Review: Meg’s Monster – A One-Of-A-Kind Adventure That Hits You In The Feels
There are a lot of forgettable little indie RPGs floating around on the Nintendo Switch eShop, but it’d be a mistake to lump developer Odencat’s Meg’s Monster in with them. In fact, despite appearances of turn-based battles and an underworld filled with monsters to battle, we’d argue that Meg’s Monster isn’t an RPG at all, but rather a game that walks a fine line between the adventure and visual novel genres with light puzzles sprinkled in. It also has humour and heart in equal measure, making for a perfect little game to devote a weekend to.
Meg’s Monster begins with the titular Meg waking up in a trash heap in the underworld. She soon meets two monsters, Golan and Roy. Golan is quite happy that a child-sized snack waltzed up to them. Roy, on the other hand, has eyes only for an oily substance known as Magic Tar. However, as Golan goes to gobble up Meg, they soon find out her cries trigger an apocalypse. Golan convinces the reluctant and nearly indestructible Roy to keep her safe as they try to find her mom by smuggling her out of the underworld.
You may think that this setup – brutish monster with little emotion protecting a young child – will hit some predictable story beats. Sure, the crux of the narrative sees Meg growing on Roy and vice versa, but without spoiling anything, Meg’s Monster has a few story twists that kept us intrigued until the credits rolled. A cast of other quirky monsters, including the ditzy and ineffectual monster Council that detests humanity, go a long way into fleshing out the six-hour adventure; we grew attached to most of the cast and their backstories quite quickly. Roy and Golan also have a nice little bromance going on, resplendent with a lot of ‘bros’ and ‘mans’ thrown back and forth as they struggle to express their emotions. Despite a one-note antagonist, the interplay between all these characters makes seeing the story through well worth it.
Most of your time protecting Meg will be spent hopping from location to location on a world map. Once at your destination, you’ll have to talk to a bizarre creature here or beat up a monster hungry for human children there. Battles are turned based with a twist: Roy is nearly indestructible with 99,999 health. However, Meg, hiding behind him, isn’t. If her ‘heart’ takes too much damage, she’ll start bawling and it’s game over. This creates a kind of resource management puzzle, balancing punching – Roy has three levels of punches that charge up – and using various toys to heal Meg’s spirit.
All battles are scripted, meaning there are no random monsters to pummel. They often feel overwhelming at first. Meg takes too much damage or Roy’s later opponents hit him with multiple, high-damage hits, but during just about every encounter something will happen – an enemy will make a stupid mistake and drop something Roy can use, for example — to get the blue monster bro back in it.
By the last hour or two, we stopped enjoying the battles, as they take quite a bit of time with meat-spongy enemies. While Odencat threw in a few curveballs in the way of simple quick-time events (like a Simon Says minigame to disable an enemy’s contraption) to keep things from growing too stale, we really just wanted to see what happened to the characters we’d grown attached to in such a short amount of time, and the deluge of fights leading up to the climax had us growing impatient.
There’s also a handful of short side missions that provide no real gameplay but instead flesh out the backstories of the Council members with funny little skits. Likewise, when Roy takes Meg back to his threadbare mancave to rest in between story beats, the little girl convinces her monster protector to play with him. These scenes unlock toys to use in battle but more importantly, they provide some hilariously heartwarming scenes. In one, Roy, after scavenging a deck of standard playing cards, makes up a whole complex Yu-Gi-Oh-like game to play with her as he’s never played something simple like Concentration – attacking her four of diamonds with his six of hearts, and so on.
These scenes and all the cast’s memories together come back into play in the climactic final battle and wonderfully heartwarming ending. With the game’s evocative theme playing at just the right moment, we felt like we were punched in the gut by Roy with feels rather than his massive fist. We even got a little misty-eyed at the end, and we’re not ashamed to admit it, bro.
Meg’s Monster is a one-of-a-kind adventure with a lot of heart, well worth a chunk of your weekend or to play for an hour or two before bed. Sure, some of it is predictable and the novelty of protecting Meg during battle fades near the end, but if you’re anything like us, you won’t want to put it down until you see how Roy’s heartwarming adventure to reunite Meg with her mother concludes. You might even shed a tear or two while keeping the little girl safe.