Of the many interesting modern attempts at visual novels, one particular example are the ones that are multiplayer. The Yawg is the one that started that idea, at least in this specific format, with Monster Prom taking a lot from its mechanics and structure. The Yawg was a somewhat dour affair about preparing a helpless village for an imminently approaching doom, with many games likely ending in tragedy. Monster Prom, however, is anything but, throwing a ton of jokes at the wall to see what sticks.
You and up to three other players are enrolled at a school for monsters. The big prom will arrive in only a few weeks, so it’s your goal to attempt to charm one of six different monsters into going to the dance with you. Potential dates include a friendly but somewhat dim werewolf jock, a vampiric hipster, and a mermaid princess with some very questionable royal values. Charm them enough over the next several weeks and they’ll take you to a magical night at the prom. Fail, and face a humiliating rejection.
On each turn, you’re given a choice of several locations to visit across the school, with each one offering a different buff to your stats. After that, you’ll meet one or two of the monsters embroiled in a wacky scenario, with two different options on how to handle it. A choice will either call on a skill check, with a boost or penalty depending on how it goes, or will charm one of your potential date options a little more. There’s no way to tell for sure what a choice will do until you pick it, except for making an educated guess. That means there’s not a lot of real strategy going on, but the writing does its best to make failure as fun as success.
Play cycles like this, with each “week” being made of several turns. Between weeks, the game offers an appropriately silly question for the players to talk over to decide turn order. On the final turn, you’ll choose who you want to go to the prom with, hope you made all the right moves, and see how things play out. Games generally last from thirty minutes to two hours, depending on game settings and how many silly voices your friends will want to do. There’s a whole lot of content to see, however, with a lot of exclusive scenes and secret endings only playing out if you’ve set off some specific flags, so there’s a fair bit of replay value when you want to pull this out at a party.
As a comedy game first and foremost, how much you’ll get out of Monster Prom will vary. While there’s a fair number of illustrations, the game relies on its writing. The dateable characters generally have one major trait which they play for all its worth. The humor is also generally straight out of 2018 internet culture, which means that not every joke ages particularly well. If you can live with that, however, it makes a great group hangout staple with classics like the Jackbox series.