monster roadtrip start
Image via Beautiful Glitch

Review: Monster Prom 3: Monster Roadtrip: I Can’t Wait to Get on the Road Again

Fasten those seat belts, it's gonna get wild.

Personally speaking, I’m not the biggest fan of roadtrips. You either have to be the driver and contend with stiff foot joints or be a passenger and resign yourself to having no control over the music. Don’t even get me started on gas prices. Luckily, in the world of Monster Prom, half the sapient species don’t have joints that can get sore, the music is always great, and gas is magic somehow! With those factors in mind, the newest Monster Prom game, Monster Roadtrip, is objectively better than your typical real-life roadtrip from the start, and it only gets better.

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Review Takeaways

  • Bloody hilarious
  • Lots of new and original character art and voice lines to admire
  • Surprisingly engaging resource management system
  • Very user-friendly, concise tutorials and helpful customization
  • Some of the choices are still a bit obtuse
  • A few missing features at launch
  • Final Score: 9/10

Packin’ Snacks, Makin’ Tracks

monster roadtrip biker
Image via Beautiful Glitch

The premise of Monster Roadtrip is slightly different from the previous Monster Prom games. Rather than acting with the express purpose of putting the moves on one of your peers, the goal of the game is to ensure the roadtrip is a success. You and up to three of your friends join Scott and Polly on their trek across the desert, stopping at one of two choices every turn.

You have six resources you need to keep an eye on as you travel: Hype, Magic, Mind, Money, Soul, and Stamina. Participating in events at every stop will raise and lower these resources based on the choices you make; if any of the resources drops to zero, the whole roadtrip is kaput, but you also need to build up a specific resource in order to make it to the end of the game.

Something I immediately appreciated about Monster Roadtrip was its transparency, especially compared to the previous two games. You get a clear view of which of your resources could be affected at each stop (unless the game deliberately withholds that to make things interesting), and the event type you pick features clear instructions about how your resources will be affected. You still need to make an educated guess about which event choices will affect your resources and how, but that’s the main appeal of the core gameplay loop, so that’s fine.

Cracking Up on Cracked Pavement

monster roadtrip desert foot
Image via Beautiful Glitch

If you’ve played any of the previous Monster Prom games, you’ve probably got a good idea of what kind of writing to expect. The wacky, irreverent humor is back in force, and I can’t get enough of it. On my first run, I stopped off at a biker bar and started a brawl for fun. My choices for a brawl opponent were a really buff wizard and a living embodiment of nightmares. I went for the wizard, burning some of my Magic to totally freak him out with card tricks, gaining Hype in the process. Also, when I successfully made it to an end destination for the first time, I had to leave the game sitting for about four minutes because I was doubled over laughing at what I had stumbled into.

In addition to the humor, though, Monster Roadtrip has a surprisingly human element to it (ironically, given, y’know, monsters). After a few events, you stop off at a rest stop, where you can swap resources and plan your route, but you can also chat with Scott and Polly, or pick up hitchhikers and chat with them. These chats don’t have choices to make, they’re just nice little character-building moments where you get to bond with your favorite monsters. Incidentally, for those of you who did like the dating aspect of the previous games, you can still get a date ending if you pursue these chats enough. And even if you don’t, chatting up your fellow roadtrippers activates wacky passive effects and can occasionally trigger special events.

Related: Is Monster Roadtrip a Dating Sim?

To briefly return to the subject of transparency, Monster Roadtrip is also a very accessible game. If the dialogue is too raunchy for you, and it can get very raunchy, you can set trigger warnings in the game’s options to filter out the stuff you’re uncomfortable with. Just like in previous games, you can set your player character’s name and preferred pronouns, and there are also difficulty settings for more leisurely or more intense runs. Best of all, you can save mid-run now! Since a run just goes on indefinitely until you either die or reach a destination, a save feature was an absolute must, so I’m really glad they remembered to put that in.

Destroying Friendships for Fun and Profit

monster roadtrip polly
Image via Beautiful Glitch

On subsequent runs, I added some extra players and switched to one of the other game modes. At the end of a run in single or multiplayer, every player is rated on their resource contribution to the destination you ended up at, with the winner receiving a special unique ending CG. If you want to keep things low-pressure, though, you can swap to Friend Hugger mode so there aren’t any winners or losers. You can’t get the unique CGs if you play that way, however.

If you really want to backstab your friends, you can play in Prank Masterz mode, unlocked after the first successful run. In this mode, every player receives special dare cards at the start of the run and at rest stops, which require you to complete various tasks or fulfill certain objectives. Completing these dares earns players Prank Dollarz (with a Z, as Scott always reminds us), which they can bid to forcibly kick other players off of certain activities at a rest stop.

I think if I absolutely had to nitpick for flaws about Monster Roadtrip, there’d be two of them. First, some of the choice results are a bit on the obtuse side. The game does a decent job of explaining what kind of actions affect which resources, but sometimes, the choices just seem like a complete crapshoot. Granted, it’s less of a crapshoot than the previous games, which is good, but it can still be frustrating to lose your progress to a confusing choice. Secondly, the game is missing a few features at launch, namely its CG gallery and achievements. These’ll be added later, though, so that’s a relatively minor concern.

Riding Off into the Sunset

monster roadtrip ufo
Image via Beautiful Glitch

Monster Roadtrip is a great game for when you just want something funny to spend some time on while listening to a podcast, or when you want something fun to do with friends that doesn’t take much setup. The game supports both online and local play, so even if your friends don’t have the game, you can host a session yourself, board game night-style, just by streaming through Discord or something.

If I had to choose between a real-life roadtrip, complete with stops at a sketchy, smelly Stucky’s, and a Monster Roadtrip with a stop at a magic, shenanigans-inviting Stucky’s, I’d definitely choose the latter every time.

Monster Prom 3: Monster Roadtrip is available on PC via Steam and GOG.

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Author
Daniel Trock
Since the first time he picked up a controller as a child, Daniel has been a dyed-in-the-wool gaming fanatic, with a Steam library numbering over 600 games. His favorite pastime, aside from playing games, is doing deep dives on game wikis to learn more about their lore and characters.