As with any good camping adventure in recent years, Monster Camp makes sure to throw in a long gag about drinking your own pee. This is just one of the strange conversations between datable high school monsters that I watched in the demo last week at PAX West. A very normal dating scenario.
Like the original Monster Prom, Monster Camp is a competitive (or singleplayer) dating sim about winning the heart of one of several eligible monsters. Once again, you're given choices on where you'd like to spend your time. Each activity is conveyed through conversations with your potential dates that allow you to express your preference for a certain colorful cast member. While in Monster Prom, the locations were school themed, Monster Camp is all about summer camp. You'll be able to visit the woods, lake, Scout HQ, Camp Dome (thunder dome?), and the probably haunted manor.
The woods, of course, is where the pee drinking comes in. I found myself playing as "Yellow," headed off to the woods with the half-horned hellboy Damien, Dahlia the buff and blue goddess, and Joy the curvy coven leader. I click to read through the initial quip-y banter between the monster teens explaining our travels through the woods. At some point, we realize we're fresh out of fresh water and someone suggests that the only solution is boiling and drinking our pee.
Without ever having to say "Bear Grylls," the characters all heatedly debate the obvious need to drink our pee in order to survive. It's a sleight of hand that I appreciate and was able to spot in other conversations where I wasn't the star.
Without having to name-drop its references, Monster Camp alludes to silly culture memes like drinking pee or becoming a YouTube star by setting up the joke through its own characters instead of leaving me at the door if I'd managed to forget one of the million culture touchstones we all juggle today. It balances social jokes that feel relevant and timely with the awareness that players who don't closely follow Instagram drama will still appreciate a gag with the proper setup. Being dead-set on drinking your own pee to survive is silly and amusing even if you've never watched Man vs. Wild.
In the end, Joy remains aloof to the ridiculous notion of pee drinking while Damien and Dahlia hotly debate the best way to get the job done. All three monstrous teens look to me for my opinion on the matter. As one of my two options, I'm allowed to attempt the impossible instead of going full-on survival mode.
I concentrate very, very hard and, apparently, manage to pee out soda. That's never seen, of course, as this all plays out in a conversation that looks like the screenshot above. All three of my companions are all shocked and awed by my monster-Jesus style ability to turn boring liquids into tastier liquids. Will my newfound ability to pee soda be referenced later on in Monster Prom 2? I hope so.
We all somehow ignore the fact that soda is definitely not the cure to dehydration and instead debate whether pee actually tastes like carbonated sugar water and we'd just never bothered to test it before.
After my near misadventure in the woods, I get a brief look at one of the new systems in Monster Camp. Like its predecessor's cafeteria, the campfire area of Monster Camp brings all the characters together to choose a nightly activity to engage in by choosing where to sit. New to Monster Camp are the rumor log, the stories log, and the smooching log. Sadly, I wound up all alone on my log while the others were taken by the Red, Green, and Blue players. Better luck next time, Yellow.
After blowing its Kickstarter goal out of the lake water earlier this year, Monster Camp has expanded in scope from its original pitch. Originally planned as one smaller game of a three-part follow-up to Monster Prom, Monster Camp's crowdfunding stretch goals have allowed it to rival the original game in size with six romance options instead of the originally planned four. You can wishlist Monster Prom 2: Monster Camp on Steam while you wait for summer camp to come around.