Monster Loves You! (PC) Review
- It's a cheerful, witty and entertaining family-friendly choose-your-own-adventure style game
Not so much?
- It's short, and sometimes lacking in depth; replayability, while obviously intended, can get tedious
Monster Loves You is a pleasing, zany, and often hilarious story, overflowing with charm, and told through a well-presented choose-your-own-adventure style. If you miss the days of roleplaying books, or want to add variety to your family’s storytime, then grab it for a few hours of indie fun. It might be cheaper and more convenient to get it on a mobile device, though.
I miss the long-lost days of Choose-Your-Own-Adventure style books, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who would appreciate a nostalgia trip. Fortunately, the wonderfully crazy Dejobaan Games have teamed up with Radial Games to produce an enchanting family-friendly game firmly in that vein – though with both developers having a history of quirky, off-the-wall projects, this particular adventure has a refreshing touch of eccentricity and a nicely warped sense of humour.
The story itself is a good example of the sort of topsy-turvyness that you’ll encounter in the game: rather than playing as a boring human, you instead play through the life of a monster living in the dark forest, forever in fear of the dangerous (but fascinating) human civilisation. You’ll encounter all sorts of characters and settings from various fairy-tales, and modern cultural references too. The player navigates through the story using a very simple interface, where all the action is relayed through short text windows, sometimes accompanied by quirky little illustrations; the player’s input is limited to clicking on choices when they appear. However, your choices will cause your character’s statistics to change, which affects the later stages in the story considerably.
The game is broken up into chapters in your monster’s life, from your birth in the Spawning Pool through childhood and adolescence to adulthood and finally, if you’re lucky, surviving to enjoy your old age. You start out as a blank slate, and your early choices start to shape your character. In the youthful stages, your choices will affect your character’s stats even more, allowing you to mould a shining paragon of monsterly caring and kindness… or, more likely, a cruel, bitey, clawed death-machine. With five main attributes and plenty of stat-affecting choices, there are quite a few different possible outcomes for your character. When your character gets to adulthood, however, the focus of the game changes, encouraging you to acquire the respect of your fellow monsters through your actions. If you become respected enough, you’ll be allowed to become an Elder monster, and the focus shifts again, allowing you to affect the politics of the monster town, and even the humans’ attitudes to monsters.
A single playthrough of a monster character can be over in about an hour – which says quite a lot about the depth (or lack thereof) of the game’s story; but fortunately it’s designed for replayability, with plenty of different ways to approach a character, and random selections of short sidequests during the three main stages of the game. It’s possible to play through the game half-a-dozen times or more and still find tasty new chunks of choose-your-own-adventure goodness – which is a good thing, because the main menu screen taunts completionists by displaying trophies – or significant gaps – for all of the twenty (!) different endings.
But the story aside, the best thing about this game is the sheer amount of charm it has. From the cartoony backdrops to the witty, slightly twisted storytelling style, and even down to the cute, characterful icons and bouncy, upbeat music, this game has quirky charm in bucketloads. For which reason, this game could be great for some family-gaming-time: not only does it have cheerful visuals and child-friendly themes, but it could provide plenty of storytime entertainment for children (especially on a mobile device), as well as a healthy dose of nostalgia for those of us craving some old-fashioned story-based roleplaying.
However, Monster Loves You! is not without its faults. Being entirely a written text-adventure, many less patient gamers will very quickly get bored of it; and replaying it many times can sap the attentiveness of even the most hardened roleplaying veteran due to revisiting the same segments repeatedly. The depth and length of the story also feels overly simplistic and at times unnecessarily abbreviated; also, it’s not always clear what will happen when you make a choice – the unpredictable nature of the story can often punish you for doing something that feels like the right choice to make. And, last but not least, the very limited one-mouse-button control system and cartoony style make it feel like an import from mobile devices – which, indeed, it is ideally suited for. Fortunately, it’s available (for a much lower price, in fact) on the Android Play Store and the iOS Appstore.
In conclusion, then: Monster Loves You! is a pleasing, zany, and often hilarious story, overflowing with charm, and told through a well-presented choose-your-own-adventure style. If you miss the days of roleplaying books, or want to add variety to your family’s storytime, then grab it for a few hours of indie fun.