Back in 2014 a little game called The Yawhg came out and it was… alright. It was a multiplayer Choose-Your-Own-Adventure set in a fantasy town with dark undertones. An interesting experiment with the genre that lay forgotten until now.
Monster Prom by Beautiful Glitch takes the CYOA gameplay of The Yawhg and ships it with the world of dating sims to create something that in a shorter review I would simply refer to as pure gold. The premise: you are a student at Monster High and must romance one of the six most popular monsters at school for the Monster Prom.
Players choose one of four playable monsters: a zombie, female frankenstein, shadow monster, and a fire haired woman (who I suspect is meant to be a djinn but can’t find any proof). They can then name themselves as they like and, this was an interesting choice, choose their pronoun. It’s a small addition that doesn’t make a lick of difference for most people but is refreshing to see.
Monster Prom then unleashes you on Monster High to pursue your chosen beau as best as you can. Each romance option (ro-monster?) has a different stat that they represent. Party ghost, Polly Geist is Fun; Scott Howl is Charm; Liam De Lioncourt is Creativity. Each turn you get to pick a location on the school map to hang out; the classroom, library, gym, auditorium, outdoors, bathroom. If you’re lucky, you’ll get an event with your ro-monster.
Quick aside, the events in Monster Prom are over the top, hilarious, and plentiful. The post game credits boasted over a thousand events and dozens of ends.
One event we got had the dreamy werewolf athlete Scott Howl tell us about his furry forest friends and that they had crowned him king. He was proud of his furries and who were we to break his heart and tell him the truth!? The options were clear; lie to Scott and let him keep his idiotic charm or tell him that he was hanging with a bunch of kinksters in the woods? The choices are not always so clear though and with the vast number of possible events I can see Monster Prom becoming a party favourite.
After each round the game prompts the players to pick an object, food, career, animal, etc and say it out loud to the group. Then it asks you who’s choice would be weirdest as a sexy costume, best in the bedroom, worst as a sex toy. Its dumb, vulgar, and fucking hilarious. Whoever wins goes first in the next round.
In between exploring Monster High there are lunch rounds, where you can choose who to sit next to, giving you a shot at your crush (and locking the table for later players, i.e losers) and weekend rounds which give a random player a go at the character they have the highest affinity with (or at least that’s how it seems to work, don’t quote me). Sweet Scott asked me what I thought of another player, the player that happened to be romancing him. If she was a sport, what sport would she be? ALLBALL, the perfect combination of football, basketball, volleyball or Chess. I looked to my side at the player and smiled, I held the power. My own romantic endeavours had failed miserably, docking me two smarts and three fun and now there was a chance to level the playing field.
But I couldn’t. Scott Howl deserved happiness and I had no intentions of pursuing him. Much like The Yahwg, the players are pursuing (mostly) different goals and only interfere with each others plans by accident or when they choose to be dicks.
Monster Prom is strangely immersive and incredibly fun. The characters, while mostly over exaggerated stereotypes of high-school cliques are really likable and engaging. Beautiful art with dozens of reactions, outfit changes, and animated expressions makes them come to life on the screen (especially if you take it in turns narrating them).
Monster Prom innovates on a genre mashup that I thought would never work and with its over the top writing style, ridiculous characters, insane choices, and party focus, I know this will be a staple of game nights to come. You can play online or local and I urge you, get your friends round and live the high school life you always wanted back when you wrote Deviantart OCs. You know who you are.
You can get Monster Prom on Steam for £9.29