Village Monsters
by Azoloth in
Demo Indie Game Market Review

Have you ever wondered what happens inside the world of an abandoned video game? All those NPCs with their artificial lives…what happens to them after the game is powered off for that final time? Village Monsters is an relaxing village life sim set in one such forgotten world. ~From the creators itch.io page

 

How do you rate this game?

Sargon’s Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Village Monsters

Game Play:3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)
Story:5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)
Visuals:5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)
Audio:5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)
User Interface:2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)

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Village Monsters Rating 4.0

IntroVillage Monsters if the first Demo Review I am conducting, so forgive me if the format feels awkward. I have been following this game on itch.io and game jolt for some time waiting for the demo to come out, or for the game to be made live. When I finally noticed it was this weekend I downloaded and played it for a while. The Demo is limited to 3 days in length, however, they say you can do most things except for a few items they had to disable.

Honestly for an indie game made in Gamemaker Studio 2 I am impressed by what they have accomplished. I hope before release they clean up the game play, at least with an introduction to show me what I can do; as well as fix the user interface and how uncomfortable it feels.

That said I plan to buy this game when it comes out, even if it is just to explore the story. There are many characters within the game I want to find out more about.

Game Play 3.0

FishingThe Game Play rating is hard for me to give since this is not a full version of the game. The closest game I have to compare this to is Stardew Valley which is one of my favorite games. In fact it is my number one favorite game of all time. So keep that in mind as I go through it.

Starting out I have a bug net, a fishing pole, and a shovel. I only put about 30 minutes of time into play the Demo and can say it does not start out as smoothly as other games in its genre. The only thing I was able to figure out how to do was fish. The fishing mechanic is not my favorite. However, it is possible it will grow on me with time. When I first play Stardew Valley it took me a few days of playing in real time not to detest its fishing system.

I wasn’t able to figure out what more I could do in my first 2 days in the game, which is admittedly all I played. There are a ton of characters to talk to, so many characters to talk to. So many windows of text to read… Don’t get me wrong I love a good story. However, I don’t feel all this text does the game any favores. Stardew valley seemed to hit a perfect mix of actions and conversation.

I did really like how as the time spinner goes in the upper right hand corner it also shows you what type of weather to expect. This will be very useful if the weather impacts what you can do in game.

I feel like I have less agency in this world starting out than I did in Stardew Valley and other village simulation games I have played. Usually I start out with a house I can do stuff with. Here I started out at an inn and could not even unpack because I needed to buy my own place first. Now, this may be offset later when I get the joy of earning my house, that is if I ever figure out how to get money…

Story 5.0

StoryI love the premise for this game, What happens to all the NPCs? I want to know why I am the only human here! Surely there have been other human NPCs, do they go somewhere else? Was I a PC and got sent here by accident? So many questions.

The game also features a ton of unique and interesting characters to interact with. I was never able to figure out what to do beyond fishing, however, I am eager to learn. I really want to know more about each of these characters and see exactly where  the story leads.

Now a fairy I ran into on my first day mentioned I should find someone and fill some paperwork out… maybe if I do that more will open up or be explained. I am not sure. 3 days doesn’t feel like very much time in this world. I will likely wait until it is fully released and do a new review on the full version.

Visuals 5.0

Evening

I love the artwork. It is true it is not as polished as Stardew Valley, I keep thinking back to that game every time I play this one. However, the artwork doesn’t need to be as polished as Stardew Valleys for the game to be enjoyable. I find the artwork bright, colorful, and fun! Exploring this game is something I am looking forward to.

I am also curious about the glitch area in the demo. Is that area is just blocked off because it is not done, or if it will make it into the game that way and you will have to fix it. If it is the later I think that would be very cool. If the former not nearly as cool but a neat way to do it. I just kind of like the idea of having to fix glitches in the land so it is habitable again.

Village Monsters does feel more 2D than Stardew Valleys 2.5D look. Yet this works well for it, 2D games are awesome in my opinion. I really wish more developers would make good 2d games.

Audio 5.0

I find the audio very beautiful and I enjoyed all of the music and sound effects in the game. often I discuss how important the audio elements are to games. When you look at classic games and indie games it is always surprising what these small groups or developers could do with limited resources.

So a kudos to the developers for hitting all of the right points with their music and audio assets in the game. I really enjoyed them during my short playthrough.

User Interface 2.0

RoomI don’t like the user interface at all. First off I always hate it when  they take away my mouse. I find it a natural way to interact with the world and am not a fan of being forced to do everything with the keyboard. Using the z key for actions is uncomfortable. I believe this was made with Gamemaker Studio 2 though, that being the case it is an understandable limitation. If that is the limiting factor I hope the game does well enough that they port it to a better engine to give it more functionality.

When trying to interact with vendors in the world I was never able to figure out exactly what I was doing. Given I did not put much effort into it. I am used to games like Stardew Valley where the user interface for interacting with shops is very clean and easy.

Moving around was as expected, I just wish I could do more with the mouse. Hitting z every time I want to interact with something somehow felt wrong. I also wonder how limiting this will be later on.

I would also like some hints, and mouse overs are great for hints in this type of game. For example I never did figure out what I could do with my bug net or shovel. Every time I tried to use the shovel it sounded like I was hitting metal. Most games give you icons as you mouse over items that let you know how you can interact with them. Something like that would be nice here if they ever get mouse support in the game. It would make starting the game much easier.

I am just afraid that what looks to be an awesome game will be hamstrung by these issues.

Final Thoughts

NightDespite the game play issues and the user interface issues I find Village Monsters very enjoyable. I think it is engaging and beautiful. The author has really put time into developing a story, beautiful graphic assets, and amazing audio assets. Now they just need to brush up on their game design and coding skills. Make the game play feel more natural and easier to jump into, and fix how clunky the user interface is.

If they can get past those two hurdles I think this game will do well. If you enjoy games such as Stardew Valley and Graveyard Keeper give this a shot. Visit the link above and download the Demo and see if you like it.

I always encourage supporting indie developers and studios, and if this first game is any indication those behind Village Monsters will make some great games.

Disclaimer:

I am including the link to this game on itch.io because I am an affiliate with them an earn a commision for any items bough through my affiliate links. This game is also going to be available on Steam for those who prefer steam. I myself love supporting itch.io because they support indie game makers much more than Steam does with free listings.

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