BACK WHEN I WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL…
Monster Prom XXL is a Visual Novel/Dating Simulator that’ll have you flirting with your classmates. Whether it’s male or female, there’s no discrimination. I’ve got to applaud this. Not many titles are LGBTQ+ friendly, and it’s a criticism that’s plagued gaming. That’s a thing of the past as they’re all properly represented now. He, she, and those with they as a pronoun.
So confession, I never attended my prom. Between being an introvert and in and out of the hospital, I opted to keep to myself. No regrets, but I do occasionally think about what I missed. Thanks to this title, I get to answer that. I‘m able to live vicariously through these characters. While this will have death and corpses, it’ll also contain beautiful babes and handsome devils, so close enough.
Monster Prom XXL includes both the base game and the Second Term DLC – the same as the First Crush bundle on PC. It’s full of text, and I’m excited to jump in, so join me, would you?
WILL YOU GO TO PROM WITH ME!?
The objective of Monster Prom XXL is simple; try to win the heart of your crush. To do this, you’ll be hanging out with them, and creepily sitting at their table during every lunch. I loved the interactions. Every personality is thought out and unique. For instance, there’s one specific character – and best girl – named Polly Geist. She’s quirky and a bit ditzy. Her mannerisms reminded me of the girls I used to attend high school with. Whenever I’d read what she’d say, I subconsciously began altering my cadence. I’d do this to match her speech patterns. I’d essentially become Polly. That’s when I knew this was something special.
One thing I repeatedly touched on in several of my reviews is this; superbly penned narrative is the key to immersion. If I’m effortlessly distorting my voice to match not only hers but other NPC’s, I’ve been sucked in. If I’m able to distinguish each character simply by seeing speech, that’s attention to detail. Julián Quijano, Cory O’Brien, and Maggie Herskowitz nailed it.
Other than her, you’ll meet other and equally as charming students;
- Scott is the dumb jock with a large heart. While he‘ll need most things to be spelled out, he always has the best interests of his friends in mind. He’s also a very good boy!
- Damien has an affinity and I’m pretty sure a sexual kink for arson. He’s the bad boy. If he isn’t setting something ablaze, he’ll be murdering and dragging bodies. He might even ask you to help bury one. How romantic.
- Liam is the stereotypical hipster, and kind of a snob. You’ll always find him snapping photos of his food. You’ll also see him quickly dropping anything popular. Who wants to be mainstream anyway? Ick!
- Miranda is a Mermaid Princess, and she has servants to do her every bidding. I couldn’t not chuckle at her absurdity. I also really liked the implied rivalry with The Little Mermaid. She’s not a fan, and it’s no wonder. Ariel stole her hobby of silverware collecting!
- Vera is a businesswoman that doubles as a Gorgon. Stare into her eyes and become rock-hard. Don’t worry though because as a monster, you’re impervious to her stone-cold glare. Thank God for that. She’s a stunner.
In the Second-Term DLC, more love interests are added. A few that were only accessible in the base game by completing certain conditions are now part of the default cast. You can court a computer, or a fanfic writer. There’ll also be more secret characters to discover.
During my session, I was utterly tickled by the dialogue. Furthermore, I rarely came across what I’d already seen. It’s evident that a lot of passion and love went into this. And while not every joke was a winner, I did appreciate the attempts. What truly shined was the banter. It really felt authentic to the high school life. As you’ve already seen, it does play with the usual stereotypes. However, I think being a dating simulator for monsters helped keep it fresh. I also enjoyed the tongue-in-cheek humor. For several years, I’ve always heard people refer to Pokémon as “Pokémans”. It annoyed me, but Monster Prom XXL takes it and converts it into a genius and believable addition. Instead of little creatures, your classmates catch humans. They even have an application called Pokémans Go. By simply using their phone, they can capture digitized men; sound familiar?
Despite the student body being comprised of monsters, it’s still high school at its core. So, expect tons of chatter about drugs and sex, with some colorful language. Polly especially is quite the minx. In fact, one of her routes has her confessing to unfinished business. It isn’t typical phantom fare either. Seems she’s a bit troubled over a sex position. Having never experienced it before death weighs heavy, and she plans on rectifying that. It’s this and other ludicrous scenarios that make Monster Prom XXL stand out.
