I double-take when I see the sign on the front of the library. Something feels off, and I peer at the screen, and there’s definitely an extra letter that’s snuck in there somewhere. The little town of Snowdin is, as the name suggests, blanketed in thick snow, and the lights in the windows of the library look warm. Inside, the librarian looks up at me tiredly. “Welcome to Snowdin library,” she says. “Yes, we know the sign is mis-spelled.”
There is something irrepressibly charming about this.
Undertale [official site], a game made mostly by Toby Fox, begins with a muted cutscene that feels immediately and deliberately evocative of The Wind Waker’s opening mural. “Long ago,” read the subtitles, “two races ruled over earth. HUMANS and MONSTERS.” And then there’s a little picture: a horned furry creature on the left and a cloaked human on the right. The human is holding a spear. The stage continues to be set with that particular blunt efficiency of the older Zelda games; there was a war, the monsters were defeated, they were sealed beneath the mountain. Years pass. A human child, the protagonist, climbs a mountain and falls down an enormous hole. Then the game begins.
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