Toby Fox
Undertale Soundtrack


4.5
superb

Review

by Toondude USER (72 Reviews)
April 11th, 2016 | 280 replies


Release Date: 08/13/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I don't want to let go...

It seemed that only ten years ago, the idea of one creating their own game towards high acclaim was but a fantasy. Games take a long time and a huge amount of effort to just put together and it usually requires a lot of money. However within recent years thanks to technology and the creation of online crowdfunding, we’re seeing a huge boom of independent developers creating their own games that are not only good, but also incredibly successful. Games such as Dust: An Elysian Tale, Ori and the Blind Forest and The Stanley Parable have all seen such resounding praise from players and critics from all across the board, perhaps even more so than most AAA titled games that have been released within the last few years. Toby Fox’s Undertale was by far (and still is) the most talked about game of the decade. With its humor, story, characters, and of course its soundtrack, it reached several Game of the Year lists and grew a dedicated fanbase within mere days of its release date on September 15th, 2015.

Considering that Toby Fox created the entire game himself, it’s no surprise that he would create the entire soundtrack himself as well. But it would probably come to few people’s attention of just how amazing this soundtrack is. Not only does it pay homage to the music of many older games, but it manages to reflect the emotion and story throughout the entire two-hour runtime. Almost every song has its own unique style and sound to it, like the entertainingly catchy “Bonetrousle”, or the hilarious “Temmie Village” (by far the soundtrack’s funniest song). Every song has its own tone as well, be it emotional (“Undertale”, “His Theme”), or dramatic (“Hopes and Dreams”, “Spear of Justice”), or action-packed (“Spider Dance”, “SAVE the World”), or just downright silly (“Dummy”, “Dogsong”), you’ll be constantly invested in what the soundtrack manages to deliver. Influences range from games back in the NES days to even some of the more modern classics. Songs like “Oh! One True Love” harken back to Ocarina of Time while other such as “Snowy”, “Waterfall” and “It’s Raining Somewhere Else” remind us of more recent role-playing games such as Tales of Symphonia and Xenoblade Chronicles. Some of the heavier tracks such as “Hopes and Dreams” and “Meglovania” are reminiscent towards Bayonetta while earlier influences of Battletoads and the first Final Fantasy games are present in “Enemy Approaching” and “Stronger Monsters”.

The soundtrack is also well executed in terms of the instrumentation. While it may not seem as impressive at first glance, the amount of work put into some of the songs showcases the level of talent Toby Fox has as a self-taught musician. The overall sound combines a lot of the older styles of NES video games and mixes it with modern touches of pianos, bass, and electric guitar work. Even the orchestral sounds feel authentic at times such as in “An Ending” and “Snowdin Town”. The mixture of these elements helps give the sound a refreshing taste without sacrificing its own identity, and it’s why this soundtrack works so well.

Sadly, the only unfortunate flaw in the soundtrack is that a few of game’s melodies, especially the main theme, repeat themselves all too often which does lead to some repetitive tracks. For instance, “Spear of Justice” is just sped up versions of “NGAHHH” with some minor differences. There are also times where some of the shorter songs feel rather unnecessary and are more or less sound effects than actual songs, such as “Long Elevator”. Even so, they never really ruin the experience that the rest of the soundtrack has to offer.

Undertale has become a modern marvel in the gaming community, and its soundtrack is one of the reasons as to why is has become such a landmark. Here, it pays incredible homage towards its influences and will certainly give many listeners nostalgia towards those once classic games. However, despite the immense amount of influences, the soundtrack itself never feels dated thanks to Toby Fox’s well executed songwriting and musicianship. Every emotion, character, and style is present in Undertale’s soundtrack and the result is arguably one of the best video game soundtracks created within the last fifteen years, maybe one of the best video game soundtracks of all time. Regardless of what Toby Fox has in store for us next time around, we will be sitting here listening and playing Undertale and its music for years to come.



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user ratings (166)
Chart.
4.1
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
Toondude10
April 11th 2016


13271 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

thanks to Sowing for proofreading this but as usual additional feedback is appreciated.



Kinda surprised that this didn't get a review earlier considering how popular this game is.



list of some of my favorites off here:

Bonetrousle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdeZwAk6ULE

Undertale: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBhFHJMVfiI

Spider Dance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZ3XjVVNagU

Death By Glamour: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2TgO-tN5wAM

Hopes and Dreams: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tz82xbLvK_k

Meglovania: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5daGZ96QGU

Digging: Ice Nine Kills - The Silver Scream

LotusFlower
April 11th 2016


12001 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

"Kinda surprised that this didn't get a review earlier considering how popular this game is."



i was working on a review, but I found it pretty damn hard to try to touch base on a 101 track OST. glad this got a review, though. One of my favorite game soundtracks in a long time. Probably even better than the game itself.

