Undertale

Game review by
David Wolinsky, Common Sense Media
Undertale Game Poster Image
Satirical RPG endorses peaceful conflict resolution.
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 42 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 184 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Very possible this is one of the first action-oriented games where pacifism is not only encouraged but actually rewarded, challenging.

Positive Role Models & Representations

If you go the pacifist route, you self-educate on why to strive to take the higher road: Others respect, reward you for it. 

Ease of Play

Although designed to be friendly to video-game newcomers, still mired somewhat in video-game tropes, logic.

Violence

Though players can commit acts of violence, there's more of an emphasis on avoiding battle.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Undertale is a downloadable role-playing game designed to be an entree into the genre. Cleverly, it emphasizes understanding that the old trappings of violence and beating up enemies without real cause can be totally ignored or considered a last resort. You have no cause to hurt anyone, and when you realize that as you get deeper into the game, it drastically changes the way you approach the environment and even listen to the characters. It's a way of rethinking the familiar, then pondering the other possibilities. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bymitsukik January 22, 2016

Brilliant, emotional, and clever, some scary parts, thematically heavy.

This is a game everyone should play, preferably with as few spoilers as possible. The game provides meta commentary on the habits of gamers, not just the habit... Continue reading
Parent of a 11 year old Written byMaria P. December 5, 2016

The game story is great BUT not appropriate for kids in my opinion

My issue with Undertale is not the game itself but it makes kids think about stuff that they will look further online and probably get to wrong paths. This game... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bybakeranimator January 15, 2016

Hilarious Dialogue, Endearing and Memorable Characters, and a Brilliant Message Make this Indie Fantastic

This game... Gosh this game... Is there really anything else I can say about it that hasn't been said? Well, I guess I'll say it anyway. Where do I... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old January 21, 2016

Best Indie Game

This game is brilliant. The only RPG where you don't have to kill anyone, and based off what happens if you do kill everything, you probably don't wan... Continue reading

What's it about?

UNDERTALE is set after a war between mankind and a race of creatures known only as "monsters." The humans emerge victorious and seal the monsters away behind a magic barrier in an underground realm. You play as a young human child who awakens there, behind the seal, and subsequently tries to escape. However, your life isn't in constant danger. The monsters you run across aren't automatically enemies. They don't all act offensively or treat you as prey. They are no less civilized than the humans, and in fact are just as abundant in personalities and quirks. As you try to make your way back out to where you "belong," it's up to you to decide how to treat everyone, and that includes whether to attack.

Is it any good?

This incredibly goofy game cheerily teases persistent video-game tropes that typically go unquestioned -- such as wanton violence -- and is certainly worth trying, even if you think you "hate" video games. Undertale's whimsical underpinnings will shine brighter, and you'll catch its many references or tongue-in-cheek nods to other video games if you're a gamer, but its parody and satirical elements don't need to be understood to be appreciated. On the surface it seems to be another standard turn-based role-playing game wherein you embark on an epic quest, but it's really a game about making friends with a wide variety of strange characters (such as a skeleton obsessed with spaghetti or a ghost who makes music on its computer and races snails) and cooperating to get out alive. 

Yes, if you want, you can slay everything in battle. But that's the easy way out, and doing so eliminates several possibilities in the story that you wouldn't be aware of otherwise. What's more, it's actually more challenging and intriguing to go down that path: There's one "boss" battle where you must repeatedly plead for your own life, dodge spears, and then run away, only to repeat this process several times before your oppressor runs out of breath and you can go get him a glass of water and make amends. It's strange but earnest, and its abundant charm is what makes Undertale well worth checking out. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in games. Why are some games so loaded with violence? Why is violence an option in video games at all?

  • Why is pacifism mocked, and who tends to mock it? Should more games consider using pacifism as a gameplay feature?

Game details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love role-playing games

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate