One aspect that I’ve grown to appreciate in my life is the love of monsters: Frankenstein's monster, werewolves, vampires, ghosts, etc. If you are a monster or generally a horror fan, then it makes sense to pick up a game where you are a monster seeking out monsters to take out to high school prom with. That is the concept behind Monster Prom for PC. This parody of visual novels and dating simulators gives players an interesting take on how we find love now. With the recent release of Second Year, with new monster sweethearts to date and new scenarios with old characters, I thought it was due time to go back to Monster High and endure the three weeks until the fated Monster Prom comes.
Monster Prom, raised by Kickstarter, developed by Beautiful Glitch, and published by Those Awesome Guys, is a single to four-person party game where it is a race to win over a possible monstrous prom date, raise your statistics, and maybe mess up the chances for someone else. The competition for romance can last from 30 minutes to an hour, depending if you want to play through three or six rounds of high school. At its core, it is a “Competitive Dating Simulator” to see if you can find true love.
With Monster Prom’s Second Term DLC, players can now date two new characters: Zoe, an Eldritch God in the form of a high school girl seeking out a career in art and a true fan of the Naruto/Garfield relationship paring, and Calculester, a living computer who is finding out what it means to live and enjoy life outside of his programing. Also, four new non-player characters have been added; Dahlia, a Blue Oni who seeks revenge, Dmitri, a Nosferatu Vampire who seeks the dark side, Tate and Violet, a Yeti with a tennis tendency and his mushroom parasite partner, and Leonard, a Japanese kappa demon whose personality reflects a guy who thinks cooties still exist, despite being someone who is fully grown.
The gameplay for Monster Prom is simple; Players take turns to go to a location in Monster High- The Library, The Gym, The Grounds, etc., to raise their stats: Smarts, Boldness, Creativity, Charm, Fun, and Money. After your raise said stat, you get a chance to talk to a possible prom date from the original line up: Scott the Werewolf, Miranda the Mermaid Princess, Vera the Gorgon, Polly the Poltergeist, Liam the Vampire, and Damien the Devil, as well as the new characters and non-playable characters. You are given two choices and, depending on your higher stat, you can engage and get some credit from your potential prom date and raise your stats some more, or get nothing and only feel pain as your stats lower. Items are available to be purchased at the store with Money which they’re given through a beginning quiz for starting stats, or money they’ve gotten from the Library.
One thing that I will continually applaud Monster Prom for doing is the ability to keep you guessing. Scenarios that concern your character and a possible love interest tests your ability to be on their level. If you wanted to date Damien- the bad boy Devil- you must appeal to the gutsy side and be ready to burn down a cafeteria or be ready for a cage fist fight on Prom Night. Or, if you need to be calm and ready to build a whole empire on the backs of impudent workers, then Vera may be the person for you. The characters are written with genuine heart and just enough camp to make them stand out from each other.
I’ve played this game with my partner several times and I’ve only had good memories of seeking out possible romantic partners, laughing together as sought out our new romantic partners to Prom, causing mayhem and being touched by genuine characterization, only to be subverted with humor and satire. The game seeks and retains that balance, only to smash it to pieces in a fulfilling way.
All in all, if you have friends that want to go back and try high school again, Monster Prom is a game you should pick up. It combines wit, high school drama and angst, with modern and classic high school tropes with the bonus of monsters. It's Monster Prom, where we’re young and unafraid… but ready to start the battle known as life!
-Written by Johan Wyckoff with collaboration from Talia Neidorf