Monster Garden was a game I got to preview at Busan Indie Connect in September 2018. Burpy Fresh went out for Puffer Fish Soup with the developer. I don’t know if I need this disclosure or anything, mostly just that I know where the good soup is in Korea if anyone wants visit and chat about games.
Time moves ever forward. It presses upon all creations as it moves inexorably further into the void. Eventually reaching towards the inevitable heat death and ensuing peace that will end this, the darkest of all timelines.
The weird and wonderful monsters that we all are somehow find a way to shamble forward, forever hungering and searching for whatever it is that our particular monstrous appetites require. And, as this is a dark uncaring corner of the multiverse, we often never really find it.
But… consider… there are infinite different timelines all centered around the choices we and the singular oddballs that travel with us make. Because we have only the infinite to consider a single point of light can be seen from an infinite amount of angles. So, this is simultaneously the darkest and most hopeful of timelines. I think… Maybe? That all depends on you. And Mr. Bobo. Always, Mr. Bobo.
Mr. Bobo is a monster. He is at a crossroads. He wants to clean up a garden and then have a party. These are admirable and noble goals for a monster to have. This is a good way to combat the darkness. He will need friends. His friends all have circumstances of their own to deal with. Mr. Bobo might help them.
Mechanically Monster Garden isn’t much to write to monster home about. It’s a basic JRPG style walk and talk game. You walk and push the button to talk. There aren’t any combat situations, and no real fail state. But… that’s not really the point is it?
What is the point then if everything thing is pointless? I dunno, man. Chill out and make the hard decision to live your life better. Maybe have a party with friends?
- The art. It is all well crafted by this Zach Wood guy who made the game. The monsters look that combination of weird and cute that make the pleasure centers in my brain feel pleasant. There are a bunch of monsters to meet. A lot of them have cool things to say.
- The story. The story is a chilled out tale of a bunch of weirdos trying to be the best weird that they can be. I can dig that and way emphasize. We are all on the same trip. Each of Mr. Bobo’s friends has little side stories you can explore by selecting their responses during dialogue trees. And there is a remarkable amount of thought put into the dialogue. It’s clever, funny, and philosophical. I walked away from Monster Garden with some new ideas up in my head. And that has ever been my definition of Good Art.
Ultimately, this is the weird and unique type of indie game that I like to see. You can complete it in about 40 minutes, with some added replay value trying for all the dialogue possibilities. It’s entertaining, breezy, and tried to teach me something about life. Ain’t too many experiences out there the do that like a good game. Like, man, you have to choose your own adventure, dig? Adventures is what keeps the universe from collapsing in upon itself for another day.