The Biggest Problem with Undertale











You’ve heard of it, you’ve probably seen it, and you might have even played it. A game that caused a spark (more like a ka-boom) in the nostalgic indie community, praised heavily, back-to-back by it’s indescribably enormous community.

Debatably an RPG game where you don’t have to kill anybody, it may already be clear why it’s so popular. The game has quite a lot of charm put into it and it’s characters, generating a lovable aura around the game as a whole. It’s been widely very well received (given a 10 from Destructoid and IGN) and has gained an unbelievable amount of popularity in the past months.

However, being a game received as well as this, not many have pointed out it’s flaws or given criticism on it, so that’s what I’m going to do today, and I’m going to knock out the biggest offender.

Seen above: The battle screen, along with the earliest enemies you can see in the game

Undertale’s battle system comes with four options.

Fight is self-explanatory, you fight to defeat the enemy.

Act provides you with various actions that may influence the enemy’s behavior, at the cost of a turn.

Item is where you can use your items that you’re carrying with you (your pockets have a maximum of ten slots)

Mercy provides the options of “Spare” and “Run.” Running speaks for itself, and I’ll get into Sparing later on in this section.

As said earlier, Undertale is (again, debatably) an RPG game where you don’t have to kill anything. You can go through the game without hurting a fly. Literally. This is done through the Sparing system, where battles would usually go like this;

  • 1. Go through a sort of “empathizing puzzle” with the Act function
  • 2. The monster calms down
  • 3. Spare them using the Mercy function

Doing this, as long as you haven’t killed a single monster, you are trailing along the (albeit straightforward and easy) “good” path, which fans have affectionately named the “Pacifist Route.”

Seen above: A situation where the player is outnumbered, which can be solved with total peace

There are two other paths; the aptly-named and self-explanatory “Neutral Route,” and the big star of our topic today, the “Hardmode” of Undertale, fittingly named…the “Genocide Path.”

Being a game where it’s main slogan is “Undertale, the RPG where you don’t have to kill anyone,” this is obviously going to attract some attention. Some derives from the people wanting to test the waters and see if it’s true or not (spoiler alert: it’s true), but some brave souls are willing to see if they can kill every single enemy in the entire game. This, too, is possible, thanks to Genocide.

The random encounters, while mostly random, are finite. Yes, there are not an infinite amount of enemies in the game, and if you make it a goal to kill every single one of them, then suffice to say, you’re gonna have a bad time.

Seen above: In a scene exclusive to the Genocide Path, a character threatens the protagonist for their choice(s)

Now that we’re getting to the point, I’ll now explain why the Genocide Path as a whole is the biggest problem in Undertale.

In this path, your goal is to kill every enemy you can in the game so that there’s nobody left. It seems simple enough at face value, but remember how I mentioned earlier that this game has random encounters?

That’s right. That means you have to grind. Euck, ew, and *barf,* I know, but this is intentional game design.

Grinding in video games has widely been received to be repetitive and boring, but when it comes to Undertale, this is completely and 100% intended, as the path is intended to be “difficult.” …Difficult? Well, grinding isn’t really difficult, is it? It’s just tedious. But I digress.

Seen above: The magical screen of “alright I can finally move on to the next area,” notice the level

Straying off the topic a bit to make a rhetorical point, tons of (but not all) video games come with more than one difficulty. For example, the 1993 classic Doom has five.

Difficulties in video games serve many purposes, and when it comes to more challenging ones, it would pay off in a rewarding or satisfactory way. One game might offer a better ending for beating a harder difficulty (such as the Megaman NES games), while others may hand out unlockables or bonuses (like Sonic Adventure 2 and it’s multiplayer costumes), or it may not give anything at all. Well, at least not practically. You’d still get severe bragging rights for completing and A+ ranking all of the Dark World levels in Super Meat Boy.

Seen above: The Kid, as he appears in Super Meat Boy (2010)

But on a rewarding note, unlocking The Kid is possibly the greatest feeling anyone could achieve playing Super Meat Boy. And rightly so, seeing as his warp zone is the hardest to complete in the game.

