Traditionally, monsters tend to have a pretty rough life in the video game world. A majority of games make monsters out to be terrifying, evil creatures that should be either avoided or destroyed. But in Monster Loves You, these misunderstood beings get a new lease of life and, playing as a monster yourself, you get to shape the future for all Monsterkind!
Monster Loves You begins with you choosing the circumstances of your monster's birth... well, if emerging from a vat of goo counts as birth. Following written text and action or dialogue choices, you begin to shape the personality and physical features of your unnamed monster. This type of gameplay that involves answering text prompts in a choose-your-own-adventure style is how the entire game will continue.
After being born from your vat of goo, you are officially a Monsterling and can spend the next few turns selecting adventures to pursue and making choices that both shape your personality and have the chance for your monster to gain respect in his village. Your monster can be kind and honest, helping every being in harm's way, or ferocious and diabolical, destroying everyone that contests it. Through these adventure, action and dialogue selections you can find yourself shaping a very unique creature.
Once life as a Monsterling ends you move onward to becoming an adolescent, then an adult, and finally an elder; that is, if you pass the a test to become an elder. Starting with adulthood there are many opportunities to lose respect within your community and, if you do not have enough respect to pass the appropriate tests at the end of adulthood, you will be dissolved into the vat of goo that birthed you. This is one of a couple instances in Monster Loves You that forces the player to balance through life as a monster that could, even unintentionally, end horribly. If you are one of the lucky monsters that is not dissolved, then a careful world of politics awaits when you become an elder. While living out the end of you monster life, you have the choice to make the monsters feel more positively towards the humans and vice versa. Successfully change these views to become more positive and you have a chance to live in peace, take things into the negative and the entire world may be at war.
When it comes to gameplay, Monster Loves You is a very simple point and click style, but the way that this game uses choices can result in some very interesting, and sometimes hilarious, story-telling. Remarkably, there are 14 different ending badges, some of which, such as “Endless War,” are fairly easy to get. Others, such as “Famed Neurosurgeon,” are much trickier to earn. This gives the game a high amount of replayability, which is perfect since the total time to play this game can be anywhere from 30-45 minutes. Monster Loves You has really found its platform now that it is available on the Switch, since that is an ideal console for consuming these bite-sized stories.
One mechanic that is worth noting is the ability to choose an adventure. In each phase of life there is at least one board of icons to choose from that correspond to a different scenario. The images on these icons vary but usually gives a very slight indication as to what the adventure will be about. There are always more adventures than there is time to complete them, so the combination of choice in both adventure type and actions within that adventure can provide for a unique experience with every playthrough. Your choices and adventures chosen from previous stages of life typically indicate which adventure choices are available to you in the next stage. For example, if you choose to go down a kinder, less violent route when you are a Monsterling, then you might not have any of the violent adventures available when you are an adolescent. This means that with every new play through you can have entirely new adventure choices.
Both the art and music for this game are delightful and feel fitting to the story. There are fun, cheerful tones throughout a majority of the story as well as more poignant tones during the more serious moments. The art gives off a fun-loving feel and helps give warmth to the game. Many adventures feature different backdrops and as you get older your main area changes as well.
It is undeniable that Monster Loves You can be a fun, heart-warming experience, however this game is not without its faults. One particular issue I found was with a few of the sound effects used intermittently throughout the game. Occasionally an adventure will trigger a sound effect such as a dog growling, a monster grumbling or an unidentified being screaming in an ear piercing, high-pitched tone. Because these sounds are so unpredictable they are also unavoidable and can become tiring quickly. But aside from slight annoyances with sounds, the only other real complaint I would have is the ability to complete the game. Since the adventure choices vary greatly, and it is difficult to predict which adventures will allow which kind of choices, earning all of the end-game badges feels nearly impossible at times.
Monster Loves You is a cozy campfire story that can be told in bite-sized sessions. With a wide variety of choices, adventures and outcomes, this seemingly simple game can turn out to be far from that. With an enjoyable soundtrack, cute art style, and wonderful writing, this is the perfect Switch experience to be played over and over again. Having only a few minor complaints, this game feels perfect for any player wishing to look at monsters in a new light. Maybe Monster Loves You game will be the key to peace between the humans and monsters after all.
Michelle reviewed Monster Loves You on the Nintendo Switch with a code provided by the publisher.