Back in 2018, we were all asked a very important question: Which monster do you want to take to prom? It is one that I ended up answering repeatedly and in increasingly creative ways thanks to Monster Prom, the dating-sim/visual novel hybrid from Beautiful Glitch. And now, thanks to the sequel Monster Camp, we’re getting to answer another important question.
Which monster do you want to hook up with at summer camp?
See, its questions like this that keep me coming back to gaming. I need to know the answers.
Our Monster Camp Review
If you played the original Monster Prom, a lot of what is on display here will be familiar. The game focuses on turns that take place over the course of the five weeks players are at summer camp with their favourite monster crushes. Choose responses to their increasingly weird situations and, if you’ve raised your stats high enough, the datable characters will be receptive to your advances. Otherwise, they will shoot you down in flames. There is a random feel to which responses correspond to which stats, so failure is almost inevitable at times, but that’s also part of the fun.
The things that made the original Monster Prom one of my games of the year for 2018 (beating out heavy hitters like Spider-Man, God of War, and Smash Brothers) was the multiplayer aspect. With local and online co-op capabilities, it brought a whole new dimension to the genre that I didn’t know I had been missing. Sharing your moments of romantic triumph and failure with friends just made it feel more exciting and fun. Multiplayer dating-sims weren’t a thing I knew I needed before this game but I am here for it.
Monster Camp brings all this, with only slight changes to the formula that made its predecessor so exciting. The core gameplay is the same, this time set against the backdrop of summer camp. There are familiar faces in the crowd, such as Damien, our spicey red devil-boy who wants to punch the sun, Dahlia, the buff blue devil-girl who wants to overthrow Damien’s family as rulers of the 8th Circle of Hell, and Calcultester, the sentient school computer who just wants to learn the meaning of friendship. Even the lovable oaf of a Coach has gotten a job at Spooky Camp.
There are also new characters to woo and avoid, depending on your preferences, in Monster Camp, along with a smattering of new mechanics. Most interesting is the introduction of cocktails, which pop up a few times during the playthrough and offer players the chance to take drinks from a cat wizard-in-training. They have a variety of effects, ranging from really useful (such as increasing stat boosts from every location) to the weird and useless (such as the drink that is full of bees and changes your name to Nicolas Cage). It’s a fun bit of chaos to the game and I really enjoyed the addition.
With six officially datable characters and scores of secret characters and endings to choose from, there are enough hot monsters to keep you and your friends entertained for a long time. Each playthrough feels a bit different, with its randomly generated interactions between characters and mountains of dialogue. If you are a completionist, you’ll have your work cut out for you on this one, but in my dozens of hours playing the original I never got tired of it.
Monster Camp also has a different tone to it. I don’t know if it was a conscious effort from the developers or if it was just my few playthroughs over the weekend, but there is a wholesomeness to it that took me by surprise. It seemed less focused on chaos and shock-value and more on the characters growing along-side each other. Plus the ending song is a low-key chill jam that I am going to need a downloadable version of ASAP.
Monster Camp Review Verdict
If you enjoyed Monster Prom (which you did because you have excellent taste), then Monster Camp is a great continuation of that experience. It doesn’t change things up massively as far as gameplay goes, but that’s because very little needed changing from the original. Monster Camp is still one of the most exciting dating-sim/visual novel releases this year, with mountains of content for those of you get through. So gather your friends, get on voice chat, and get ready to woo some monsters. Monster Camp is out now for PC.