The point is, difficulty done right is rewarding the player for overcoming bigger challenges.  So you may be wondering: “Ooh, Undertale’s really positively received! I wonder what the reward for beating Genocide is? It must be something really cool, because of how awesome this game is, and stuff…”



You get. Absolutely. Nothing. The game does not reward you at all for completing Genocide. In fact, it tries to outright berate the player for choosing to play the path! You read that right, it doesn’t just try to make the protagonist feel guilty, but the player as well. This is intentional game design.

Seen above: One of the two (yes, two) truly difficult bosses in Genocide, the “True Hero”

Throughout Genocide the game is giving constant reminders that you are a soulless being. The boss seen in the above image is said to be the acclaimed True Hero set out to stop you, the human, from killing all of the monsters in the underground. It’s debatably the hardest fight in the game, harder than any of the path’s final bosses, not just Genocide’s.

The game tries so hard to push it’s simple moral of “if you’re not a jerk, everyone’s got perk” that it seems to miss the entire point of providing drastically harder challenges to the player, which is allowing the player to feel rewarded for overcoming said challenge no matter the realistic feelings or morales of the characters involved. Heck, Shadow the Hedgehog rewards players for choosing to follow the inhumane “Dark Side” with unlockable weapons.

One could argue that’s the entire point, not rewarding the player, but then just…why? Would it even be defined as good game design at that point? I’m going to be perfectly honest; I don’t think it is.

Seen above: The final boss of Genocide, right after a difficult-to-avoid surprise attack to start off the battle

By the end of Genocide you’re greeted with this guy, accompanied by quite possibly the most popular soundtrack from Undertale, Megalovania. At this point in the game, it no longer cares about guilt-tripping the protagonist, it feels the need to guilt-trip you.

Throughout the battle, he talks about oddities in the time-space-continuum, how timelines are jumping left and right in weird positions, and specifically how it’s your fault. I’ll be blunt and explain it; he’s saying that you saving/reloading your game over a Genocide path save file is creating a bunch of incomplete timelines everywhere and ruining time as a whole. That’s literally it.

So not only by breaking the fourth wall are they berating the player for coming this far, but they’re effectively ruining the immersion Undertale has been trying to build up throughout the entire game. This is intentional game design.

Seen above: After winning the fight

So you’ve beaten the final boss. He crawls (and dies) offscreen, you exit the battle, and move on to the next few rooms the game has to offer. You come across the flower character you met at the very beginning of the game, kill him too, and the screen goes black, which soon becomes occupied by this character.

As if Genocide wasn’t already bad enough, this event is the cherry on top. To boil it down, you’re offered a choice between erasing or not erasing the world, but no matter which you pick, you’re going to be greeted by a jumpscare, which ends in you taking an unreasonable amount of damage, and likely dying. And then the game closes.

…Wait, the game closes? That’s really weird (and akin to a not-so-well-written creepypasta). Well, okay, your first instinct is to start the game back up. So you do that, and…

…You’re greeted with a completely black screen, and the sound of howling wind. The logo doesn’t come up. The save file load screen doesn’t appear either. You wait a minute, nothing happens, you wait a couple more minutes, nothing happens.

Naturally, your next thought would probably be “What’s going on? Is my game bugged? Can I not play my game I spend $10 on?”

It soon becomes clear that you really can’t play the game anymore, and that you’ve probably just wasted $10…at least, unless you somehow figure out that you have to wait ten full minutes before a cutscene will begin to play out, wherein going through with it will allow you to play the game normally again.

I am not kidding. This is a real thing. This is an intended feature in the programming of Undertale.

Intended. Game. Design.

Seen above: After the 10 minute wait, the game literally asks you if you want to play it again

Ultimately, your reward for beating Genocide is a fake-out scene intent on making you believe you just wasted your money on it, and if you weren’t told about having to wait 10 minutes on the blank screen previously, you very well could have wasted your money!

