I can't remember now if it was Monster Prom or Dream Daddy that introduced me to the dating sim genre, but Monster Prom was definitely my first dating sim hybrid, a sub-genre I'm now more than a bit obsessed with. Other favourite examples of mine include last year's Boyfriend Dungeon (a dating sim and dungeon crawler), Max Gentlemen: Sexy Business (a dating and business sim), and HuniePop (a dating sim and match-3 puzzle game). Monster Prom is a dating sim and competitive multiplayer party game, where up to four players vie to romance attractive monsters and invite them to the school dance.
If this sounds like a recipe for social disaster on a scale with Monopoly, don't dismiss it out of hand. While you do technically have the option to undermine another player's attempts to woo your love interest of choice, the sheer variety of romanceable characters on offer usually leads to a scenario where you and your supposed rivals are all interested in different monsters anyway. At that point, you sometimes get the opportunity to wingman for a friend and net stat boosts for both of you. It's actually all surprisingly wholesome… provided your idea of wholesome has room for loads of jokes riffing on sex, drugs, mind-bending cosmic horrors, and whatever else young adult immortal monsters get up to in a high school where everyone is conveniently over 18 years of age.
First released in 2018, Monster Prom is now a sprawling franchise as indie visual novels go: with one sequel already out, another due so soon it might have launched by the time you read this, and three more planned before the devs take a well-deserved break from the series. There's something almost quaint about going back to the original now, and Monster Prom 3 in particular tightens up the formula from a multiplayer perspective. But if you're new, then I still think it's worth starting from the beginning, if only to really appreciate the surprising amount of growth each character has gone through over the past few years. And you wouldn't want to skip prom, now would you?