In other words, the amazing and silly writing keeps this ship afloat. I genuinely had several laugh out loud moments. There’s also a sequel in the works!
WELCOME TO GROUNDHOG DAY!
For all the dialogue Monster Prom XXL offers up, it’s actually not that long. Before you begin on the love hunt, you’ll have a choice. You can either play a short or full semester. The latter will take 30 minutes, while the former is 60. After finishing and either being rejected or not, you’ll have to start over. When you do, all progress is lost. All stats will reset and it’s back to square one. The only aspect that carries over is who you’ve dated. Monster Prom XXL will remember all of that. It does so because it uses this knowledge in order to discover a few surprises. So, experimentation is encouraged with each run. Maybe have a guide handy too as it isn’t always forthcoming how to proceed with unlocking. I had to use one a few times for routes.
LET’S LAY DOWN SOME GAME!
I’ve made countless mentions of stats, and it’s about high time I explain myself. What would probably be better known as traits, there’s five in total. These are;
As you can see, you’ll be able to earn money as well. To do that, simply visit the library, where you’ll gamble or man your Kickstarter parody project. You can then use it to purchase items from the in-game store. These unlock special events or are used as bait to catch a secret character.
As for the others, these will come into play while speaking to others. There will be moments when you’ll have a choice between different ways to reply. These will boost the relationship and there are two methods to achieve this;
1. You’ll receive choices that reflect who your crush is. Say that you’re chasing after Scott. You’ll want to be kind and a bit naive in the way you respond. Come to think of it, it’s kind of a metaphor for what we do as teenagers. We try to fit in, so we’ll change ourselves depending on the person we’re with. Whenever I was faced with this option, it was obvious. That’s not an insult, but again a testament to the literary talent.
2. It’ll begin getting muddled when these statements are now tied to traits. Let me ask you this; have you ever been so shy that when you try to be charming, it’s just awkward?
That’s what this mimics. You’ll receive options that require a specific stat to be at a certain level to be successful. If it’s not but you try anyway, they’ll not only be unimpressed, but you’ll lose points to other traits. On paper, this sounds great. However, in practice, I was never able to discern which statement lent itself to which stat. Furthermore, a bold statement can easily be a charming one too. I’d be left guessing and around half the time, I was punished. Thanks to the sheer number of outcomes, events, and endings though, it never hindered my run. My opportunity to attend prom, however, got weaker. Hopefully, they address this in the sequel. My suggestion, more voice acting. My thought is maybe with delivery being audible, it’ll be easier to label.
AND THE MONSTROUS VERDICT IS…
Monster Prom XXL is a delight to experience. The artwork is beautiful. Though, I did notice parts where the developer Beautiful Glitch took the easy way out of working. From Polly throwing a lab coat that she was wearing to her and Scott dressed in a special shirt that looked like their default one with the difference only on their back. I see your deception. What absolutely ended up flooring me was the writing. Simply hilarious. The music is great, and sort of reminded me of a Beach Boys song. Had that surfing feel to it with the drum like strumming. I would’ve LOVED more voice acting too. There’s a great cast, from Cristina Vee who plays Shantae herself, to YouTube Star Arin Hanson. Speaking of Shantae, check out our review of Shantae and the Seven Sirens.
Monster Prom XXL isn’t a game for binges. I grew bored when repeatedly playing for eight or nine hours. However, when I’d have a quick hour run, I was excited. I was having fun. I think this is due to the way it was structured. It feels like it was intended to be enjoyed in small bursts, making it ideal on the Nintendo Switch, but you can experience this on the PC too. I do want to mention that multiplayer is an option. From videos I’ve seen, it seems this may be the optimal way of playing. I could see this being that perfect game to play with your significant other. And I appreciated how inclusive it is to the LGBTQ+ community. Also those jokes. It made me cringe a few times, but I loved every single one.
Without a shadow of a doubt, and despite my nitpicks, I declare that…
MONSTER PROM XXL IS RECOMMENDED
Many thanks to EastAsiaSoft for the review copy.
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Painfully single, but still somehow a master of dad jokes. If asked, he’ll answer it’s for his inner child. Fabio enjoys JRPG’s and has embraced his anime love.