And that’s not all. Being a part of Undertale’s community after having played Genocide through to it’s fullest extent is virtually impossible, as by the nature of Genocide’s severe punishment and discouragement wrought onto the player, a lot of people see it as an opportunity to berate you as well.

A community making fun of itself is bad, albeit passable due to the fact that there will always be bad apples in any community. But a community being encouraged to harass one another over an ultimately subjective choice is even worse. It divides the community up into sections, which goes against the entire point of a community. But I digress. This is going a teeny bit irrelevant now, so I’ll wrap it up.


Final Thoughts


All in all, Genocide tries too hard to convey a moral instead of focusing on what makes a video game enjoyable, and as a result fails to deliver a rewarding experience in the form of unlockable content, good endings, or even bragging rights to players looking for a challenge. There is zero reason for you to play Genocide, and it’s reason for being a choice in the first place is questionable at best. You’re better off playing Pacifist.

…Speaking of Pacifist, if you are intent on playing it after you finish Genocide…

Seen above: The bad ending you get at the end of Pacifist if you had completed Genocide before playing it.

Yes. Even after you’ve admitted to the game that you’re such a horrible monster for killing so many harmless creatures, even when the game “forgives” you and actually allows you access to the title screen (and thus, the game) again, it flips a switch that enables this bad ending at the end of the Pacifist Route, juuuuust to remind you how much of a jerk you were in your previous save file. Just so you can never get a happy ending. Because all you were looking for was merely a good challenge, as well as a reward to go along with it.

With that said, please remember that this is just a game, and also don’t forget to respect your fellow community members even if they are soulless killing machines. I hope you all have a wonderful day!

Like what you just read? Do you agree or disagree? Leave a comment or reply and start some discussion!

The Gaming Reinvented Content Contest Begins!

Do you fancy yourself a video game journalist? Have a game or gaming event you really wish to give your opinion on, but have nowhere to post it? Want to potentially win 200 dollars in video games of your choice?

If so, then you’re going to love the new writing contest at Gaming Reinvented. It’s pretty simple really; write a good article, and if it’s better than everyone else’s, you can win up to 200 dollars in video games of your choice. There’s no catch, no fees and nothing to worry about, it’s purely about who can write the best article on Gaming Reinvented.

Here’s how it all works:

  1. You register on Gaming Reinvented via the forums. This gives you access to the article posting features on the main site.
  2. Once you’ve registered, you return to the site and post your article. It can be a standard article, a review, a walkthrough or an interview.
  3. The article then gets added to a list of other articles posted by contest entrants.
  4. This contest will then end on the 22nd September. No wait, 23rd September, 10pm
  5. Then, each article is scored by a group of judges (once of which is myself). These judges will rate the article based on the following factors:
    1. How unique or interesting the topic of the article is. Things you can’t easily find elsewhere will score well here, while bland top/bottom ten lists and clickbait will score low.
    2. The written quality of the article. Does it flow well? Has anyone proofread the thing, or is it filled with spelling and grammar errors?
  6. Once everything else is done, the winner will be contacted and the prizes sent out.
    And that’s it.

So what are you waiting for? Write your dream article today!

[button removed, contest over]

Continue Reading…

Yooka-Laylee; Gamescom 2016 Trailer

Want to see more of Yooka-Laylee? If so, you’re in luck, since Playtonic Games posted an all new trailer for it at Gamescom 2016!

Here it is:

Wow, that was one hell of a great trailer. Lots of footage regarding the levels, some interesting transforms, some absolutely gorgeous visuals in general… Yooka-Laylee is looking more and more like the ultimate 3D platformer every time a video comes out!

But let’s break it down a bit more, shall we? After all, it doesn’t seem right to skim over all those interesting details, does it?

Like that interesting factory/library area the duo start in. Hmm, seems like Capital B’s HQ based on the giant gold statue they’re jumping off of. And talking of the statue… guess that makes him as egotistical as K Rool and Gruntilda were. Why else would you have a giant gold statue of yourself in your office?

capital b statue

It’s also probably best to assume the rooftop area is also part of his factory. The colour scheme and decorations certainly shout ‘Hivory Towers’ if you ask me.

