If you don’t listen to the official GameCola Podcast, you may have missed how often we talk about 2015’s winner of Best Indie Game AND Best Story, Undertale. Actually, this won’t even be the first time we mention the music of Undertale—Anna already did a bit of that.
But, I want to go a bit more in-depth about the music of Undertale. Even before I beat the game, I already downloaded the soundtrack. I listen to it at home. I listen to it at work. I even have it on the SD card full of music I keep in my car so I can listen to it while I drive.
… I mean, I do listen to other things sometimes! But there’s always some reason to listen to the Undertale soundtrack.
How about we start with one of the greatest boss battle themes for one of the greatest boss battles of all time? While it might not be the kind of thing I’d listen to on an average day, in terms of songs that really get you ready for the excitement, it ranks up there with the likes of Mystic Quest, Final Fantasy IV, and Final Fantasy VI.
Looking for something a little less intense? You can try this next one! Or, we can keep going down the list. There’s plenty of variety in the soundtrack—after all, the playlist I’m pulling from has 183 videos in it.
Kind of reminiscent of Ace Attorney, isn’t it? There’s more than a few musical references like that in the soundtrack, and an even wider variety just in general. Whether you’re looking for a hit on the dance floor from the early ’90s, some jazzy electro swing, more pure NES-style tunes, or maybe some NES-style tunes that are less so, there’s something for everyone!
I’m familiar with Toby Fox from back when I cared about Homestuck, and when I say that it’s more of the same, I mean that entirely in the best way possible. There are so many artists I’ve enjoyed over the years who either faded out at some point or only produce new content around the time you forgot they existed. Toby doesn’t seem to have any problems in that department.
I do have to be honest, though. While the huge variety always gives you something to listen to, it does make the game a bit of a mishmash while playing. Don’t get me wrong—I loved the game and there was never anything so jarring that it took me out of the moment, but you might not guess that half of these tracks are from the same game if you hear them separately. Or even next to each other sometimes.
I can also say that playing the game brings a certain amount of attachment. Papyrus’ battle theme is always fun, even if you’ve never played, but nothing beats that first time it starts in the game. I think I say something similar for pretty much everything I cover in this column, but in this case, I’d almost recommend holding off on listening to too much if you plan on playing the game at some point. There’s often a lot of emotion to the moment a song starts, and it might not have quite the same feeling if you’ve already listened to it for hours. Or, maybe that’s just me.
But, if you’re like me and have beaten the game and listen to the music regularly? There’s still always something new out there. Want to listen to the music in acapella form? Of course there’s a whole playlist of that. Played on nothing but floppy disk drives? This guy’s done half the soundtrack. Maybe kazoos? You wouldn’t think you’d want that, but you do. And, don’t imagine that half of YouTube hasn’t tried their hand at slam jam remixes.
Seriously, Toby Fox has done some amazing things with Undertale, and the music is no small part of that. Still not interested after listening to the music? Well, like Sans says: It’s a beautiful day outside.