Mon­ster Prom

For­mat PC Pub­lisher Those Awe­some Guys De­vel­oper Beau­ti­ful Glitch ETA Our now Play­ers 1-4 Love in the time of mon­sters

Games Master - - Review -

“Mon­ster Prom is a fun di­ver­sion, but it has some­thing of an iden­tity prob­lem”

If Amer­i­can movies are to be be­lieved, the school prom is a vi­tal land­mark in ev­ery­one’s life. (Not ev­ery­one has them, and some of us had videogames to play. Can’t go to a loud room full of drunk stu­dents when it’s Raid night – come on, think about this.) A hit on Kick­starter back in late 2016, Mon­ster Prom promised a unique take on the dat­ing sim, the vis­ual novel, and the con­cept of beauty it­self! Well, the first two. Ev­ery­one’s pretty con­ven­tion­ally cute here. At any rate, it’s fi­nally here – does it give us what was promised?

Ghoul friend

Mon­ster Prom is an in­trigu­ing mix of tra­di­tional vis­ual novel me­chan­ics and party-game za­ni­ness. One to four play­ers take con­trol of young mon­strous high­school­ers, and in the three weeks be­fore prom go about court­ing one of six po­ten­tial prom dates: Liam the hip­ster vam­pire, Damien the psy­chotic de­mon, Scott the jock were­wolf, Mi­randa the posh fish­girl, Vera the mean-girl gor­gon, and Dolly the party-mad ghost. Each player has a cer­tain num­ber of turns (which varies de­pend­ing on the num­ber of play­ers and cho­sen game length) to take part in school ac­tiv­i­ties, im­prove their stats, and en­dear them­self to the mon­ster of their dreams. At the end, you must choose a mon­ster to ask to the prom – whether they say yes or not de­pends on your per­for­mance.

The ma­jor sell­ing point of Mon­ster Prom is the ab­so­lutely fan­tas­tic art. It’s cute, it’s ex­pres­sive, and it’s charm­ing. Char­ac­ters have a range of ex­pres­sions and out­fits, and there are tons of unique scenes to be found. De­spite some­times be­ing pretty hor­ri­ble in­di­vid­u­als, it’s hard not to love all of the main cast due to the high-qual­ity art­work. The style might not ap­peal to those look­ing for grit and re­al­ism… but then those peo­ple shouldn’t be buy­ing a game called Mon­ster Prom.

The writ­ing is bub­bly and, more of­ten than not, gen­uinely funny. It’s pretty risqué, with drugs, sex, and gen­eral mis­be­haviour a con­stant topic of con­ver­sa­tion. The main flaw of the writ­ing is that it can be a lit­tle too quirky at times, to the point where it be­comes grat­ing. There’s only so many times you can chuckle at a hy­per­bolic joke about danc­ing cats, cre­ative ar­son, or meta-memes. There’s not a great deal of depth ei­ther. The sto­ry­lines are quick and comedic, which is as in­tended (each run takes about 30 to 60 min­utes), but this doesn’t mo­ti­vate re­peated playthroughs. The game does have laud­able in­clu­siv­ity, with pro­noun op­tions and no re­stric­tions on char­ac­ter sex­u­al­ity.

Mon­ster Prom is a fun di­ver­sion, but it has some­thing of an iden­tity prob­lem. Is it a vis­ual novel with many paths, de­signed to be played many times to see all the end­ings? Or is it a silly party game, meant to be en­joyed with drinks and friends? It has quite con­fus­ing me­chan­ics that re­quire re­peated playthroughs to un­der­stand, which would sug­gest the for­mer. But it’s also silly and kind of shal­low, and quickly gets repet­i­tive when played alone. There are se­cret end­ings and hun­dreds of pos­si­ble events, but in or­der to see them you may have to wade through the same se­ries of events dozens of times. It’s def­i­nitely worth play­ing, but don’t ex­pect more than a few hours’ en­ter­tain­ment.

Mon­strous abom­i­na­tions have never been so adorable and char­ac­ter­ful. Do we have to pick just one?

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