- Summary: Always Sometimes Monsters is the story of life, love, and the things we will go through to find happiness in both. Set out on a journey through the modern human experience as you overcome the heartbreak of lost love, and the hardship of making choices that affect your life and the lives of those around you. … Expand
May 29, 2014If 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.
Jun 2, 2014Even though this game did a good job at focusing on choices, relationships, and the outcomes of the decisions you make, the simple controls and monotonous tasks really ruined it for me in the end. 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.
Aug 25, 2014A great example of an eyesore spit out by indie devs convinced that only the story matters. The worst part is that they had no idea how to write the story to avoid it being a cliché running with the pack of sad, moving indie games. [08/2014, p.69]
May 27, 2014Always Sometimes Monsters is a unique RPG made by Vagabond Dog with publishing services by Devolver Digital. The price is $9.99, with sales available on Steam, and is available on PC. The aim of the game is to tell a story of choice and consequence that reverberates the human experience. The question is, does it succeed?
Story and Dialogue
The story follows your choice of character on a mission to get from east coast to west to see the ex of your choice. You’re flat broke, making the trip an almost epic adventure. This is the true beauty of this game. The story is a very real telling of what it is like to have an obstacle in front of you without having the luxury of being able to throw money at the problem. Finding a couch to sleep on feels like a blessing after having to sleep outside a few nights. As it should. The dialogue between characters comes off naturally and smooth compared to some other RPGs out there, and the colorful cast of characters never tend to filter too much. Playing the story of ASM felt very much like playing through an indie film, or a gritty show from FX or HBO, and the experience is an awesome one.
The game plays as well as any other game made with RPG Maker. Everything is solid in the fact that pushing buttons makes things happen. There is no reinvention of the wheel here as it is not needed. If you’ve played any RPG since the SNES you probably know how the controls feel.
The character portraits are nice to look at and the in game sprites are reminiscent of old school RPGs. The towns are a perfect size and layout being big enough to explore but small enough to remember where you’re going. Small details set off the overall feel of the game, whether it’s a stray piece of graffiti or campaign posters plastered around. The only problem I experienced was the floor looking like a curb once and I didn’t think I could walk any farther when I could.
Menu sound effects are a delicious 16bit variety, and the soundtrack absolutely shines here. It never got on my nerves and there are a few tracks on there that are solid arguments for buying the soundtrack.
This category is a tricky one. Always Sometimes Monsters is not necessarily a fun game. The mini games are a bit of social commentary or an in-joke. The game itself is not aiming to be fun or offering a new mechanic that could be manipulated for your own fun. The star of the show is the story and in that respect ASM is a blast. I have multiple replays planned for different actions and to see the different dialogues. The story wanted to share the human experience, and this is how I’ll judge the game in this category. ASM is the only game I can think of off the top of my head that made me reflect on my actual life. The final hour or so offered a story and series of choices that forced me to reflect on similar situations. I had my ending plotted out in my head before a few of the last elements played out, and once they did my game played out the opposite way. The game did not actively manipulate me into choosing something different, but the story put me into such a mindset that this happened anyway.
Always Sometimes Monsters is a beautiful experience. Beauty does not always mean pleasant or fun or joyful. ASM is a defining moment in the video games can be art argument. Not everyone will like it. Some typical gamers will flat out hate it. But if you’re not typical, and if story matters to you more than twitch reflex, then by all means buy this game.
Score: 10 – Buy Now… Expand
May 27, 2014This game is an experience.
First, let's be clear :
DON'T buy this game if :
- You don"t speack English
- You don't like to read (there is a LOT of dialog)
- You are not an open-mind person
- You are alergic to the old school graphics
So, Always Sometimes Monster will show you basically what type of person you are :
Are you ready to work hard to get a few legit money to eat a sandwish, but not enought to sleep into a confortable bed, or are you ready to take the money of an old lady for your own confort ?
If someone is bad at you, will you injure him or will you investigate to find something that could make him jobless ?
Do you want to live in the past and try to find the lost love of your life, or do you want to live to the futur, without her/him ?… Expand
May 25, 2014I have to agree with Kerpi's review. The idea of the game appealed to me but I think the reality is somewhat disappointing. When I think of choice and morality, maybe somewhat unfortunately, I seem to refer back to The Stanley Parable as being something of a benchmark. This doesn't really come close in that respect.
The idea of this game is good - to induce self-reflection, analysing your own actions and choices and try to get you to think about yourself as a person. I think in this, it succeeds somewhat. But the execution leaves something to be desired. I think there are a few times in the game where it tries to go 'philosophical' on you, but it feels forced and therefore not particularly intelligent. And, although I've only played through once, it seems like a lot of the stuff you do doesn't really matter in the end. Though to some degree, one could say that the fact that it makes you think about the choices you made is worthy of praise.
Other than the core story, there isn't much around. The stuff to do on the side is rather boring, though I can understand that part of this is intentional to add a sense of realism to having to earn money to survive. Ultimately, this doesn't matter a whole lot anyway as there is at least one serious flaw that allows you to make unlimited money anyway.
Most of the frustrations come from the execution and presentation. I understand that the game is trying to emulate old style RPGs. However, there are practicalities that I feel should be addressed by default in a game in 2014. Running at a native resolution is one of them (this game does not). Some control over input and game options should also be a given. I found the music got really annoying after a while but I couldn't do much about it. The controls are a mess. Firstly, you aren't told what they are, and secondly, this game is clearly based on mechanics taken from the NES era. 4 directions and a couple of main buttons. I couldn't use a controller or the mouse, which meant that moving around, navigating menus and inputting characters or numbers is as tedious as hell. Finally, there are quite a few dialogue typos that I've noticed, which is a little disappointing to see in a finished game that relies so much on textual information.
It's certainly a game that deserves attention. The concept is great and the story compelling. It's pretty cheap and I would say worth the asking price for the amount of enjoyment it brings. However the execution is wanting. Therefore, I would recommend it but only with some heavy caveats.… Expand
May 23, 2014I was really looking forward to this game for awhile since first hearing about it. Generally, this is a good game, but the games to make money get repetitive. The first town is wonderful, and rich with experiences and characters, but this progressively fades. The last towns lack any real polish to the point of containing awkward bugs and glitches.
Most of the mini-games, both relating and not relating to money, are boring and pad what should be a 4-5 hour game into a 8+ hour game. This really detracts from the game as a whole. In addition, many decisions seem, at the end of the game, relatively meaningless. A few decisions factor into dialogue, but there are too many times where the game effectively says "but you must!"
The developers should have focused on carrying the strong story from the first third into the latter portions of the game. All in all, this is an impressive feat with RPG Maker, but, paradoxically, the limitations of RPG Maker really hurt the game in several places.
Overall, I recommend this game if you are a fan of RPGs, have a few bucks to spare, and have a few hours to kill, but, despite how hopeful I was for it, I can't in good conscience tell you that it is a must play game.… Expand
May 28, 2014It's not bad for a first attempt. There are mistakes littered throughout the world, but for me that was part of its charm. There's a certain feeling of sincerity that can only be achieved by a small team writing about life.
I wouldn't recommend this game to anyone who isn't interested in game criticism, because without a critical mindset, various missteps will leave many feeling confused.… Expand