Undertale created by Toby Fox. 
Images used for educational purposes only.

The Ruins

- After naming your plucky adventurer, you start off in a cave. Head east and you’ll meet Flowey, who will give you a short tutorial regarding the game mechanics. Things will not go terribly well.

- Next up is a goatish person named Toriel. Follow Toriel north to find a purple-bricked room. To the north is a sparkling yellow thing that can restore your health. It also allows you to save. Do so now. Huzzah!

- Toriel now leads you on a proper tutorial in several adjacent rooms. Eventually you’ll have to face off against a Dummy, your first opponent of the game. This leads us to combat in Undertale.

Flowey. He's a jerk.

Undertale is fairly unique among RPGs in that you have several options for completing a battle. The two dominant methods are as follows:
  • Killing your opponent. If you Fight you can reduce the enemy’s HP. Reduce it to zero to end the battle and kill the enemy. When attacking you are given a meter which slides from one side to the other; the closer you stop the slider to the middle of the meter, the more damage your attacks will do.
  • Speaking to and / or Sparing your opponent. If you Act during combat you can stall an enemy and learn more about them with Compliments and Threats. You can drive said enemies away with the proper conversational choices, allowing you to advance without killing anything. You do not gain experience by doing this, so your character will be weak throughout the game. Just saying.
Which path you take makes a difference to the outcome of the game, so choose wisely. If you have to endure an enemy attack you’ll need to evade their strikes via a small box that appears near the bottom of the screen; the nature of these attacks changes from enemy to enemy, and the mini games get harder and harder.

You can either destroy the Puppet, which will displease Toriel a tiny bit, or chatter at it, which will please her and set a more positive tone moving forward.

- The next room to the north contains a puzzle which you need to solve on your own. The solution’s simple enough - just talk to Toriel. She, ah, has some issues. As you walk through here you may start getting into random battles, though they’re sparse. You will run into the following foes:
  • Froggits. Hoppy frogs, Froggits have easy-to-avoid homing attacks. Spare them and they’ll leave. Anything else and they’ll stick around.
  • Whimsuns. These things are incredibly timid, and so long as you don’t move around during their attacks you’re perfectly safe. Whimsuns will flee if you try to Console them.
  • Migosps. Rarer than the other two, Migosps will use cockroaches to take you down, but they're bad at it. Shrug. These dudes won't be happy until they're alone on the battlefield, after which you can Spare them.
- The next room is a straight jaunt to the east. At the end Toriel will take off, giving you a Cell Phone. You can use this via the menu to speak to Toriel and learn more about her. She’ll also tell you not to wander away. You are quite obviously not going to listen to her. Continue east.

- There’s a save point in the next room, and the path splits. If you head north you’ll find a room with a pedestal. Upon the pedestal is Monster Candy. You are allowed to take Monster Candy. If you take four pieces at one time, however, the pedestal will spill and become useless. You can only carry eight things at a time, so don’t jam your inventory up too much. To the south in the save room is the path onward.

- The next ‘puzzle’ dumps you into a lower room. Go through the right door. In the next room Toriel will ask if you prefer Cinnamon or Butterscotch; answer accordingly. The puzzle in this room is preeeeetty simple, so, you know, push that danged rock. Carry on east.

- In this room you may start running into Froggit and Whimsun tag-teams, and their mini games will stack, so be prepared for more difficult dodging. The floor ahead will fall through, but only if you step on the tiles that correspond with the leaves on the floor in the room below. The picture below displays the leaves, for your strolling convenience.

The leaf puzzle in the ruins. Don't step on the leaves!
They won't hurt you, but it's still important.
- To the east is a room with three rocks. Move all three into place to advance to the right. (One of them has trouble with this relatively simple task.) You’ll start running into a new brand of enemy in this area:
  • Moldsmals. These sexy jigglers will drop exploding balls on you; weave to avoid ‘em. Three-at-a-time these dodging contests can get a bit hairy, but they’re not so bad once their numbers dwindle.
- Next up is a save room, as well as a Mouse Hole and some cheese. Nothing happens here, so don’t worry about it. Beyond this is arguably the first boss!

Napstablook, the ghost with the most.
Tears, that is.

Dayum, that’s some awesome music. Napstablook is a sad phantasm, and he’ll shower you with tears as attacks. Either they’ll travel along the outside of the box and move steadily inward or drop down as more straightforward torrents from above. The former attack is harder to avoid, but not by a whole lot - just don’t move too much. You can beat Napstablook to ‘death’ to end the battle, or, if you want a more benevolent route, you can Cheer him four times. Each time you Cheer him his crying attacks get less dangerous, and eventually he’ll end the battle and leave.

- The path past Napstablook splits. If you take a right you’ll find a ‘Spider Bake Sale’. Approach the smaller web and you can purchase Spider Donuts for 7 gold per donut. Approach the larger web and you can purchase Spider Cider for 18 gold per jug. (Buy a Spider Donut, at the very least, and save it; this will allow you to skip a boss battle later in the game.) To the north is a room with three Froggits; all three have some useful information about the game, particularly the third in line.

- The next room over contains six holes in the floor. The top-middle hole will take you to a switch that will get rid of spikes to your right, allowing you to advance. The next hole to the south leads to Napstablook, who got stuck, for no reason; in the bottom-left hole you’ll find a Faded Ribbon. You can equip the Ribbon. In this area you’ll also start running into a new enemy:
  • Vegetoids. Made of nutrition itself, Vegetoids will attempt to bombard you with falling veggies. Not too difficult to avoid. If you do enough damage to a Vegetoid (it will be labelled as ‘bruised’) you can Devour the enemy and regain 5 HP. (Note that these guys will appear in the lower rooms if you beat Napstablook with melee attacks rather than Sparing him.)
  • Looxes. One-eyed creeps, Looxes send easy-to-dodge hoops flying at you. Meh. Don't Pick On a Loox, then Spare.
- The next room to the east contains three coloured switches and a door to the south. If you go through the door, however, you’ll simply change the room’s perspective. Go through the southern exit to move the room, then hit the blue switch, which is now hidden behind the northeastern pillar. This will eliminate the spikes from the western exit. Hit the red switch in the next room, then the green switch (behind the northwestern pillar) in the last room.

- The path splits to the east. If you carry on east you’ll find a lovely landscape at the top of some stairs, and to your left is a Toy Knife. A new weapon is always welcome. To the north is a cut scene, and beyond that a small home.

Toriel’s Home

- You can explore a little, but there’s not a whole lot to see. (In particular you’ll be pulled away from the basement.) Follow Toriel to the left and she’ll introduce you to your room; if you hop in bed you’ll find Butterscotch Pie sitting on the floor when you wake up. Save this item! It fully restores your health, and should be kept for boss fights.

- Toriel is now sitting in the living room, to the west. Speak to her and press her on wanting to leave the Ruins. She’ll run into the basement. Follow her through the pathway and you’ll wind up facing the final boss of the Ruins in combat. Guess who it is!

Toriel. Maybe... maybe it's just another tutorial battle.

This battle seems epic, but it’s almost impossible to lose. You can’t speak to Toriel, so your only recourse is to attack. Smack away at her until she goes down. There’s no point in trying to keep your health high, because even though Toriel’s attacks seem potent at first she will deliberately miss you once your health is low enough. Easy peasy. (It’s actually harder to die during this fight than it is to lose. You need to take multiple bad hits during one of her non-missing cycles.) Alternatively, you can end this fight by Sparing her over and over.

There’s one more room past here, as well as a familiar (and unfriendly) face, and you’ll be off to a new area. Oooo.