Always Sometimes Monsters

An inventive exploration of desperation in video game form.

Sometimes Always Monsters announced, due this year

Sometimes Always Monsters announced, due this year

The sequel to Always Sometimes Monsters.

Life-falling-apart sim Always Sometimes Monsters is getting a sequel with the confusingly titled Sometimes Always Monsters.

Announced today by developer Vegabond Dog and publisher Devolver Digital, this follow-up is due later this year on Steam.

The perplexing title is that way for a reason, as the developer described it as an inverse of its predecessor. Always Sometimes Monsters was a game about a character of your own creation whose life is crumbling after a breakup, eviction notice, and a dispiriting lack of commercial success as a writer. This sequel, however, is the opposite where your character has achieved their previous goals, but is still finding life trying.

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Always Sometimes Monsters review

At some point, we'll all probably hit rock bottom, be it through a break-up, divorce, death, poverty or physical injury. Whether we've hit that point in our life or not, we all sort of know it's coming. Eventually. The threat of tragedy hangs over our lives as a curious thing, a distant idea we toy with when we're feeling particularly masochistic. Always Sometimes Monsters is about those moments and the things people can or will do when backed into a corner and left to wallow in their desperation.

One of my favorite lines from the past decade of film is in Batman Begins. Mobster Carmine Falcone is talking to wealthy playboy Bruce Wayne and Falcone says, "You've never tasted desperate." Wayne, even after seeing his mother and father gunned down, still hasn't seen just how much worse his life could be. He can still lose more. It wasn't until I played Always Sometimes Monsters and found myself selling a dog to an underground dogfighting ring that I realised I'd hit that point for the first time in a game.

In Always Sometimes Monsters, you mostly play as a struggling writer. The game opens with an introduction to a new publisher, eager to toast to your success and take a gamble on your future. A year later and you're six months behind on the book, late for a $500 rent bill, on the verge of eviction and you've lost the love of your life. To those who haven't yet tasted desperate, that's what it feels like. Having been in an almost identical situation myself, I can say that it's not a fun place. Similarly, this game is a struggle. It's stressful. Annoying. Tedious. Frustrating. And completely worth it.

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