The world is beautiful, the grass sways in the wind, the waves crash softly against the shore, your black, blob-like character is able to wander around with their backpack, leisurely following whatever path they want. The only issue is, these islands are no longer connected.
You’ll need to knock over trees and push them into the water, facing the correct way to walk across them or turning into a make-shift raft and pushing off of the island, going to the next area. You can’t see all of the islands at first – or in fact, any island you haven’t already walked on, as there is a thick bit of fog covering it all over. Once you have made it onto an island, you can start knocking down trees, but pay attention to the way you push them as it can make a big difference.
Despite not looking much like a grid, A Monster’s Expedition is based around a grid, but you can walk on tree stumps and, if on a tree stump already, onto the wood of the tree you have knocked over. Pushing a log in a way that it would roll in real life will result in the log rolling until it hits an object or the water. Often, if it hits the water in the wrong direction, you’ll need to undo those moves and try again. It’s quite good that the game has both an undo button, to move back one move as many times as you want or an entire reset, that completely brings the island you are standing on back to its original state.
On the islands, there is much more than just trees and rocks – you can find little museum-type exhibitions that tell you a little bit about something the humans from Englandland have left behind. These descriptions to everyday objects are quite hilarious, bringing in some British humor, as you learn how humans were quite silly in the way they used backpacks and how without boxes to store items in, humans had lots of trouble finding things!
A Monster’s Expedition doesn’t have a linear path forward through the island, instead often branching off and circling back around, so if you get stuck, you can just make your way to another area and play around there for a bit. I find this to be so relaxing within puzzle games – instead of trying the same puzzle, over and over, and failing, I can take a break and make my way to a new area for a fresh frame of mind. Some areas aren’t quite seen from the outskirts of islands and require you to know more about the game to find, giving you the option to replay islands and find the stuff you might have lost.
Scattered around the world are British letterboxes, that you can use to teleport around of course, as you explore this ever expanding world full of fog. There is a lot to like in A Monster’s Expedition, especially if you love relaxing puzzle games with a bit of reading and humor thrown in.