May 24, 2014 9:00 AM | Anthony Swinnich
An RPG without combat might not sound like something you'd want to take part in. If you play them for the fighting then yes, stay away from this game. But if you play RPGs for the story, Vagabond Dog's Always Sometimes Monsters should not pass by untouched. The yarn used to weave your tale is laid out and stitched together by your decisions, and it's unlike anything that's come before it.
The main character's attributes are entirely decided by you during the beginning of the game, from gender, to race, to sexual preference. Choose to play as yourself, or someone completely different. The basic story is that you land a big job opportunity, but things haven't gone well in the year that follows that moment. You're down on your luck, about to be evicted, lonely, and broke. The goal is to get across the country and attend your ex's wedding. However, everything in between is dictated by how you react to the world around you.
The underlying concept laced throughout Always Sometimes Monsters is consequence. You act and the world reacts to that, sometimes good, sometimes bad, sometimes neither. Get offered multiple lines of work? The plot changes in kind. You may talk with a suicidal person. Your multilayered conversation with them and the responses you choose will determine whether they live or die. There are times where you'll be surprised by the results. Sometimes you may not like what happens. Sometimes the result may be exactly what you hoped to see. But much like life, there is no going back. You'll just have to find a way to deal with what comes your way.
Truth is, you could play through the game and not care about the decisions you make. But if you allow yourself to let go and care about what happens in the story... actually care about what kind of life you lead the character toward, Always Sometimes Monsters can provide some real chest-twisting emotion. The game is available for Windows and costs $10 through the Humble Store (on the official website) or $9 through Steam due to a temporary sale.