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Vagabond Dog

Always Sometimes Monsters Review | Monstrous Regimen

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Reviews
Tags:
Always Sometimes Monsters, Devolver Digital, Indie Games, PC games, Vagabond Dog

Always Sometimes Monsters Review | Monstrous Regimen

Always Sometimes Monsters is a game that's all about choice. Sometimes that means deciding whether or not to give that bag of super-potent drugs in your pocket to your rehabbing junkie best mate just so he can calm down before his own gig. Sometimes it means choosing between a job at an ad agency or a local newspaper. Sometimes it means letting someone lose their life so you can keep yours. Sometimes it means betraying a friend and cutting them out of your life so you can be with the person you desire.

Sometimes it means becoming the lesser of two evils. Sometimes it means being a monster.

Always Sometimes Monsters is a slow-paced affair. It's a Game Maker RPG without any combat systems or incessant inventory management. It's not concerned with your tactical thinking or your capacity for grinding. It just wants to know how far you'll go to get what, or rather who, you want.

Always Sometimes Monsters Review | Monstrous Regimen

Always Sometimes Monsters opens with a very brief prologue stuffed with metafictional waffle. Get past that, though, and you'll find yourself at a party, taking control of Larry, a publisher getting ready to sign you up to a lucrative book deal. By steering Larry around a soiree held at his mini mansion, you're charged with actually identifying your own character from the throng of assembled guests. Will you be male or female? White? Black? Asian? A grungy old soul or a trendy hipster? You decide by interacting with the person you'd like to form the centre of this tale, after which control passes to the person you've chosen to be your protagonist, and you move outside to identify the love of your life from an equally diverse array of characters.

I like the fact that Always Sometimes Monsters doesn't make a fuss about any of this, it doesn't ask for your personal details, it just fills in the blanks via simple gameplay.

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A Moral Quagmire - There's no Right or Wrong in Always Sometimes Monsters

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Always Sometimes Monsters, Devolver Digital, Games previews, Indie Games, PC games, Vagabond Dog

A Moral Quagmire - There's no Right or Wrong in Always Sometimes Monsters

I have blood on my hands. I've racked up a mountain of debt, my landlord has kicked me out onto the city streets because rent has not been paid, and the local homeless have made it very clear that they'll stab me up a treat if I disturb them in any fashion. I've managed to swindle a boy out of some money for a seemingly worthless convention ticket, but he's taken the money from a crackhead relative and now that same relative is waving a shotgun in my face. I could have given the money back. I could have made things right. I could have left this kid out of it from the start and opted to make amends in an honest fashion. I've restarted the save from a couple of minutes ago six times and no matter what, the kid dies every time.

In the words of Buster Bluth... I'M A MONSTER!

A Moral Quagmire - There's no Right or Wrong in Always Sometimes Monsters

I love the way that Always Sometimes Monsters opens -- putting you in control of Larry, the man who'll sign you up to that book deal initially. By steering Larry around a soiree held has his mini mansion, you're charged with actually identifying your own character from the throng of assembled guests. Will you be male or female? White? Black? Asian? A grungy old soul or a trendy hipster? Then control passes to the person you've chosen to be your protagonist, and you move outside to identify the love of your life from an equally diverse array of characters. Always Sometimes Monsters doesn't make a fuss about this, it doesn't shove anything in anyone's face, it doesn't ask you if you want to be gay or straight or if you're a supporter of interracial romances, it just does it. Nintendo, take note.

It's a prologue of positivity, of clinking champagne flutes and pledged ambitions. And it belies everything that comes next.

Always Sometimes Monsters is a game that attempts to look unflinchingly at the decisions we make when the proverbial hits the fan. Several years after that night described above, you play a writer down on their luck, faced with mounting debt, a project that you've not been able to finish, a deadline that passed months before, and the news that the aforementioned love of your life is getting married in 30 days to someone else in a town on the other side of the country. The question is how far will you go to get them back?

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