By Khloe Wilkerson
A wise person once said, “The most important decision you make is to be in a good mood,” and Odencat’s Meg’s Monster is a perfect example of that wisdom. While it’s called a JRPG, I’d suggest that Meg’s Monster isn’t that at all, but rather a game that straddles the adventure and visual novel genres – with a few light obstacles tossed in for good measure. Despite the game’s appearance of turn-based combat and an underworld full of creatures to confront, it also has both heart and comedy, making it the ideal tiny game to spend a whole weekend playing. In this creepy-cute indie adventure, you gain control of the Underworld’s angriest monster to help a wandering young girl find her way home. But if you have the guts to aid her and if you let her cry when things get rough, the entire earth perishes!
During this fairly short game released on Steam, Xbox and Switch, protagonist Meg wakes up in a rubbish heap in the underworld at the start of Meg’s Monster. She soon encounters Roy and Golan, two monsters. The arrival of a kid-sized snack makes Golan very delighted. Roy, on the other hand, is solely interested in Magic Tar, the best oily material anyone could ever have. Yet as Golan prepares to devour Meg, they quickly learn that her cries set off the apocalypse. Everything is on the point of extinction, and the atmosphere around them heats up to a temperature comparable to the fires of hell. In order to keep her safe while they search for her mother by sneaking her out of the criminal underground, Golan persuades the reluctant and practically unbreakable Roy.
Meg and Roy’s relationship develops throughout the narrative. A few twists in Meg’s Monster keeps the interest high right up to the end. The six-hour journey is greatly fleshed out by a multitude of various strange monsters, including a ditsy blonde and ineffective monster Council that despises humans; I rapidly became attracted to most of the cast and their backstories. Roy and Golan develop a closer bond but still find it difficult to communicate their feelings. The interactions between all of these individuals make perusing the entire narrative worthwhile.
Meg’s Monster’s visual aesthetic is reminiscent of the traditional comic-book pixel art style that I have grown to know and adore. The backgrounds are detailed and each individual sprite is well designed and emotive. These straightforward images give you some freedom to add your own creativity to the tale while providing you with a pleasing visual experience.
The various environments and the endearing but inventive character designs are just enough to stick in the mind. I can jump in and time travel back to when I was younger since the game’s graphics make me think of something from my youth. The visuals won’t blow you away if you expect them to be something you’ve never seen before because this game was designed to tell a tale. But they do a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of atmosphere and action.
The game’s plot and narrative are quite intricate. Roy’s attempts to raise Meg are seen throughout the story. The Underworld’s territory is so enduringly, eccentrically human. But it’s not in a way that demonstrates the creators’ lack of inventiveness in building a monstrous way of living by being inspired by a homo sapien-oriented world. Instead, it effectively depicts how universal truths, whether they pertain to the world of humans or monsters, impact our actions. That the need of teaching children to look both ways for cars before crossing the street. Even if the child/student belts screams of doom and the educator is a gigantic crimson monster, it’s just so relatable.
The writing in the game is what gave it its wonderful flow. That was simple enough to grasp, and I used it regularly to decide how to continue in the fights and game elements that were presented. Certain game components may surprise you. Yet, the majority of them were fun games that you would normally play if you prefer thoughtful, laid-back entertainment. This story, which shows a little girl being raised by monsters, touched me deeply. In the end, it is true that “a town nurtures a child.” We already know that when she tears up, the world dies, and although this adds intrigue to the game, it also emphasizes how it feels to be hurt and defeated – the feeling of the world ending. The game teaches certain things about the actual world and reality while being a fun and pleasant piece of interactive fiction.
Most of the time, you’ll be steering Roy through various situations. You can explore one section at a time, studying artifacts and interacting with other Underworld dwellers. There is a map of the many locales you will visit, from which you may choose your next destination. Destinations highlighted with a red exclamation point advance the tale, while ones marked with a green exclamation point are optional but provide some more substance and humorous enhancement to your experience.
Roy will occasionally be summoned to combat by someone else. Roy is jacked, therefore most foes won’t have a chance against him. Roy has 99,999 health, which makes him almost invincible. Meg, the little girl, can’t stand to see Roy get wounded during a battle. With each blow Roy receives, her emotional health deteriorates. If her health declines too much, she’ll begin to cry. Thankfully, you won’t lose hours of gaming if you ever reach the moment where she cries; you will only need to restart the battle. But rather than using the usual potions and remedies, you’ll need to play and cheer Meg up in order to calm her down and restore some of her health in order to keep it from going too low. An example of this is by taking out a soccer ball, and playing soccer with her. To keep things interesting, many toys have various effects and stat bonuses.
Meg’s Monster’s isn’t the game for you if you’re hoping for an RPG with a lot of complexity, intrigue, and strategy. While these components are present, as well as several other enjoyable challenges and unexpected twists on the battlefield, the primary focus of the game is the story it has to tell. This is a game that everyone, regardless of skill level can play, and it won’t take long. Even if you are an experienced player, you may still enjoy this game. For beginners, the only thing that may seem a bit difficult is combat, but you’ll get the hang of it after a few times.
The downside? Roy’s avatar can occasionally become stuck when picking up items. Determining the ideal position to stand in when you want to start an interaction with an NPC or object can be challenging. Sometimes, chat choices block background voice displays, which is a bit of a problem. Yet, the game’s brilliance serves to mask any slight flaws. The game is a lot of fun to play thanks to its distinctive combination of turn-based combat and cunning management.
Overall, Meg’s Monster is a game that combines fun without difficult controls, a breathtaking emotional plot, charming pixel images, and great music to produce a one-of-a-kind gaming experience. Like good ice cream on a hot summer day, it’s short, sweet, and delightful.
Bronx native Khloe Wilkerson is our youngest intern. She recently won a college scholarship and completed our journalism and writing class at Mott Hall III.