Developer: Beautiful Glitch Publisher: Those Awesome Guys Platform: PC Review code provided
After 24/7 dating sims on mobile, horse-with-a-human-head dating sims and pigeon dating sims, Beautiful Glitch brings us the next craziest thing: multiplayer dating sims. Although Monster Prom sounds like it’d be a chaotic mess, it’s less of a mess and more chaotic fun. You can play with up to four players, either over screenshare or the in-game online function, and compete over the monsters you want to fawn over you. Another important part of the game that’s worth mentioning is that you can choose your pronouns (he/she/they, no matter what avatar you choose) and romance any of the six characters in the cast. This makes it one of the more inclusive dating sims I’ve seen.
Whether you’d rather the literally hot-headed demon Damian, the immortal hipster vampire Liam, the stone-cold gorgon Vera, the werewolf jock Scott, the party-‘til-we-die ghost Polly or the mermaid princess Miranda, the game will let you pine for whoever you want, but whether they want you back or not is a different question. Throughout the 6 weeks of gameplay (taking place over 18 playable moments) you can always choose where you want to go, what stats you want to brush up on and who you want to impress. The more you start going after a certain person, the more likely they are to turn up after an action.
The morning and evening phases are usually the same but with different lighting, and depending on what you want to see or what stats you want more of, you can choose where to go around the school. Of course, your character isn’t rebellious enough to leave the school premises, but you can wag school by just going to the bathroom instead of going to class. In between those two phases, you find yourself in the lunch phase, where the most awful, earth-shattering, devastating decision must be made: where will you sit? If you want to stay close to someone’s heart, you better do so literally as much as figuratively, so sit your ass down at the table and make some small talk, usually in the form of giving people advice on how to either a) kill someone, b) cause mass destruction, c) solve their problem, d) all of the above.
In every phase, you can choose to go to the shop instead, buying something that can cause a special event to happen, or is just weird. The shop is marked in the mornings and evenings by the shopkeepers’ face on one of the signs for where you can spend time, and marked at a table by the same face at lunchtime. The special events can be quite funny, but also can lead to your playthrough being ruined if you mess up badly enough, so make sure that you still impress your crush enough, no matter what you buy.
The multiplayer version works by giving each player a separate turn where they get to choose who they want to go after. Competing for the same crush will most likely end in heartbreak for at least one of the two, depending on who got more affection from their special someone. Make sure you choose all the right options or the monster you’re pining for might just end up turning you the other cheek.
The game is filled to the brim with satirical references to the real world, even going meta at times to make fun of the structure of the game. Don’t try doing that yourself, though, the narrator doesn’t like it. The story itself is a bit whimsical and almost serves as more of a frame for the goings-on at Monster High wherever you go, but it works better that way. Forcing the players into a story where things are too predictable depending on who you choose wouldn’t fit the game’s style at all. In fact, the situations and events you can face are mostly randomized, so it’s not possible to see every situation in one or even a few games. This way, the game stays replayable and fresh whenever you play it, although I wouldn’t recommend binging the game several times in a row. Then it can become slightly monotonous.
As a single-player game, Monster Prom is fun, but might not necessarily keep you occupied for very long. Its multiplayer mode is where it really shines, even if it still has the occasional bug or two; the devs are currently hard at work trying to fix it. The good thing is that the game is also playable with multiple friends on a single computer, too, or even while screensharing, so if you want to get together with some monsters spontaneously, you don’t all have to buy a copy, as long as someone in the group has one (or at least one copy for every four people).
Despite its cutesy exterior, Monster Prom does occasionally wander off into the darker end, but it never takes itself seriously, which is definitely one of its strengths. Add this to the fact that each of the characters has a unique personality and different reactions to everything, and you’ve got a hell of a time.
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Monster Prom is fun alone, but even more so in a group, with quirky characters that couldn't be more different from each other to fight over, and it's monstrously hilarious to boot. Microtransactions: none
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