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Retro Games You Should Play If You Loved Undertale

Since its initial release back in 2015, Undertale has captivated gamers with its bizarre sense of humor and unique combat system. Featuring an old-school graphics style, Undertale tells the story of a child who has become trapped in a strange world called the Underground. Although the game has a heavy emphasis on frantic, bullet hell-style fighting, players are also taught that they can avoid killing by talking to the various monsters they encounter. Choosing whether to embrace non-violence or to kill every creature in sight will inform how the game ends for the player. 


This last detail has been lauded by critics for bringing an interesting spin on the usual RPG formula. Medium's Chris Davis wrote that Undertale is "a brilliant game that subverts the tropes video game players take for granted by turning them inside out in a surprising and entertaining way."

It took a few years before Undertale's popularity exploded, but now it has a massive following and is seen as a life-changing game for many. If you've already finished Undertale a few times, unlocking its different endings, you may be wondering what is next. 

Well, here are a few retro games that will hopefully scratch that itch.


Even if you haven't played EarthBound, you've more than likely heard of it. EarthBound is a cult classic game that originally bombed in its North American release. It has gone on to be a hugely influential title.


If you're coming to EarthBound after Undertale, many of the themes and aesthetics will feel similar. In fact, EarthBound is frequently referenced as an inspiration for Undertale. Both games feature a child as the lead character, and they both have a dark sense of humor throughout. The story is told through tons of on-screen text in both games, as well. EarthBound plays a bit differently from Undertale, however. Instead of bullet hell-inspired battles, encounters in EarthBound feature a unique turn-based combat system.

The most notable DNA shared between EarthBound and Undertale, however, is the fact that Undertale developer Toby Fox first gained some experience in game design while making EarthBound ROM hacks. The most famous of these, EarthBound Halloween Hack, featured an excessively dark and gruesome storyline and original music composed by Fox. Gamers have actually found quite a few references to EarthBound and Halloween Hack in Undertale, as well, which should make playing EarthBound even more appealing for Undertale fans.


Shin Megami Tensei

The original Shin Megami Tensei follows a group of high school students as they battle Lucifer and his demonic forces. Shin Megami Tensei features plenty of familiar RPG elements, like dungeon-crawling and turn-based combat. However, what sets the title apart is its negotiation system. Through a series of branching conversation options, players may be able to convince demons to throw the battle, give them an item, or even join their side. 


If this peculiar gameplay mechanic sounds familiar, it's because it directly influenced the development of Undertale. In an interview with GamasutraUndertale creator Toby Fox explained, "I always liked talking to monsters in Shin Megami Tensei. So I started programming a battle system where you could talk to foes and convince them not to fight."

While later Shin Megami Tensei games and the spin-off Persona series would continue to build off of this concept, the first Shin Megami Tensei is a great retro example of programmers thinking outside of the box. Fans of old-school RPGs and Undertale will probably find plenty to love in this odd title.


OneShot is an interesting release from recent years that successfully captures the tone of an older adventure game. Not only does it have a retro art style to it, but the top-down puzzle-solving should feel instantly familiar to RPG fans. However, the aspect that OneShot has received the most praise for is the game's metafictional qualities.


OneShot puts players in control of Niko, an adorable cat creature tasked with saving the strange world they live in. The twist here is that both Niko and the game itself know that you're in control, and both will frequently speak to the player directly. This isn't the only bizarrely metafictional aspect of the game, however. The title of OneShot comes from the fact that manually closing or quitting the game will actually kill Niko, requiring the player to start all over again. Players can manually save their progress when they find a bed for Niko to rest in. The next time they player logs in, they're shown a cutscene/dream sequence that explains more of Niko's world.

Like UndertaleOneShot constantly breaks the fourth wall and messes with the player's expectations of how video games should work, making it an unforgettable experience.