Kill ’em with kindness and love in Undertale, an RPG unlike most others

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Undertale (PC, Mac

BY Toby Fox

You might say Undertale is unique due to its passive battle system. Certainly, allowing you to choose whether to flirt or fight with every monster you encounter is unconventional for an RPG. But what makes Undertale a truly notable title is how it makes metaphors out of mechanics. Most videogames give you a sword, creatures to kill, and a reward for doing so. There’s not a lot of room for interpretation. Undertale, mimicking real life, renders conflict a puzzle to be finessed and solved through mediation skills. Rather than skipping through dialogue, you listen intently to your opponent, since the secret to defeating them without force is often masked by some allegorical sentiment. You must defeat your opponent not by manipulating their strengths and weaknesses, but instead by mitigating their wants and desires. It’s a world bursting with not only humor, but poetry: a love letter to what videogames can be when they think outside the box.

Perfect for: Flirts, good-hearted bunny monsters, those who missed out on earthbound

Playtime: About seven hours