There are many stories about travelling to a magical place that is almost underneath the real one you are living in, or beside it in another dimension. We have the classic Alice in Wonderland story which sees Alice going down a rabbit hole into another world. More recently we have the Stranger Things TV series, with the Upside Down being a replica of the world alongside the real one.
Mondealy focuses on how a very different world came to be. It’s a great yarn and has a cast of hundreds. Are you sitting comfortably?
Mondealy kicks off with a brilliant story, amazing characters and some very creative ideas. The game starts with a prologue as we see a stranger come into the town of Mondealy. They go and get a cup of coffee. The residents of this town are dressed normally but underneath the threads are animal-human hybrids. The stranger seems to be aware of this strange occurrence, but asks in the local diner how this came to be. There the story begins.
Set over twelve chapters we first follow a man called Michael. He lives in this small town and has recently become unemployed so he and his ex go and visit the ruins of an old tower. There is a huge storm, the tower crumbles and Michaels falls through the floorboards, waking up in a magical place called Dargett which lies under the town.
Dargett is a fairytale place with grit and human-animal hybrids all living there. You then get friendly with a princess of the castle who has been on the hunt for a missing person over the last few years. You go on this quest with her, taking you across Dargett, seeing strange gangs and warring factions.
The story and writing are superb, hugely imaginative as you are transported into a brilliantly crafted adventure. There are many sub-stories at play here and each character you talk to feels unique and interesting along the way. You may well find yourself rocking up with an ending that is extremely satisfying. For me, it felt like a brilliant conclusion to the journey
Gameplay takes place from a top-down view point like a Stardew Valley. You control your character by moving them across the map as you would expect. Strangely I didn’t discover a run button until at least an hour into my playthrough; perhaps I missed it, perhaps I wasn’t told. You can of course talk to everyone on the screen and there are dialogue trees which run multiple choices. You can collect items from around the levels for use in the main quest, but also some bits and bobs which are of no use other than to have in your possession.
Mostly in Mondealy you’ll be taking in fetch quests or consulting with people. But whatever you are getting on with, it’s all very enjoyable, mostly because the world is a great place to explore. There are moments when you can change your wardrobe or hairstyle at any point, and you’ll find this is a requirement for certain quests. There is a strange control choice with the Y button acting as the inventory and the button giving you hints about where to go next. Maybe it was me, but I found it confusing at times.
Visually, Mondealy works a treat, what with its top-down graphics and 2D world. There are some great colours on display and the small cut scenes are, at times, beautiful. The map design is simple, however at times I did find it tricky to distinguish the right exit, especially if two doors were next to each other. That’s a minor grip though.
Alongside those visuals, the soundtrack feels a delight, bouncing along when you’re playing the game.
Mondealy comes in at a perfect price point, especially when you consider the six hour or so adventure you’ll have. And it tells a wonderful story; one that is full of life and great characters. The gameplay is simple but never boring and exploring the world is fun and rewarding. Perhaps the control system is occasionally annoying, and not everyone will enjoy the 2D world, but if you are after something that is just a good yarn with relaxing tasks to complete and some nice music, well, Mondealy might be worth a visit.