The Monster Prom approacheth! You, a monster, need a date. Will you be able to date your dream monster, or will your love of Liam be crushed again and again and again?
Title: Monster Prom
Developer: Beautiful Glitch
Publisher: Those Awesome Guys
Release Date: April 27, 2018
Oh, gods. It’s six weeks to the Monster Prom, and you haven’t even begun to seduce a date yet! How will you ever manage to avoid social shame and a boring night alone? Perhaps with a dead body, an obscure Russian novel, and a rave behind the school? Maybe by helping a local coven? Or perhaps you should sidle on up to the resident mermaid princess and hope for the best? Monster Prom is a zany dating sim with two twists: the first, it can be played alone or with friends. The second: it’s super short and easy to repeat, with so many endings and possibilities the game enters rogue-like territory while you try to discover them all.
In Monster Prom, you are one of four playable monsters eager to get a date for your high school prom. Your options include two male presenting and two female presenting avatars that you can name as you choose, with the option to select from he/his, she/hers, and they/them pronouns for each. These in no way limit your dating pool, as according to the Steam store page, “finding love is already hard enough.” Excellent.
There are two different game options, short (about 30 minutes) or long (about 60), taking place over three or six “weeks” before the prom. You begin with a quick magazine quiz to determine your base stats. Then, each week consists of two periods during which you can choose your activity, and a lunch for which you can choose who to sit with. What you do affects the stats boosts you’ll get each period, which in turn affects whether or not you can successfully complete certain actions during dialogue with your fellow monsters. For example, if you’re creative enough, you can successfully write a new chapter to a beloved erotic novel that all your peers will gush over. If your creativity is too low, it’ll flop, and you’ll lose even more stats and appeal in their eyes.
At the end of the game, you’ll be given the option to ask one of them to prom, or go it solo. Depending on how much of their affection you’ve gained over the course of the game (as well as other events such as, apparently, whether or not you’re still dressed as a ghost), you may or may not succeed. There’s often more to winning their affections than just succeeding in every conversation.
Monster Prom’s bite-sized visual novel format is brilliantly executed. Per the stat sheet at the end of every game, there are dozens of possible endings, outcomes, and scenes you can see. When you first start playing, you’ll probably fail to get a date repeatedly (I certainly did), but you’ll also gain new knowledge to assist you on your next run. It’s like a visual novel and a rogue-like had a beautiful baby if that baby also included competitive multiplayer.
Monster Prom has me sitting at work, calculating what I can possibly do to get Liam to date me
The competitive multiplayer is a great addition, by the way, though I was only able to test local and not online. It’s the same game, but you compete to win your ideal monsters. Up to four can play at a time, and the goofy, self-aware dialogue and fast pace makes this a great couch co-op game, even with friends unfamiliar with dating sims. The one drawback is that some of the systems (such as how and why stats work) are not clearly explained even in single-player. If you’ve been playing for hours and invite a pal to join you fresh, the discrepancy might annoy them. Do this at your own risk, or find other seasoned players online when the servers go live.
You’re not limited to just trying to woo the six favored monsters. There are other characters, too, such as the temperamental Slayer and an interdimensional Casanova. They can pop in to ruin your chances with some dates, or you can pursue their dialogue to unlock other options. After ten or so hours of play, I still haven’t seen anywhere near all the options, and there are secret endings, hidden characters, and extra items to unlock that can all change how the game plays out. No two runs are the same, though my one complaint is that as you start to work toward unlocking more hidden endings, certain conversations and events get repetitive and grating.
I recommend Monster Prom not only for those already into goofy dating sims, but also for those who want to dip their toe in and try something new. Its writing can be a bit much at times, though the occasional self-effacing joke from the narrator reminds you that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Personally, I can be lukewarm on dating sims, but Monster Prom has me sitting at work, calculating what I can possibly do to get Liam to date me, gosh darnit.
A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.