There’s also what appears to be the outside of the building from a distance. Guess he’s literally absorbing the world’s literature, based on the flying streams of books in the sky. Makes you wonder something though. Namely, what does anyone else think of this? It’s not every day you see thousands of books flying through the air towards an ominous looking factory building. Even in England that’s uncommon!

Book Absorbing Factory

We also see that Capital B has robots in his army. Like that laser drone that tries to fry Yooka and Laylee.
And now we get to one of the actual worlds. Well, I think it is. The pipes are probably all its ‘energy’ or whatever being absorbed by Hivory Towers.

There’s also a quick shot of some googly eyes. No, not googly eyes on some inanimate object. Just googly eyes on their own. Given how one suddenly seems to be attached to a battery of some kind, this raises interesting questions about biology in this world. Maybe the eyes are actually a weird interdimensional parasite that controls inanimate objects? Or maybe they’re just battery enemies in the ground… eh, the first one sounds more interesting.

googly eyes

This is followed up by a new transformation. Seems like Yooka and Laylee can become a bulldozer in this game, and use the plough to move snow and other heavy objects. That’s pretty neat, especially given how it seems transformations are world specific.


The snowy level itself is quite neat too. Bit dark and gloomy, but that’s neat to see in a game. After all, we’ve already got legions of happy and cheery looking snow levels out there. Another industrial one to join 40 Below Fridge and Freezing Furnace is far more original.

Swimming next, and dear god that water looks cloud. Hope players aren’t hydrophobes, since the water levels here might give them nightmares. Still, if you can deal with Clanker’s Cavern in Banjo-Kazooie…

murky water

There’s also a clip showing Yooka and Laylee in a bubble. Which they seem to generate by farting underwater. Yeah, that’s… different. Either way, the mechanic is interesting, since it lets you use non water physics underwater. So you can run and jump about as if you’re on land, despite being hundreds of feet underwater. Surprised how few other games have thought of the idea to be honest.

And what game is complete without going through rings? Not a 3D platformer apparently, since one mission has them go through a series of rings underwater. That said, the bubble mechanic makes it seem more fun, and the googly eyes on the rings are a nice touch too!

bubble and rings

Following that, we get a scene showing a weird golem like creature. This thing (which might act as a doorway) seems to lie at the end of a series of flamethrowers that the duo must navigate. No idea if you actually fight it, but if so, that eye is probably its weak spot.

weird golem

Back to the factory now, and we get the first look at Capital B’s minions. These goofy looking creatures seem to play the same role as Gruntlings in Banjo-Kazooie, and put up about as much of a fight.

Another mine cart section is shown off too. This one has the heroes using a cannon to blast away obstacles while riding. Pretty cool that, especially given how few mine cart stages in games give you a good way to fight back.

mine cart section

There’s also a short clip showing Capital B with his minions. This guy looks every bit as good a villain as those in Rare and Nintendo’s games.
And now we get to see the books being ‘converted into pure profit’. This involves them being sucked through a series of transparent pipes and sent through a bunch of machines. It’s in the same room as Capital B’s statue too, which is pretty neat.

capital b scene

books to profit

Time to look at some of the worlds now! Yeah, this game has really nice graphics (especially for an indie title), and the tour of the worlds featured makes it all the more apparent. The lighting in the ice level is especially beautiful. I mean, look at that pink glow, or the stain glass windows or the shiny tint on all the ice in general. It’s a very pretty game, and makes me imagine what a Wii U Banjo-Kazooie title could look like.

ice world

The levels also seem really big too, which is quite cool. Just look how long it takes to show all of the ruins area! That’s impressive. So much so in fact that they’ll likely give many sandbox games competition on the world size front! It’s reminding me a bit of the Breath of the Wild trailer, and that’s certainly a good thing here.

massive level

Moving back to the factory now, and the trailer ends on two characters. Who are they? Good question, we don’t get close enough to see. But they look to be a female robot and a ball like creature wearing a nice hat. Presumably they’re NPCs you’ll encounter at some point in the adventure.

unknown characters

And so that’s the new Yooka-Laylee trailer. As you can see, it shows a game with an amazing amount of variety in it, and one which looks to surpass even our insane expectation of the title. Roll on 2017 Playtonic, because this game will be likely up there with Breath of the Wild as some of the best games of the year when it’s released.

