Posted: May 23
"Always Sometimes Monsters" was an experience, for sure. Thought-provoking, clever, humorous, and dark in all the right places. The interactive story of people at their best and worst. But I have some serious gripes. For one, there never seemed to be any consequence for starving your character. Early on I made sure my blocky textured game self was properly fed at least one brick of bacon a day. By the end of the game, however, it didn't matter. I went the last few days without so much as entering a store. No complaints of hunger, no risk of starvation... I just kept trucking.
Another complaint: pacing. Man was this game hindered by poor pacing. The game runs out of interesting tasks early on, and getting on to the next "level" require monotonous grinding under the guise of "man does real life suck or what?" And I get it. You want to buy expensive things, you've got to work for it... or be greasy enough to rob people blind. But as a game mechanic it turned the experience into a chore. But I kept on trucking, like my malnutritioned game character. I had to get to the end. Surely that would make it worth it? All of these choices - so many variables! How will my story turn out? Well, SPOILERS...
It ends the same way every time. Me in an alleyway with a gun pointed at me. Did I betray my friend? Yep. Marry my girl? Yep. Did everything end up falling apart? Yep. Okay, seems logical. If you're a ♥♥♥♥, you're going to get a ♥♥♥♥ ending. I'll do it differently! I'll help my friend. Let my girl marry him. Maybe now I won't end up all distraught in an alley? Didn't I make friends in my travels? Friends who swore they'd help me and be there for me? Wasn't I a good person? Rescuing dogs and helping old ladies? Nope. I'm in an alley, begging for the sweet release of death. Well, that isn't very fun. Again, this feels like lazy design disguised as some seriously angsty philosophy... life sucks. It doesn't matter what you do, who you are, or who your friends are, it all ends the same way: you, in an alley, hoping some guy will execute you to make the pain go away. Really unfortunate. You can be a horrible monster or a paragon and it ends the same way. What, bad guys don't win sometimes? Good guys lose, sure, but they don't EVER prevail?
I may have to play this through a few more times, but what I'm seeing from other players is the same preachy, bummer ending. I'll rescind this review if need be; assuming there's a way to end it with me not sucking the proverbial barrel of a gun.
Edit: As of 5/24/2014 I'm seeing that there were some finale bugs that resulted in the player character ending up in his/her homeless predicament regardless of doggy rescuing and old lady assisting. It seems the devs have corrected this. It also seems that there are a few happy endings that require a bit of finagling... choosing arbitrary reasons for the initial break-up, choosing how to make a quick buck, either planting seeds or harvesting medicinal marijuana... I don't know why. I still can't recommend it. Some people will enjoy this. It's an interesting story with some flashes of brilliance; just not enough. If you like bummerfests (as that is likely how your story will end JUST LIKE REAL LIFE MAYBE SOMETIMES ALWAYS), and you don't mind monotonous grinding, THIS might be the game for you.