Have you ever wondered where your dreams come from and why you dream the specific things you dream of…? This game begins by introducing the player to a world where monsters create dreams.
Playing as the overly happy Blythe Dalrich, hand drawn graphics introduce you to the world of the Secret Monster Society. It is a point and click adventure in the style of the old Lucas Arts Games. The game is fully voice acted with Blythe thinking out loud every step of the way. These thoughts are also displayed as on screen text.
As in old school point and click games, the mouse is used to interact with items and to move around the environment. Items can be easily dragged from inventory to where they are to be used.
From the start, the game tries to be funny, however, quickly becomes a little grating. Jokes and puzzles have been done before, using soap to create an impression of a key to open a locked chest for example.
After travelling to school via the toilet, Blythe begins to interact with a range of other characters which is more engaging than the inanimate objects from the introduction. Many of the objects in the environment have eyes (clocks, books, mirrors etc) which would probably appeal to a young audience.
The imagined world of monsters does have a little bit of a whiff of ‘Monsters Inc’ but some of the lore is pretty unique. Early in the game you get the manual for entering dreams, hinting at what is to come.
Human dreams and regulations.
Once inside human dreams, protocol 8972 must be followed. Fight all or any nightmare creatures they encounter, maintain the link between mind and heart and wash hands upon exiting a dream. During an emergency, all persons must escape to the nearest exit point. Anyone under the age of 234 will be banished to the swamp of perpetual hope.
When interacting with other characters, the player is given a choice of possible questions / replies to use via on screen text, thus giving the player ownership of the direction the game will go in.
Blythe has a history of exaggerating experiences, so friends don’t believe him when he explains he saw lights falling from the sky during the introduction of the game. Adults think he is wasting their time and wont indulge this train of thought.
This game has a slow pace and wasn’t a gripping play. Didn’t feel the desire to find out what is going on and was more a forced play.
A wide range of environments are encountered and the graphics for each of these are the same high standard.
From the start of the game there is a fair amount of backtracking to complete additional requests from characters he meets. This is exaggerated due to the slow movement speed of the character. A quicker pace in these early sections would have made the game more enjoyable and it would have felt like you were achieving more.
Music is a little repetitive but does change depending on location so never too long is spent with the same tune.
The voice acted characters are a nice touch for an indie game and did help bring the characters to life.
To sum up, if you have a craving for a point and click adventure definitely give it a look, however, unfortunately it doesn’t quite hit the highs of ‘Monkey Island’. As an introduction to the genre for a younger audience, the vibrant colours and fun characters would certainly appeal and spark curiosity and imagination.
The Secret Monster Society: Chapter One is available on steam for £4.95
This review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.