But what do you think? Do you like the new trailer for Yooka-Laylee? And if so, what else do you want to see in this title?

Turkish TV Channel Associates GTA Cheat Codes With Coup?

Well, seems like at least some media group can’t tell the difference between fiction and reality!

Why? Because as the title suggests, they thought a bunch of GTA cheat codes are associated with the recent Turkish coup. Here’s the video showing them making the hilarious blunder:

And do you know what’s even worse here?

There’s pretty much no sane way anyone can get these mixed up. I mean, look at the document. It actually says ‘GTA IV’ at the top of it. Even an English speaker can probably figure out what these are for!

And after translating them, it just becomes even more obvious. The codes are all labelled things like ‘health and weapon’, ‘health and armour’ and ‘helicopter’. These make no sense as real codes, but map perfectly to the codes found here:

Grand Theft Auto IV Cheat Codes

With the ones in the document being the ones listed here:

  • 482-555-0100 – Restore health, armour and ammo
  • 362-555-0100 – Restore armour
  • 486-555-0100 – Get a selection of weapons

They’re all listed in Turkish, but the actual codes are identical. Either way, it’s blatantly clear to a Turkish speaker that this is a list of game cheat codes. So anyone who misunderstands this has absolutely no knowledge of gaming whatsoever. Or of actual secret codes for that matter.

Still, there is one bright side. Namely, they did release a correction video:

So yeah, I’ll give them props for accepting their mistake. It’s still pathetic they messed this up, but it’s nice to see someone issue a correction in a situation like this. I mean, it’s better than digging in deeper like certain media outlets would do…

But what do you think? Is it hilarious how little this Turkish news agency knows about video games?

Ghostbusters Developer Files for Bankruptcy

When it comes to controversy, the recent Ghostbusters has it in spades. From the all female cast to the unfortunate messages and the marketing blunders, it’s turned to be an utter disaster of a sequel. One the critics like more than the viewers, yes. But a general failure for Sony that probably won’t be making its budget back any time soon.

And somehow, the licensed game was even more of a blunder than the movie marketing. Why? Because it is absolutely godawful. To the point its review average (31%) is lower than both Sonic Boom and Rambo. To the point that a total of THREE people were playing online at once yesterday. That’s dire for a game based on a major film.

Sonic Boom box

When this game does better, you know you’re in trouble.

Worse yet, the game was supposedly developed in just eight months. Its rushed development was a clear part of why it turned out to be such a train wreck.

As a result, FireForge seem to be paying the price. Why? Because just three days after it came out, the company filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Seems that terrible Ghostbusters game sunk the company.

Well, that’s technically not 100% true. FireForge weren’t exactly in good health before the came out. For one thing, they’d be sued by Min Productions, a company owned by Razor’s CEO Min-Liang Tan. Apparently, they’d spent money meant for one product (Zeus) on a second (Atlas), despite said money being meant for the former. Bit like how Gearbox supposedly spent money meant for Aliens: Colonial Marines on Borderlands.

They’d also been sued in 2015 over a contract to license 38 Studio’s social media platform. Richard Land (who filed the lawsuit) claims they used the money to hire the company’s employees and develop a similar platform for themselves.

So it was bad news all round, and the company was in trouble before Ghostbusters even began. It likely played some part in the failure (a terrible game with no audience isn’t making much money), but it’s not the sole reason FireForge filed for bankruptcy. Just another contributing factor to its inevitable downfall.

But it’s happened now. FireForge has filed for bankruptcy and the Ghostbusters game is now dead in the water. Let’s hope the people working there find a new (and better) job in the industry.


Ghostbusters Developer Files for Bankruptcy (Tech Spot)