“Brilliant but flawed” is how Ben described Always Sometimes Monsters, an RPG which sprawls and branches and reacts in squillions of ways depending on who and how you play. You’re a struggling writer making one desperate lunge at life, out of money, kicked out your apartment, and pining for a lost love. It’s perhaps a hard sell, so last week developers Vagabond Dog released a demo with an extra framing narrative to perfectly fit that horrible loser theme: you play a games journo who goes to the launch event, plays Always Sometimes Monsters, then writes a review.
You rock up to the event, get to wander around a horrible soulless room, engage in pointless discussion, eat miniature hamburgers, drink cocktails, get a dose of PR speak, and play a chunk of the demo. You can also walk right out, which is the correct decision to make should you ever end up at a press event. Having not played ASM myself, I couldn’t tell you which part of the game the ‘demo build’ is from, but it feels like the start.
I did not dig the demo. Leaving the event, I wrote a review rating the press event build low enough that, in a later scene, the devs grumbled about losing their Metacritic-dependent bonus.
The demo is up on Steam, where the game’s also on sale–half-price at £3.49.
[The definitive games journo simulator is, of course, RPS pal Brendy’s Games Journo Story.]