Truth be told, I didn’t attend my prom. it was of no interest to me to go and see people from school, who I didn’t like and would likely never see again, all while listening to music I didn’t like. But thankfully Beautiful Glitch has let me live out a far more exciting school life thanks to the brilliantly wild characters of Monster Prom XXL, which has just released on Nintendo Switch.
Originally releasing in 2018, Monster Prom XXL is a dating sim that has players doing a mad dash as you try to acquire the most important part of any high school experience: A prom date.
Up to four players can play and compete together as you take turns using your crazy-monster antics and wit to try win over your preferred monster muse before the prom, all while causing havoc with a varied, excellent cast of lovable mayhem-loving monsters.
Firstly, if you have seen any of my other reviews you’ll know narrative isn’t really my thing. So for me to say that I really enjoyed my time with Monster Prom XXL must mean that the developers have done something right. If you are a fan of narrative games, dating sims, and wacky characters and writing, then Monster Prom XXL should already be on your radar.
After picking from the four player avatars, you’ll be instantly introduced to a cast of six characters — eight if you play with the second term DLC — that each feel unique while also drawing influence from the familiar high school tropes. Each is drawn with style and flair, much like every other aspect of the game, that ultimately comes together to create truly absurd but loveable characters, or monsters to be more specific.
Once you’re done window shopping for your preferred date: a magazine-style pop quiz with a whole host of insane and absurd questions that help build your stat sheet, it all begins. This set of stats plays a vital role in your quest for a date, as you discover what each monster requires to win their heart with each subsequent playthrough.
But how you learn about, and sway, these characters into being your date is where Monster Prom XXL lets these characters really shine.
As you go about your somewhat simple school life, you’ll get to choose one of several areas to go to during most days of your playthrough. It’s these areas that you’ll increase certain stats depending on where you go and find your monster buddies. It’s during these interactions that you learn what each character is all about and where the game’s dark yet childlike humour comes into play. They’ll talk about all manner of crazy topics from arson, to punishing servants and a whole host of other nonsensical conversations; But all the while remaining so charming and lovable you can’t help but want to join in on the fun. Thankfully dialogue choices let you be a part of their crazy schemes and impact certain monsters opinions of you as well as increasing stats, all coming together to be both rewarding in narrative and gameplay.
This is all thanks in large part to some clever, yet juvenile writing. It’s not just the quality of the writing, however, but also the quantity, with nearly every interaction during my 4-5 long game playthroughs being different. This helped keep the game feeling fresh. Furthermore, when you consider that the game has 41 secret endings that feature side characters, over a thousand events and outcomes, some plots and endings that require items or multiple playthroughs, and a huge amount of collectables to unlock, the replayability is staggering, to say the least.
Now, the only real downside is that you will probably find yourself spamming visits to one area to increase a certain stat as you go for certain endings, and while this rather repetitive gameplay can be boring for some, the rather consistent change to dialogue helps ease that, as well as the shorter playtimes of each playthrough that helps tremendously break up some of the repetition; Plus having a soundtrack of funky, groovy, Beach Boys styled tunes doesn’t hurt either.
Playing with friends adds a whole new element to the game, and is easily a highlight for me. Youll find yourself competing over characters in a desperate bid for attention in longer playthroughs, as you all scramble to be to first to visit areas to block other players from stats and characters, and ultimately aim to win over your date before your friends do. Reminiscent of high school dramas, the frantic competition between friends for dates becomes just as entertaining as the game itself. Except when they go for Polly because she is my favourite, then it’s personal.
It should also be noted that developers Beautiful Glitch should be given full credit for how inclusive they have made Monster Prom XXL. Players are given no restrictions on who can date regardless of the gender of the characters or the players themselves, as you can pick your pronouns while choosing your avatar. These simple choices make a huge difference for some people and it should absolutely be commended for making the game a truly inclusive experience for everyone.
Overall, Monster Prom XXL comes together into a quirky and enjoyable experience that thanks to good characters, witty writing, and a great amount of content, easily sits towards the top of the narrative and dating sims genres. Its shorter playtimes and replayability make it an excellent addition to the Switch’s library and letting me date on the go is certain what will keep me playing for a good while.
Now I’ve got a party to go to, Polly Geist is throwing a rager and its only one week till prom leave, so better get back to it.