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Always Sometimes Monsters: Always ambitious, sometimes tedious

Hayden Dingman | June 2, 2014
I don't think Always Sometimes Monsters is a great game. It has a lot of problems. There are times when it's extremely unclear what you should do next or where you should go.

This game isn't nearly as fun nor as polished as, say, Papers Please or The Witcher 2, but the same sort of moral relativity bleeds from this game. You're never really sure whether you're making the right choice or the wrong one. A lot of times there is no right or wrong choice. I think there must be some sort of "optimal" ending, but you wouldn't necessarily get there by making better choices—just different.

Bottom line
Again, I don't think Always Sometimes Monsters is a great game. It has a lot of problems. There are times when it's extremely unclear what you should do next or where you should go.

A lot of the "missions" are bland and tedious by design, but that doesn't necessarily sit well when you still have to play those sections. No matter how boring factory work is in real life, it's not easy to recommend a game that faithfully adapts that boredom into a game mechanic. In many ways it's a less-polished version of Cart Life—a similarly tedious, but no less striking, game.

Always Sometimes Monsters is an experience, though—one that blends a lot of the bureaucratic tedium of a Kafka novel with the core tenets of existentialism. The writing buckles under its own weight and the game itself buckles under the RPG Maker albatross, but damn is it ambitious.

 

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