Always Sometimes Monsters Reviews
Always Sometimes Monsters isn't the first game to get clever with morality. It's not the first game that's had a few grey areas. It also isn't about either of those. It's about perspective. It's about empathy. It's about who we are and why we do what we do. That narrative is one of contradiction and hypocrisy, because that's what real people are about.
A convincing examination of player choice set in an all-too-realistic modern world.
It's an earnest look at life under tough economic pressure, at love when things don't go according to plan and at a creative career during its shittiest lows. It has a lot to say, and importantly, it speaks from the heart.
The alleys of Always Sometimes Monsters hide both trash and treasure alike
If you're inclined to play a mature game with mature decision-making, I do highly recommend Always Sometimes Monsters. The game smartly tests how effectively you choices play out in the final act, something I don't wish to spoil but Vagabond Dogs deserves praise for.
Much like life, Always Sometimes Monsters is brilliant but flawed. There's strong stuff in there, made only better by its rarity within games.
Always Sometimes Monsters is one of those independent, cult-classic-to-be, games that fans of narrative storytelling should really give a chance. Whatever flaws it may have are obvious and avoidable, and at no point did I encounter something game-breaking that soured my time. There are plenty of paths to choose from, feelings to explore, and surprise consequences that will make you give yourself a high-five or scream at you monitor. The Vagabond Dog boys have made a solid start.
'Always Sometimes Monsters' is an RPG-maker game that impresses with its choice-based narrative and effective writing, despite some tedious grinding sections and basic pixel art.
Always sometimes monsters is a peculiar title. It manages to tell an interesting story, which is lucky considering it is little more than an interactive novel.
Overall this game will find an audience, but to tell you the truth it's going to be a hit and miss affair if you will be the one that the game is meant for.
As Johnny Cash once said, "I'll try to carry off a little darkness on my back." In Always Sometimes Monsters, you're already carrying that darkness. It's just a matter of how far you can go with that much weight on your shoulders.
"Always Sometimes Monsters" is as much of a mirror of the player as it is a looking glass to view the world through the eyes of the creators. It elicits thought about life philosophies. Any game that explores the existential crisis is a welcomed break from the tightly compartmentalized genres of contemporary gaming. Assigning a static review score to a game such as this seems silly. Play it and see where it takes you.
I don't regret playing Always Sometimes Monsters. It gave me a bit of perspective on what it's like to live without some of my privileges, and also gave me cause to think about who I am, what I value, and where my life has gone so far.
For now we will say that Always Sometimes Monsters is best described more as an interactive story rather than a video game. There simply isn't very much video game about it. Instead you try to guide your character forward during the strangest and often darkest point of their entire life.
Vagabond Dog has developed a title that, despite its rough edges, ends up offering an interesting look at a character coming to grips with themselves and their place in the world.
Always Sometimes Monsters again shows up that 'game' is a word whose time is done. There is nothing playful about this experience – it's a mixture of repetitive tasks that riddle your fingers with despair and increasingly-depressing plots. This then is a 'life failure' simulator, like Cliff Harris's sandbox Kudos 2. Like that, it's compelling, enlightening and moving – but hard to call 'fun'.
Always Sometimes Monsters, like many of its indie brethren, makes up for its low budget with lofty goals that would be too risky for a big time studio. In some ways, it nails these absolutely spot on; when it's pushing forward, the story is captivating and the choices players are forced to make are complex and lifelike - a rarity in games. Despite this, though, poor pacing, clumsy scriptwriting, and an overall lack of polish (even by indie standards) make it all to easy to bow out before this monster can sink its claws into you.
The game is long enough -- clocking in at around ten hours -- that trimming some of the fat doesn't seem like a bad idea. It's a game brimming with potential, and I'd still recommend it if you don't mind some rough edges for the sake of fresh storytelling. It may be a pain sometimes, but my urge to see it through a second time despite that speaks volumes.
What Always Sometimes Monsters occasionally lacks in breadth and polish, it makes up for in concept and the way it challenges minds used common gaming formulas and tropes. It's a fascinating experiment, and whilst it might not be to everyone's taste, it's great to see games that are happy to challenge the status quo and dare to take us to task on our pre-conceptions.
You can't fault its ambition, but ultimately due to pacing issues, hit-and-miss writing and story that is altogether too long, the game is never very enjoyable. If you've got the patience to put up with the occasional periods where nothing much happens, Always Sometimes Monsters will reward you with a memorable, if very uneven, experience.