Also available on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, and 3DS
Ladies and gentlemen, I have played a lot of shitty games in my day, and I expect licensed games to be the shittiest of the lot. Having played through this entire game...for some reason...I'm actually surprised to say that this isn't one of the worst games I've ever played. Don't get me wrong - it's FAR from being good - but it's really not as bad as I expected when I started playing it. Speaking of starting this game, that needs a story to explain. I asked some of my BronyCon friends what game I should play next, and a handful said (paraphrasing here) "Play that Monster High game! And make your character a whore!" So I started playing the Monster High game, and I tried (and failed) to make my character a whore. With that said, this review's dedicated to Robyn, or as we call her Party Gypsy.
Okay, so let's start with the premise of the game. You're a new student at Monster High, and in what is probably the most unrealistic thing about this game (including having zombies, skeletons, and plant monsters as classmates), everyone in your new school is super nice and welcoming to you. You're more or less pressed into the joining the Student Council and the Fearleading Team, your first indication that this game is going to be full of puns so bad even my mother would groan. From there, you go through your day to day life, starting every day with a student council meeting, then class, then fearleading practice, then more class, and then you usually have to help one of the clubs of which you're not a member do something. You help the comic book club make a new superhero, you help the robotics club build a robot, you help the enviro club do plant...stuff....you help the fashion club settle the age old question of blue vs green, and you help the cooking club fail miserably at cooking. I guess part of being a zombie is having dead taste buds.
The main "story" objectives all revolve around the student council and the fearleading team and really-not-particularly-mysterious curse that starts to take hold of people in the school. Honestly, that was my biggest frustration; this curse is so damn obvious, and everyone in this school is completely brain dead (even the ones who aren't some kind of undead monster). Like, all of a sudden your friends start having glowing purple eyes and start spewing nonsense about pyramids, a king, and tribute? Yeah, something's not right there, and the proper course of action is not "Ignore it and assume it's a character quirk that somehow never manifested before now." This game could have been cut in half if my actions weren't limited to "Talk" and "Jump." Seriously, give me a "Choke a bitch" action button, please.
Graphically, the game is what you should expect from licensed shovelware based on a kid's show - only slightly better than most 3D indie games. The emphasis is very much on the word "slightly." The voice acting is passable for the most part. The sound effects are obnoxious as shit, but they almost got the music right. While it drove me insane at first, the little theme song they have is actually really catchy. I wouldn't describe it as "good," per se, but it's definitely easy to get it stuck in your head. Unfortunately, that only plays when you're doing the REALLY easy and repetitive fearleading minigame; even more unfortunately, that plays EVERY SINGLE TIME you have to do that minigame (which is pretty much every "day" in the game). The rest of the background music is fine in short bursts, but there are like two or three background tracks that play CONSTANTLY with very little variation. The result is that you quickly get sick of all of it even though it's actually not that bad.
The biggest problem I had with the game, as one might expect, is that it just feels pointless. Why do I care about the student council bake sale to raise money for the "creepeteria" renovations? And what the hell kind of cookies are you selling to be able to afford two 4K televisions mounted to the wall and all new seating after one day? Those cookies better be made from black truffle and topped with gold leaf to be able to raise that kind of cash that quickly. Another thing I kept wondering is why everything's a damn fetch quest? What do I look like? Some errand girl? Bitch, I'm a dragon chick; I can roast you with a sneeze. Why am I the one running all over the school looking for plant food, robot cores, and places to hang posters? That really describes the game - 90% fetch quest and 10% rhythm game so easy that someone paralyzed from the neck down could manage it.
Overall, Monster High: New Ghoul in School truly did impress me. Whether you want to read that as a credit to the game or a testament to just how little I expect from licensed games these days is up to you, but I really expected to hate it a lot more than I do. Don't misunderstand; it's still a bad game, and I definitely don't recommend anyone bother playing unless you just REALLY love Monster High. I expected it to be five or six hours of agony, though. What I got instead of ten or eleven hours of mediocrity. If you've got a kid who likes Monster High, sure, pick it up for the youngun; copies aren't that expensive. If you're going for a full system set like I am with Wii U, you can't really get around it. Other than those two reasons, though I really don't see any reason to bother with this game. It's not HORRIBLE, but it's definitely not good, and it gets pretty boring pretty quickly.
My Rating - 2 Neps
I'm a teacher.
And I like to play video games. I like to collect video games. I like to talk about video games, and I like to write about video games. During the day, I teach high school history; during the night, I spend my spare time gaming. Then I write about it.