There are a lot of intriguing characters in Undertale. Each of them seems to have a unique personality and motivations that are a nice change of pace from other role-playing games (RPGs). Papyrus is one of those characters.
The way Papyrus talks and acts reminds me of some people I’ve met. I felt that he doesn’t know who he is and is just trying to be popular. He wants to have friends but doesn’t know how to make them. I’m reminded of the people I know who change their personality to best fit into the group they think is popular.
In this Papyrus Undertale guide, I’ll talk a bit more about what I think of him as we go on. There is a lot to cover here as Papyrus is one of the first characters you can turn from foe to friend. For now, let’s go over how the game introduces us to Papyrus.
Key details Up Front
- Character Type: Boss/NPC
- Difficulty: Easy once you know the pattern
- First Encounter: On the road to Snowdin
- Optional: You have to fight him, but the Side Quest is optional
- Personality: Seems arrogant at first. He just wants people to like him. He’s also very intense.
- Skills: Blue attacks. These are the attacks where you aren’t supposed to move to avoid being hit.
- Side Quests: You can go on a date with him.
You first hear about Papyrus from his brother, Sans. He warns you about Papyrus and tells you that he isn’t all that bad of a guy. It seems that Sans thinks his brother doesn’t want to hurt anyone, and I got the same impression.
Sans describes his brother as a human-hunting fanatic because he sees it as a way to gain popularity with the cool kids. We also find out that Papyrus isn’t very good at catching humans, and his traps aren’t all that hard to figure out.
This is a nice way to introduce some more challenging puzzles. I didn’t find anything that Papyrus threw at me to be too hard. They do make you think a bit, though.
Papyrus thinks he wants a few things:
- And to join the Royal Guard
He wants to have a friend and to be popular. He reminds me of other people I’ve known.
When you first meet Papyrus, he is arguing with Sans. The two like each other, but they have different goals in life. Sans seems to want to make his brother smile, and Papyrus wants to be important.
I like how he tries to match the puns that Sans makes. He did an okay job. Just keep working at it, Papyrus; you’ll be funny eventually!
We learn that Papyrus has never seen a human before from this first encounter. Sans asks you to play along with Papyrus. He wants his brother to be happy and lets you know that he isn’t dangerous. The boss fight might disagree with Sans here, but I got the impression that Papyrus didn’t want to hurt me.
When he finally sees you, Papyrus is very excited! He informs you of the upcoming “traps” that he has set for you. This is kind of the second dungeon you have to get through. You also get introduced to the “blue attacks,” where you need to stay still to avoid them.
Let’s go through the different puzzles that Papyrus and Sans through at you.
This feels a bit like when Toriel guides you through a maze. Papyrus has created an electric maze with invisible walls! Truly horrifying!
He shows you the path to get through it. Papyrus didn’t mean to do this, but he needed you to hold an orb for the electric shocks to affect you. Just follow the path he leaves, and you will be fine.
After that, Sans thanks you for playing along with Papyrus. He also tells you about the outfit his brother is wearing. It was for a costume party, and he just hasn’t taken it off. Papyrus calls it his battle body.
From here, you go to a joke puzzle set up by Sans. I’m not going to dwell on this one. It’s just a note on the ground, and you can get past it easily. You do get a question on whether a crossword or the junior jumble is harder to solve. I don’t think it matters which you choose.
This isn’t a puzzle. Papyrus leaves you a note telling you to enjoy the spaghetti. I’m not sure how long it’s been sitting there. His note also tells you that this is a trap. I feel like this is self-sabotage.
The spaghetti is frozen to the plate, and there is an unplugged microwave next to it. All of the settings have been labeled spaghetti. So, even if you wanted to, you couldn’t heat the questionable spaghetti anyway.
There is no place to plug in the microwave, and you can move on after saving.
Papyrus asks you if you ate the spaghetti. If you tell him you left it, he thinks you wanted to share it with him, and he promises to make you more.
Turning Xs into Os Puzzles
This is where the more challenging puzzles, or the real puzzles, begin. This one is still pretty easy. Just walk over the Xs and turn them into Os. You can restart this puzzle at any time by pressing the button.
