Is there anything better than young love? When you’re a high school monster in your twenties and prom seemed like the biggest thing in the entire world, it was easy to get swept up in all sorts of high school shenanigans. But sometimes you just want to find love in all the right places, and what better place to have a summer romance than at camp? Well the beautiful minds at Beautiful Glitch are offering just such an experience with the long awaited sequel to Monster Prom. Pack your suitcase and get ready for love at Monster Camp.
Monster Camp is a fast paced competitive dating sim where one to four players will attempt to win the affections of one of their fellow campers. While there are a number of side characters and secret endings that can be unlocked, there are six monsters that can be seen as the main characters. There’s Joy, a voluptuous goth witch determined to save the world. Calculester, a robot seeking to understand organic life. Aaravi, a monster hunter currently cursed by a possessed amulet. The hot blooded demons, Dahlia and Damien. And lastly Milo, the social media obsessed reaper influencer. Whether you play a short game or a full game, you’ll have so many weeks to spend time with your fellow campers before deciding which one you want to invite to watch the meteor shower with you.
The game begins by choosing three items from a randomly assorted list of nine objects that will help determine your starting stats, and by selecting an option that will make a good impression on the camper you want to woo. If you know the character’s personalities, you can probably guess which answer correlates to which romantic interest; for example, reading a software manual is a good way to endear yourself to Calculester. If you do wind up choosing someone you’re not interested in, it’s best to just keep rolling with that person or else you may find yourself watching those stars solo.
Folks that played Monster Prom will immediately feel right at home with the mechanics of Monster Camp as on the surface, very little has changed. You have five stats: Smarts, Boldness, Creativity, Charm, and Fun, and for each part of the day, you choose one of the five locations in the camp to raise one of these stats. Part of the competitive nature is that only one person can go to each location per time period, so if you and your buddy are both trying to raise your Fun, it’s first come first serve for that turn. Monster Camp even provides a fun party game between each round that can be used to mix up player order from turn to turn.
Every player’s turn plays out the same way. You get a mini event at your location that raises your stat, but then the real fun of Monster Camp comes in the form of the romantic events. You and your crush, and possibly a few other characters too, will be thrust into some wacky hijinks that will lead to you needing to pick one of two possible choices. Unlike a lot of other dating sims, the choices aren’t simply a matter of choosing the answer that fits the character, as either answer can be right. It’s all connected to your stats. Every choice is tied to a specific invisible stat, and you have to correctly pick which one you’d be better at. For example, if the top answer is Bold and the bottom answer is Creative, you’d want to pick whichever of those stats is currently higher for you. Every choice has both a successful outcome and a failure outcome. If you succeed, you’ll get some additional stat boosts as well as gain some affection with your would be paramour, but if you get it wrong, you’ll lose stats and again, may not find love by the end of camp.
These events are easily the best part of the game. The characters are all hilarious, the choices are ridiculous, and even the narrator helps keeps things fun and exciting throughout it all. When playing with a couple of friends, even seeing a failed outcome will usually give you a laugh, and it helps ensure that everybody can still have fun even if you do wind up striking out with who you’re trying to date. While the events are essentially randomized, each character has a chance of kickstarting a series of connected events that can lead to one of the game’s secret endings. These can range from helping Joy defeat her evil exes to aiding Dahlia in destroying the physical manifestations of the other three seasons to prove that Summer is the best. To get the secret ending, you have to make the correct choices on every event, which is often easier said than done. However, even if you do fail the secret ending, you may still do well enough to get their regular romantic ending.
Overall, the mechanics are about the same as the previous game, with a couple of nice additions. The most notable is the cocktail mechanic courtesy of Juan the Small Magical Latino Cat. At the end of each week, Juan will offer to mix up one of his specialty drinks for you. You can take the drink that he offers you, or go for the mystery box, which could be anything. The effects of these cocktails vary from buffing all of your stats, to choosing two of your stats to swap the values of, to completely hiding your stats so you can’t see what they are. It’s a pretty simple, but surprisingly fun little mechanic that can really shake up the outcome of a game. The best part is for every game you complete you’ll unlock more recipes that can show up in Juan’s rotation, adding even more replay value to the game.
Monster Camp is more of what fans of Monster Prom have come to love and expect from the series. The art is fantastic and the dialogue had my friends and I roaring with laughter as we came up with crazy voices for each character we came across. It can be fun for a single player, but is definitely best enjoyed with friends as a full blown party experience. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel for those who may be worn out from the first game, but the new events and scenarios will hopefully be able to keep newcomers and veterans alike engaged as they sit around the campfire to roast marshmallows as well as each other.
John reviewed Monster Prom 2: Monster Camp on Steam with a personally purchased copy.