Game Of The Month: October – Undertale

You can defeat Game of the Month by pointing out that it’s running a week late, but you could also progress by claiming friendship and offering Game of the Month a hug. As it is here, so it is in inventive, uplifting RPG Undertale [official site]. As a human cast down into monster territory, you must explore and quest and combat, but can do all of them with kindness instead of violence. Drawing plentiful comparisons to EarthBound, it’s the one game you should play this month if you only have time to play one.

We’ve already written two lengthy pieces about Undertale, including a review and an exploration of its delights in our weekly RPG column. Quoting from the former:

The brilliance of Undertale, its delicate balance that it manages for most of the time you’ll spend playing it, is that it understands how to be scary and funny all at once. Inside the Snowdin library there are leather-bound books that contain strange prophecies, books that say profound and disconcerting things about the human soul.

Why is October’s game a game that was released in September?

We pick a released game because we want to be able to play the games we choose as Game of the Month, not speculatively guess at what might be worth your time. That means that the games we choose will already be out, and in some cases may have been released years ago if they have suddenly become relevant again. It also means you can start playing the game we pick immediately if you so choose.

Have you guys done this before?

Yes. We’ve so far included Cities: Skylines, Grand Theft Auto V, Invisible, Inc, Her Story, Rocket League and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. I feel happy each time I look at that list of excellent games. All of their respective features and GOTM coverage can be read here.

More Undertale coverage will follow between now and the end of the month.

36 Comments

  1. DigitalParadox says:

    I’m okay with making a game that technically released the previous month but that you guys didn’t play until recently your “Game of the Month”, but deciding it halfway through said month is just silly

    • LionsPhil says:

      Honestly I’m more concerned in the other direction—this game is still pretty new, as I understand it pretty-spoiler–sensitive, and I know a bunch of people who want to play it but are only just getting the time. If that situation generalizes out, a flood of articles about it risks spoilering a whole bunch of comparable people, unless they are all basically devoid of content, or at least extremely careful about what they say above the cut and what gets into the “Respond to our gibber” sidebar.

      • horsemedic says:

        Undertale spoilers are pretty incomprehensible if you haven’t played it. Like reading a Material Safety Data Sheet for an obscure brand of submarine glue.

    • YogSo says:

      deciding it halfway through said month is just silly

      I blame Alice’s holiday. Clearly she should never go on holiday ever again.

    • mukuste says:

      How often does this have to be explained? This doesn’t mean it’s the best game that came out this month. It’s just a recommendation for a recently published game that is good enough to warrant “if you have time for only one game this month, make it this one” status.

      • horsemedic says:

        The fact that it has to be explained over and over—and the fact that each month’s post spends as much space trying to explain the feature’s purpose as it does explaining the game—might indicate that it has a confusing name.

        Try: “The best game to play in October” or “Game of the moment: Undertale.”

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    Arnvidr says:

    As the list of covered games get longer, might be time to create a page/article with an updated list of games, with links to the relevant tags, like . For the poor future readers who want to catch up on the previous games when they discover this miracle of reporting.

  3. Nevard says:

    I love Undertale and want it to be every website’s game of the month, even if their site is not even tangentially related to video games.

  4. anHorse says:

    Thanks for covering this RPS.

    It’s not my favourite game from this month and it didn’t entirely click with me but I still really enjoyed it.
    Before articles about the game appeared here I’d never seen it mentioned, despite reading multiple gaming websites.

    • aoanla says:

      Yeah, similarly, I’ve only just played the demo (which I believe is essentially Part 1 of 4 in the full game), and it’s only really thanks to RPS and Idle Thumbs that I was aware of it.

      Also similarly, the demo didn’t entirely click with me (the humour just isn’t to my taste, and detracted from the rest of the experience for me, and certain JRPG mechanics turn up which generally annoy me a little), but I think it was worth my experiencing it.

  5. Jekadu says:

    I feel kind of embarrassed for backing this game on Kickstarter only because of the connection the creator has to Homestuck. I never tried the demo, and all I got from the project page was that it was going to be a quirky, personal and short JRPG inspired by NES era games. Every few months I’d receive a short project update about how he’d finished an enemy or was halfway through mapping out an area, interspersed with apologies for taking so long due to school. The writing itself would be terse, use arbitrary punctuation and be kind of vague, sort of like Napstablook in the game. Nothing about the development really stood out.