It took me a few attempts to get it right because I screwed up and walked back over one of the Xs. You do get some more dialogue with our guy Papyrus. He offers to solve it for you but tells you to try it first.
Once it’s done, he tells you he’s impressed and believes you care about puzzles as much as he does. He also complains about Sans.
They tease an overly complicated puzzle after this, and you know it’s too complicated because even Papyrus gets confused by his instructions. Here is a list of what he says the first time.
- Red tiles are impassible.
- Yellow tiles are electric.
- Green tiles are alarm tiles. These will have you fight a monster.
- Orange tiles are scented and make you smell delicious.
- Blue tiles are water tiles filled with piranhas that like the scent of oranges.
- Purple tiles are slippery and smell like lemons, which the blue tiles piranhas don’t like.
- Pink tiles don’t do anything.
Did you get all that? Well, don’t worry, keep telling Papyrus that you don’t understand, and you can pass this. It’s an example of Papyrus trying too hard to capture a human. He wants to catch one, but I don’t think he would know what to do if he did since you’re the first one he has seen!
Papyrus will leave the puzzle’s instructions and tell you to try this one on your own when you understand. You can’t read the instructions because Papyrus’s handwriting is terrible.
Once this is over, Sans will tell you that Papyrus has been taking cooking lessons. He also compliments his brother’s cooking.
The next turning X to O puzzle is a bit more challenging because you have to slide around on the ice. You can fall off the ledge here, so be careful. There isn’t any dialogue with our guy on this one, so I’m going to skip ahead.
The Bridge and a Turning Point for Papyrus
You walk along a bridge until Papyrus and Sans are insight. Papyrus will then tell you this is his most dangerous challenge! A spiked ball, a flamethrower, a pear, a cannon, and a puppy appear on either side of the bridge.
Instead of doing anything, Papyrus has second thoughts about activating this challenge. He says the challenge is too hard for you and says they can’t use it. I like to think this is when he starts to think about his actions. He doesn’t want to hurt you, and he probably doesn’t want to catch you.
Instead, he sends the scary stuff and the puppy away, then declares victory! Talk to Sans, and he seems a bit confused about what his brother will do next. He reminds you of Blue attacks, and you proceed to the next scene.
This leads you to the town of Snowdin. We explore the town and get ready for the boss fight with Papyrus.
Mechanics of the Papyrus boss fight
Once you leave the town of Snowdin, you run into Papyrus. This is where you finally fight him. After he tells you about some complex feelings, he has. I’m going for a Pacifist run, so I will let him beat me three times. This is how the battle unfolded for me.
I chose to flirt with him, he then suggested a date, but he has high standards. I then told him I could cook spaghetti, and he told me I was meeting all of his high standards.
I decided to let him capture me. This resulted in him sending me to his garage. This is a weird game. Don’t worry about being caught. Papyrus made the bars wide enough for you to walk through.
When you lose the second time, he tells you that the garage has been upgraded to prevent you from escaping. This upgrade is the honor system. He wants you to ask before you exit and adds that he was worried about you leaving the last time. Nothing stops you from leaving.
The third time around, he apologizes for not making you some spaghetti the last time. After he beats you the third time, he gives you a grammar lesson and sends you back to the garage.
When you reencounter him, he tells you that he is getting tired of capturing you. Then you get an option of fighting him or not. I chose no, and he let me pass.
You can then be friends with Papyrus, which is all he’s wanted this whole time. He also looks pretty excited about hitting the friend zone. I’m not sure he knows what that means but let’s not take away his happiness.
Papyrus then tells you how to get back to the surface. He also tells you why the King wants to capture humans. He needs their souls to break through the barrier.
From here, you can move on to the next area, or you can go back and visit Papyrus at his house. This leads to our date with him. I’ll cover that in the next section.
There is one last thing to say about Papyrus. As you leave, you overhear a conversation between Papyrus and Undyne. Papyrus tells Undyne that he did fight you but didn’t capture you. He says this regardless of you fighting him.
Papyrus tries to talk Undyne out for fighting you by saying the monsters don’t have to destroy humans. It doesn’t work, and he somewhat reluctantly agrees to help Undyne.
In this ending, Papyrus learns that there is no need for a royal guard anymore. This is pretty devastating for him, and he declares this to be the “Worst possible ending!” He probably gets over it.
