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