    I assumed nobody was going to notice yet another retro-themed indie RPG; to say I was surprised by how well the game did, both with the audience and critically, is an understatement. I’ve been playing it on and off since it came out, and I’m feeling rather humbled for having had such low expectations. Is it resonating as greatly with me as it seems to do with a lot of other people? Not really. The humor feels a bit arbitrary, and the writing isn’t very sharp from moment to moment. But the game is incredibly inventive with its presentation, and it’s one of the rare works that truly takes advantage of its medium.

    To imagine that this is all the work of one person (mostly) is incredibly humbling as well, and has changed how I look at indie game development. Why create one good mechanic and then escalate how it’s used when you can break your own rules and surprise your players?

    • Kitsunin says:

      Yes, yes, yes! Undertale is my Game of the Lifetime. The Lifetime in question being that of my great-grandfather.

      Ouch, that got kind of dark.

      • Kitsunin says:

        Oops I didn’t mean for this to be a reply.

        Incidentally the Lifetime isn’t mine because I can’t say another game won’t ever dethrone it.

  6. Premium User Badge

    distantlurker says:

    Can I be the first to say,

    /hug!

    • Premium User Badge

      Serrit says:

      Hah yeah I was surprised it took so long too – I’ll also throw in a

      /target “Game of the Month”

      /hug

  7. celorbelor says:

    Seeing Undertale as Game of the Month, it fills you with determination.

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    Aerothorn says:

    Pillars of Eternity for November, then?

    • Nevard says:

      Is that coming out this month?

      • Premium User Badge

        Aerothorn says:

        Game of the Month is not limited to recently-released games (per the original post) so it doesn’t matter :)

    • Alice O'Connor says:

      Pillars of Eternity has nipped out for some cigarettes. I… I’m sure it’ll be back soon.

      • Jekadu says:

        But… the store is closed on Christmas Eve. Does this mean that Pillars of Eternity… is really Santa?

        (Sorry, Swedish joke.)

      • Premium User Badge

        Aerothorn says:

        Oh, I have no doubt that it will be! Until then, I’ll be here every month, making the same running joke(?) that probably only I find funny until it’s game of the month or I cease to find myself amusing.

        *raises mask back up*

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      DelrueOfDetroit says:

      Someday there will be a video-game industry strike and no new games will come out for an entire month. Pillars will be GotM then.

      • Premium User Badge

        Aerothorn says:

        I have this fantasy that said strike happens and it lasts for three years and I eat into my backlog and the world of gamers gets really into the history of gaming and appreciating older titles outside the hype cycle.

  9. TheAngriestHobo says:

    What a game. I don’t mind admitting that I teared up a little during the pacifist ending.

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    Oakreef says:

    I’m one of the people who’s been just gushing over this game. A lot of people are going on and on about it because of all the meta stuff which is fairly cool but not the main draw for me. It’s just a really charming, funny and really fun game. I felt I’d already gotten my money’s worth from the second boss just because of how much I was laughing.

    It blends humour in the narrative and gameplay brilliantly and tosses in lots of gameplay twists and sudden genre blending that goes well with the style of the narrative and more traditional jokes. And then it made me bawl my eyes out at the end. Also the soundtrack is really good – I’m listening to Spider Dance as I type this.

    • Y2Kafka says:

      WHAT? You laughed at the second boss? You monster.
      (I get it, everyone forgets Nap’s the first boss so that would make the REAL second boss…)

  11. Shazbut says:

    I’m actually a bit in love with this game. It’s a bit like that woman that married the Eiffel Tower.

    It helps that it’s a fucking masterpiece, but then so is Dark Souls and I don’t love that. I respect and fear it.

  12. Kala says:

    “The brilliance of Undertale, its delicate balance that it manages for most of the time you’ll spend playing it, is that it understands how to be scary and funny all at once.”

    Sad, too, in some moments.

  13. Jekadu says:

    “The brilliance of Undertale, its delicate balance that it manages for most of the time you’ll spend playing it, is that it understands how to be scary and funny all at once. Inside the Snowdin library there are leather-bound books that contain strange prophecies, books that say profound and disconcerting things about the human soul.”

    The last line is missing. The paragraph is sort of left hanging without it…?