You Should Play A Monster’s Expedition
Frustration is part and parcel of most puzzle games, and the impetus to keep on trying, despite repeated, painful failures does sap quite rapidly for me. A Monster’s Expedition seems to understand this on a deeply instinctive level, and every aspect of its setting feels meticulously tailored to soothing that tendency for rage quitting. Everything about this puzzle game is sheer whimsical joy, from the delicate, pastel tone of its ambient soundtrack, to the child-like innocence of its monster protagonist. It’s so cosy that you wouldn’t realise you’ve already sunk hours into this comforting little game.
Perhaps A Monster’s Expedition really isn’t that little; there are more than enough puzzles to keep you occupied due to its monstrously enormous map. You’re a little monster dude who’s at an island-museum of human artefacts, where curios like “loose change” and “diagram of human behaviour” (actually a drawing by a young human child titled, “Daddy eating breakfast”) are on display. To take a closer look at these, you’ll need to traverse between islands, and form bridges by knocking down trees to get from one place to the next. It’s a simple gimmick, but it’s also one that gradually evolves in brilliant, intricate ways in later puzzles.
A Monster’s Expedition is such a delightful, gentle jaunt that it can slowly cajole you to keep on trying, even when you’re at your most exasperated. And even if you’re unable to solve a specific problem, you can always uncover an alternative route, or simply head off to another island and solve another puzzle. It’s finally a puzzle game for me—one I can play to unwind after an exhausting day, rather than a series of obstacles I can’t wait to get over and done with to get to the meat of the game.