SowingSeason
Moderator
April 11th 2016


28120 Comments


Good review man, have a pos.

Digging: mewithoutYou - [Untitled]

Toondude10
April 11th 2016


13271 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

thanks :-)



now where's my contributor promotion (I kid)

JigglyPDiddy
April 11th 2016


3322 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

But weren't you trying to "low-key" take over the site yesterday, Toondude?



Love this thing, btw.

Toondude10
April 11th 2016


13271 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"But weren't you trying to "low-key" take over the site yesterday, Toondude?"



since when? I don't recall that, unless you were referring to those alts someone made yesterday

JJKeys
April 11th 2016


989 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nice review, pos'd - just watch out for typos ("Spear of Justic")



Although you criticize it, I find the repetition of themes to be the OST's strongest asset - it keeps themes relevantly linked to each character/s (Dummy! / Ghost Battle) or ideals (Your Best Friend / But Nobody Came).



Also - all Asriel themes make me cry so GG Toby, you son of a bitch

Supercoolguy64
April 11th 2016


8590 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

OST is so beast

Hopes And Dreams > Your Best Nightmare > Another Medium > Spider's Dance > everything else imo

Digging: Autechre - LP5

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
April 11th 2016


56160 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

soundtrack is good

game is whatever

Digging: Lil B - Options

Hellscythe
April 11th 2016


2930 Comments


I have this game but haven't gotten a chance to play it

haven't heard the soundtrack yet either, but the guest guitarist on the title track/main theme is a good friend of mine so I feel like I probably should check it out at some point

LotusFlower
April 11th 2016


12001 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

"Sadly, the only unfortunate flaw in the soundtrack is that a few of game’s melodies, especially the main theme, repeat themselves all too often which does lead to some repetitive tracks. For instance, “Spear of Justice” is just sped up versions of “NGAHHH” with some minor differences."



In all honest, the use of leitmotifs in the soundtrack is for the most part for character building or some kind of joke (Like the sped up version of Spear of Justice which plays twice for two different in-game jokes). Even then, Toby does enough with the bits and pieces of earlier track melodies to make the new songs sound completely independent. Metal Crush and Death By Glamour contain pieces of every Mettaton related song in some form or another, yet they sound like completely different themes all together.



Talking about this soundtrack and its use of recycled melodies would be really interesting because it opens the door to a massive analysis of the game's characters and how the soundtrack works in hand through its composition to develop their in-battle character arcs. Which is why I abandoned a review in the first place because this soundtrack is way too clever for its own good.

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
April 11th 2016


6675 Comments


"It seemed that only ten years ago, the idea of one creating their own game was but a fantasy. "

indie video games have been around since the early 90s, if not sooner. the rest of the paragraph seems fine but that one line irks me a bit. you could improve it by saying something along the lines of, "It seemed that only ten years ago, the idea of one creating their own game to widespread acclaim was but a fantasy." it certainly is rare for indie video games to get as much exposure as this game has

emester
April 11th 2016


8249 Comments


Game is awesome (well just the pacifist route really)

But the soundtrack is all over the place quality wise. So many tracks with potential t be something big are neutered to just in game loops.

Really that is a problem with all video game music but it's especially apparent here.

Gyromania
April 11th 2016


25902 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

yeah a lot of the earliest games were from independent coders. might want to change that. the real accomplishment here is the sheer scope of the world, animations, dialogue, and entire soundtrack that was pretty much solely composed by toby fox.

LotusFlower
April 11th 2016


12001 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Outside of a few coding and art assets from two other individuals, Toby was the sole creator of Undertale. Which is even more impressive. But less we forget one of the most popular and acclaimed indie games of all time, Cave Story, was created 100% by Pixel alone over a decade ago.

emester
April 11th 2016


8249 Comments


Didn't Pixel spawn Nicalis from the success of Cave Story?

If so, thats beyond amazing as I'm not sure if the said developer makes original games or just ports of indie projects

LotusFlower
April 11th 2016


12001 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

If my memory serves me right, Nicalis was formed in America and took Cave Story and then proceeded to publish it on 20 million different platforms. Their relation to Pixel doesnt go beyond that.

Mongi123
April 11th 2016


19762 Comments


Great review dude, but I also think you should take that out as well. Have a pos!

PostMesmeric
April 11th 2016


731 Comments


I'm going to say something that many people will find blasphemous: I don't like this game very much.

Toondude10
April 11th 2016


13271 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

*audible gasp*



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