Monster Prom: XXL is a much-needed change from your typical party game.
Title: Monster Prom: XXL
Developer: Beautiful Glitch
Publisher: Those Awesome Guys
Platforms: Nintendo Switch (reviewed on)
Release Date: May 21, 2020
I recently had the opportunity to try out Monster Prom: XXL and immediately I was curious about every aspect of it. The story premise of the game is complicated so sit down, which you are (probably on a toilet), and hear me out.
The game is set at a high school that features mostly students that are monsters. And the school structuring itself makes little to no sense. In fact, the only teacher or facility that I was able to find after three playthroughs was a gym teacher.
The students themselves are all sorts of strange fantasy tropes with interesting twists. There is a Teen Wolf-inspired jock werewolf; a princess of an undersea kingdom that uses serfs to do all her tasks for her; a creature that was previously a Cthulu-like Lovecraftian horror diety that got bored and decided to take on the form of a high school girl; and even a ghost who, despite lamenting not being able to eat, seems to constantly be on a quest for drugs and sex. Don’t worry, despite it being a game that takes place in high school, the youngest student is 23 and the oldest seems to be eternal. It makes absolutely no sense to an already crazy story but luckily it also makes the game a lot less creepy than I feared it would be.
Now for the premise of the game. When I was told it was a multiplayer dating sim with online capabilities I was baffled. I had no idea what to expect and it’s that curiosity that made me want to immediately dive in and see. What I did not expect was to find it was a fun party game.
Imagine if Cards Against Humanity was also a dating sim. You determine how many players are going to play; you can play solo or have up to four players. Then you pick a character from four monster people: a shadow being, a devilish imp, a surprisingly athletic-looking zombie and an adorable Frankenstein-inspired person. From there, you name your character and pick your preferred pronoun, which is an awesome touch. Thank you for that, developers.
The one thing that surprised me though is that the only thing picking a character seems to do is change the art. Despite having a player made of shadow, one that can conjure fire, one that eats electricity and one that, I’d imagine, loves brains, their abilities never seem to come into play.
When you start there’s a certain amount of days until the prom. Each day has a morning, afternoon and evening and each one of those times of each day is essentially a turn.
The player that goes first chooses a room in the school to go to. When they pick that choice is eliminated from the other players’ choices that round. From there they have a random event happen to them that can raise and lower their stats and then they interact with one of the dateable students, either winning them over or losing their interest-based off the choices they make.
Luckily, these aren’t traditional students so the choices aren’t obvious. Instead of telling someone, they look nice, it’s more convincing someone that the fairy they locked in a cage either needs a friend or they need to train it to be an underling. The choice can have unexpected results so, in a way, it’s much more luck of the draw and adds to the replayability.
In between rounds, there’s a mini-game where they will ask all players to say something out loud. For example, they might ask you to name your favorite song. Then, when everyone has said a song it’ll ask, “Who’s song is the one you’d have the easiest time convincing an Amish community to sing along with?” Then you have a discussion with your friends and decide who gets to go next. It’s a fun diversion from the main game and, more importantly, gives you interaction with the other players in a real-world way.
The ultimate goal lies in the end. From the get-go, you decide, mentally, which of the main characters you want to attempt to take to prom. I did three playthroughs. Two single-player and one as a two-player where I played as two characters. I could not do it. Even one try where it felt like I managed to completely win over a character to the point where she kissed me a day prior, she absolutely shot me down when I asked her. I’m not sure how to win them over but it seems interesting to find out.
As you play more, you unlock more items that you can get in-game to introduce new storylines or strange new events adding to even more replay.
Monster Prom was enjoyable and incredibly unexpected as I had never heard of this game until this XXL addition (which contains all the DLC from its original launch). I was really surprised but I think this would be a killer party game. Just be warned, it swears a lot and has a lot of sexual references so this isn’t the kind of party game you’d want to play with family.
Monster Prom: XXL is a much-needed change from your average party game and something that can liven up about any get together (whenever get-togethers can happen again). Luckily it also has an online multiplayer. Creative characters, funny dialogue and random happenstance make each play through a strange experience. If there was a wider variety of art and a bit more polish put into the interfaces this would be a perfect party pick for a night with friends. It’s still enjoyable, but there’s a lot I’d love to see improved upon as well.