Game Review: Always Sometimes Monsters

Always Sometimes Monster Cover Art

Always Sometimes Monsters is a masterpiece of a game that I’ve enjoyed on both the PC and my mobile device, and while both experiences have been a little different it can’t be denied that it was a tremendous experience either way. Anyway, some basic information about the game, it was released for the PC on the 21st May 2014, with the iOS and Android version which I most recently played being released on the 28th May 2015. If you’re interested, it’s also available for the PS4 and that was released far more recently on the 10th October 2017. Always Sometimes Monsters was Developed by Vagabond Dog and Published by Devolver Digital.

Now that we’ve got all that information out of the way let’s get on with the review, Always Sometimes Monsters is without a doubt, unequivocally one of the best games I have ever played, so much so that even a year or two after playing it for the first time I could still remember how it made me feel, a strange satisfaction from having completed it, and even more so for getting one of the ‘better’ endings, but strange nonetheless because the game leaves you with feeling conflicted, happy thoughtful and just numb all at the same time. It takes the right team, the right script and the right application of design to truly create something with this level of emotional depth, complexity, and creativity.

At its core it’s a linear story, point A is the inciting incident where you receive an invite to your ex’s wedding and Point Z is the conclusion where you ideally make it to the wedding and either let them get married or try your best to convince your ex that they shouldn’t get married, and that it’s a mistake, that they should be with you instead. But in between those points are 30 in-game days where you get to make choices, pick how you spend your days, work, explore and try to be a good person, because it does matter.

Something that’s awesome is that you can pick your character and your love interest, as well as their sexual orientation, which can also change NPC dialogue, but overall it’s an interesting experience where you grow to care about the characters around you and try your best to live a good life as you make your way across the country to reunite with your ex.

I will admit I kind of lucked out during my first playthrough, getting close to enough a good ending to be satisfied but it can be very tricky to get an ending like that without a guide but in my opinion that just makes it more challenging, it encourages you to go back and play it again, and again until you get the best end state possible but even the bad endings aren’t disappointing, you learn and you feel and that’s a lot for a game to deliver on but it sure as hell does.

In terms of looks this game isn’t some over produced thing, but it has style and charm and it is a lovely pixel art piece that doesn’t sacrifice in quality for it’s simple design, but instead gives you enough to appreciate just how hard the designers worked to bring the story to fruition.

This game is a journey in more ways than one, you just get absorbed in the trials and tribulations of your character, and enter a world that feels real and yet self-contained. I even liked the special appearance of Justin Amirkhani (who I was lucky enough to get an Interview with) and Jake Reardon, the games developers who you can find at Coffee shops and elsewhere around the world you are visiting, you can even visit the Vagabond Dog studio if you’d like as well.

All in all, Always Sometimes Monsters is as I said up top tremendous, it has so much emotion, so much choice, so many endings and you just can’t help but be swept away in the intensity of it all. It was so thought provoking and dark and yet hopeful, so with all of that I strongly suggest you get yourself a copy on Steam for £6.99/$8.83. Always Sometimes Monsters has a sequel called Sometimes Always Monsters which you can order now by clicking this link. Enjoy!

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