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CONSOLE: PC DEVELOPER: Torus Games PUBLISHER: Little Orbit
RELEASE DATE (NA): December 21, 2015 GENRE: Action-Adventure
// review by EscapeRouteBritish

Welcome to Monster High, the place where you can be anything you want. Except a boy. You can't be a boy.

Monster High isn't a series I have too much experience with besides stocking books and accessories where I work, but the series always struck me as having a high quality polished look to it. The books especially that we would stock were printed on good quality paper, and the accessories were sturdy and well made. Not that I bought or wore any of them, so you can get that idea out of your head. This video game is no exception, because rather than being shovelware we have a product here that some actual time, effort, and passion went into. That's rare with a license, especially one that belongs to a toy line with an animated series.

I was surprised to find that this is actually a lengthy, well-polished game that takes about 10 hours to beat, but that's just story and side missions. It might take up to another five just to clean up on collectibles and clothing, of which there is an extensive amount. And all those clothes cost money, so you gotta grind your cute monster tooshie down those school halls collecting floating coins. What is this, Barbie meets Crackdown? I managed to get everything within a day, but this is because I'm a gamer with a ridiculous amount of experience playing video games, so a younger player (such as, I don't know, the age group this game is actually intended for) may take longer to complete this game.

The graphics are clawsome. The environments are detailed, the texture work is clean, and I barely saw one stretched texture anywhere, while that sort of this is common in the big modern games. Once again, the people on this project were quite clearly passionate about making a fangtastic product. Get used to the puns; the dialogue is loaded with them.

New Ghoul In School is quite remarkably robust. There's one significant game breaking glitch with the iCoffin Newsfeed, but it doesn't render the game unplayable. The solution is simply to just not look at the newsfeed anymore. A shame since effort went into writing those text entries, and they really serve to flesh out the backstory behind the scenes at school while you play. This pissed me off, but over time, I learned just to ignore the feature. I shouldn't have to ignore it.


We are monsters, we are high...

So you get to create your own character! Your options include a zombie, a gargoyle, a Frankenstein (ugh, it's Frankenstein's monster, NOT a "Frankenstein"... what is wrong with you people!?) What does it matter, anyway? I felt that my choice of monster race didn't effect anything. I know it's dumb to compare something like this to say, Elder Scrolls, but in such a game your choice of race has an effect on your abilities while here it does absolutely nothing. One such example of what they could have implemented is as follows: if they had a section that was in the dark, the were-cat, vampire and werewolf could see clearly while the other monsters would need some kind of light-source. Maybe something to consider if these developers are allowed access to the Monster High license again in the future.

Getting around school is confusing, but it was confusing for me in real life when I went to actual school, so I guess that's pretty accurate really. The map isn't very efficient. I wish it marked which lockers could be opened so clearing them up at the end would have been easier. And all those collectibles don't unlock anything. Why not a cheerleading outfit for finding the pennants, or a spider-web dress for finding the spiders? The collectibles do nothing. They're just there to be found. They don't even have googly eyes like in Banjo-Kazooie.

One exceptionally catchy music plays as you jaunt around the halls of Spookhaven but I'd have much rather had a bit more music variety. The voice acting is good, but Spectra and Ghoulia's voices are horrendous and, quite frankly, grating. The audio gets a pass but barely. That one good Daft Punk-esque music track doesn't make up for having cheerleading sections that play "like" a rhythm game but are completely out of time.

In my opinion, this game far exceeded my low expectations and gave me something to make fun of on a chilled Bank Holiday afternoon. Would probably keep your kids busy, but I'd recommend buying the game on a console where the crashes are less frequent. The game was released on a handful of consoles including the outdated Wii, but I imagine that and the version I played are barely any different besides graphical quality.

Not quite shovelscare, but almost.


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