If a monster makes a poop joke in the forest and nobody is around to hear it, is it still funny? Similarly, if a reviewer makes a bunch of monstrous puns in his article, is he making the right decision? (hint: he’s not.)
Such is monster life - a neverending cascade of moral (or immoral) choices to make, all made at the cost of time. It’s enough to make one consider the in-game consequences of walking out into the forest, sitting on a rock next to a babbling stream, and wistfully staring into the distance... in this case, casing out a house with three suspiciously-familiar pigs in it. This is the sort of situation you'll be confronted with often in Monster Loves You!, a new adventure game by Dejobaan and Radial Games.
At the start of the game, you're thrown into being with a suddenness that can only be described as alarming - within the first minute you unconsciously shape your character with a mindset you don't even realise you're developing. The rush doesn't detract from the gameplay experience, however - think of Monster Loves You! as a highly-detailed, charmingly-drawn choose-your-own-adventure novel that takes approximately between half an hour and an hour to complete (which, of course, depends on your reading speed).
Speaking of gameplay, there's not much to it, though, again, it doesn't detract from the experience. In fact, the simple presentation makes the game feel friendly and accessible, which seems to be what Dejobaan and Radial seem to be going for - it feels like it was specifically made to have multiple levels of meaning. The best comparison I can think of is to the universe of Adventure Time: it is a very dark and gloomy world indeed, but I'd still let my ten-year-old sister play it, simply because of how it's presented, and the magic of this is that we can both appreciate it, just for different reasons. This sort of multi-layered writing is, at least from my perspective, one of the hallmarks of a great story, and the fact that it's dynamic, with 14 different endings (that’s 11 more than Mass Effect 3!), only makes it more appealing.
However - and this is a big however - if you’re one of those gamers who are more interested in gameplay than story, this game won’t be interesting enough to hold your attention. Despite being fun, it’s definitely still a very casual game, and not something which I’d be willing to play for hours at a time. It’s nice for little bite-sized gaming sessions, and after the 14 different endings have been unlocked, I wouldn’t expect it to be all that interesting. But, you never know - the developers might decide to add more endings. It seems like the logical thing to do, to breathe more life into the game.
All in all, Monster Loves You! is a fun little adventure with around seven hours’ worth of playtime (given that you make the optimal choices for each playthrough), which I’d say definitely justifies the $10 price tag. It’s one of those games that’s great for some mild procrastination (something I learnt while attempting to write this review, in fact), and that’s why I whole-heartedly recommend it.