Especially since he gets a nice red car! This was one of his dreams. However, Sans can pass him on a tricycle which makes Papyrus very mad! I’m a little glad that their sibling rivalry seems never to end and remain friendly.
Your interactions with Papyrus are mostly the same until the end of the battle. If you kill him, Papyrus will say that he thinks you can become a better person.
If you spare him, it triggers a Neutral route, and he also says that he is afraid of you.
Going on a Date with Papyrus
Let’s go on our date with Papyrus! When you visit his house in Snowdin, he is standing outside and tells you that he wants to take you someplace he spends a lot of time.
He leads you around the town for a minute, then returns to his house. Papyrus enters his home without you, and you can follow him. From here you can explore his house a bit. Both Papyrus and Sans live here.
You can explore his house all you want, and he follows you around to see what you’re doing. When you check the sink, Papyrus will explain that he keeps his bones in the cabinet under it. When you open it, a dog runs off with a bone.
Eventually, you go into his bedroom. Papyrus has a pretty awesome racecar bed! It’s a kid’s room, or mine, with more action figures and fewer video games. Papyrus says he has never been on a date before, but fear not, he has the official dating rulebook!
The date takes place on a combat screen. You have to answer some questions here, and like the rest of the game, it’s pretty funny. Papyrus says he has a secret for you, which is under his hat and turns out to be spaghetti.
Papyrus realizes he likes you as a friend and gives you his phone number. It’s a nice side quest.
The relationship between Papyrus and Sans is my favorite in the game. Sans is very carefree and doesn’t take anything seriously. He likes to mess with his brother a bit.
Papyrus is his opposite. He takes everything seriously, including taking care of Sans pet rock which he feeds by putting sprinkles on it.
They do care for each other even though they seem to fight. It’s like two kids. One is trying to be responsible and is angry that the other doesn’t do things the same way. Sans says a lot of nice things about his brother. It’s an odd relationship, but one that feels real.
Papyrus is driven to be a royal guard. He tries hard to become one, to the point that he’s probably trying too hard.
Papyrus views both Flowery and Undyne as his friends. Papyrus tries to convince Undyne to let him join the Royal Guard. Flowery is slightly different as he manipulates Papyrus into doing what he wants.
My Favorite Papyrus Quotes
Papyrus has some memorable quotes, but this one is probably my favorite!
“You can’t spell prepared without several letters from my name!!!”
He says this during the date you have with him, and it’s excellent!
While exploring his room, you’ll see a bunch of action figures set up on a table. When you interact with them, you get this gem.
“Ah, yes, action figures. A great reference for theoretical battle scenarios.”
This sounds like a more adult way to say, “These are for work, Mom!”
Question: What happens if you don’t flirt with Papyrus?
Answer: If you don’t flirt with him, Papyrus will invite you to hang out instead of going on a date.
Question: Can you spare Papyrus and get the Genocide ending?
Answer: No, if you spare him, then you abort the Genocide route.
Question: Can you get the true pacifist ending without going on a date with Papyrus?
Answer: You just need to befriend him and spare his life as far as I can tell. I haven’t seen anything that says you have to go on a date with him. You do need to hang out with him and get his phone number.
Question: Do you ever see the Mice that occasionally near save points?
Answer: I’ve never seen them while playing, and from what I’ve read, no, you don’t see them. However, if you try to talk to the holes in the wall, you can hear them squeak. I guess it’s just to add something to the save points.
Papyrus isn’t a bad guy at all. He wants to make friends but doesn’t seem to know how to do it. He has a friendly relationship with Sans even if it looks like they fight, and Sans gets under his skin.
As we can see from his attempts to join the Royal Guard, he wants to be accepted. Even if he has no chance of doing so. Papyrus sees joining the guard as being his ticket to popularity and respect.
I feel bad for Papyrus. He reminds me of one of those people who never wanted to hang out with the people who liked him. He wants to be with who he thinks are the cool kids. In this case, he wants to be in the Royal Guard even though he probably won’t be let in.
His relationship with his brother Sans is fun. The two have clashing personalities, making for fun back and forth conversations.
In the end, he’s just looking for a friend.