Trying to score a date to prom is hard enough with humans, let alone monsters who need to be wooed by killing ogres or by letting them cast magical spells on you. In Monster Prom, out now on Steam, you’ll not only have to deal with the otherworldly challenges of trying to date demons and ghosts, but you’ll also have to do that while competing against friends who have the same goal in mind.
Depending on the length of the playthrough you choose — a 70-minute “short” game or a 90-minute version — you’ll attend a monster-filled school over the course of several weeks, choosing different locations in which to spend your time. At the start of each session, you’re offered four different monsters to choose from, as well as gender pronoun options for them to refer to themselves by. Once selected, you go through a magazine-style quiz to determine your starting stats, including charm, creativity and boldness, before you head off to school.
Anything can happen once you’ve chosen where you want to spend your day on the school grounds, from helping two students rule a kingdom of ants or unwittingly joining a crime syndicate. These encounters serve to not only boost your connection with the various eligible monsters, but to also, and just as importantly, increase your stats. Just like other dating sims, these stats are essential to your success in future encounters. The hope is that you’ll compile enough attractive traits to ensure a monster will say “yes” when you ask them out to prom at the game’s end.
I played Monster Prom with our news editor, Allegra Frank, and video producer, Jenna Stoeber, and I’m sad to say we were all soundly rejected by the monsters we asked to the big night. (Well, except for Jenna, who decided to go alone, knowing that the only winning move is not to play). And while the crushing defeat of rejection stings, we were laughing the entire way through.
Monster Prom’s humor is its biggest selling point: Nearly every line of dialogue in the game produced a chuckle, if not a simultaneous roar of laughter from all of us. It’s an impressive feat by developer Beautiful Glitch, keeping the game lighthearted and jam-packed with fun lines narrating your misadventures. And with the game supposedly having over 1,300 possible outcomes throughout its scenarios, that’s a monumental amount of joke writing — and good joke writing, at that.
While its written dialogue shines, Monster Prom also gives players the opportunity to bring their own laughs. At certain intervals, the game will pause and instruct players to name something, like a brand or a random object. After all players have responded to the prompt out loud, the game will then ask them to mutually decide which answer would be the best in a fantasy scenario, such as, “Which brand would be the best to rule an entire nation?” This shifting of gears is great, as it allows the players to do some personalized heavy lifting in the humor department.
Still, I knew that the point was to win over my favorite monster, and I definitely tried (and failed) to do that for the bulk of our session. It’s unfair to ignore just how well Monster Prom also works as a competition, feeling like a mixture of a visual novel and a four-player board game. Watching how our choices played out each turn was a charming display of the writing, art design and strong gameplay working in tandem. As we caught on to how increasing our stats worked and which characters expected what from us, we only became more strategic and engrossed.
The real surprise remained just how genuinely funny Monster Prom is. Considering almost every line in the game is a punchline, it’s an achievement that the humor never felt labored or forced. It’s clear that Beautiful Glitch knows Monster Prom’s audience: lovable dorks who just want to flirt with hot monsters.
Maybe this sounds like a typical dating sim, albeit with a fantasy world twist. But the undeniable charm of Monster Prom makes it worth returning to, with friends, again and again.
Monster Prom is available now on Windows PC and Mac at its wonderfully chosen URL www.monsterprom.pizza.