Holy crap, this is one of the darkest games that I've ever played. With all of the cult surrounding and hype as one of the best RPGs of the year, I had to download it off the Switch and give it a go.
It's a different type of RPG where you basically progress through the underground world to solve puzzles, kill monsters or befriend them. The choice is entirely up to the player to decide how the plot will be affected. There are three different routes you can take:
Some background on the game before we delve into the heavy stuff...
The game takes place in the Underground, a massive subterranean cave to where monsters, who once lived with humans on the surface, have been banished after losing a war with humanity. The Underground is sealed from the surface world by a magic barrier created by humanity's most powerful wizards, the only point of entry being at Mount Ebott. The seal can only be broken by seven human souls or exited by a human and a monster soul fusion.
You control a human child that falls into the Underground. The first thing you'll encounter is Flowey, a talking flower that teaches you the dynamics of the world and the gameplay explaining that you need to raise your "LOVE" or EXP by killing monsters. Flowey seems caring, but is actually deceiving you so that he can kill you and take your soul. You will be rescued by Toriel, a motherly goat monster, who will give you refuge and teach you how to solve puzzles and survive in the Underground without killing. All in all, she is trying to protect you from Asgore Dreemurr, the king of the Underground.
Throughout the journey, you get to choose whether or not certain characters die or get spared. Of course, some have to die for the sake of self defense, but you can also become friends if you choose to do so.
You will encounter a lot of monsters... some important to the progress of the story and some not so much. Sans and Papyrus, two skeletons with contrasting personalities, will guide you through a good chunk of the story. Sans is super chill, laid back, and functions as the observer of the entire game. Papyrus, on the other hand, is a different animal who is obsessed with collecting a human to impress the Underground's Royal Guard, Undyne.
Undyne, a fish-like monster, is hellbent on catching you in order to obtain the last of the seven souls needed to break the barrier and free all of the monsters trapped in the Underground.
Alphys is the royal scientist who is basically a reclusive dinosaur monster who is responsible for learning more about human souls.
Like I stated before, the game is all about choice. You get to choose whether you want to kill, spare, or convince them to stop fighting.
There's a twisted backstory of Asriel Dreemurr, the son of Asgore and Toriel. Apparently, there was a human child that fell into the underground and was adopted. The First Child commit suicide in order to allow Asriel to use their soul to cross the barrier and destroy it from the human side. Unfortunately, Asriel lost his nerve and was killed by humans. Asgore declared that all humans who arrived in the Underground were to be executed. Eventually, you will get to cross paths with Asgore and reason with him. Although he is a fair and just king, Asgore is bent on killing seven humans in order to break the barrier and free his people. You are possibly the seventh soul.
As I mentioned, there are three paths you will encounter toward the end... and depending on how you resolved your encounter with the random monsters: Neutral run, Pacifist run, and the Genocide run... it all depends.
In the neutral path, you will battle Asgore in combat and once you defeat him, Flowey appears and steals his soul. The six human souls transform into Photoshop Flowey. As he attacks, the souls begin to rebel against him and that allows you to defeat him. If you spare him or kill him, you transport to the other side of the barrier and receive a phone call from Sans telling you the state of the Underground.
In the pacifist route, you accidentally stumble into Alphys' hidden laboratory and discover that Flowey is a reincarnation of Asriel created as a byproduct of Alphys' attempt to harness the power of determination. Toriel tries to defuse the confrontation with Asgore and you before it results in bloodshed, but Flowey appears and steals the other monsters' souls to regain his original form. You are supposed to reawaken Asriel's conscience and destroy the barrier. You learn that the entity named by the player at the beginning of the game is the First Child and that the human controlled by the player is named Frisk. The monsters reintegrate with human society on the surface and you have the option of staying in the Underground or venturing out.
I managed to do two out of the three paths, but I will give the Genocide run a go eventually. You basically have to kill Flowey, Asgore, and Sans... which basically look impossible if you've seen the actual gameplay.
Someone did a really cool progressive animation of that Sans fight that is definitely worth watching, so give it a look:
Images courtesy of Samuele Latino