didn’t make sense to heal right before a big attack, or during a lull, since both will drag the battle out for a turn longer, then I realized that because you take less damage when you’re at lower HP, that healing when you’re low effectively allows you to take more hits, because healing is for a static amount. So I learned a new game dynamic right there.
I gotta say that I like the game overall. It’s been really fun in a gameplay way, and it’s not completely shallow and repetitive, and it innovated. The room to grow as a player isn’t very big, but there’s some stuff there, much like an NES game.