A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
While there's an attempt to give evil characters backstories to explain their deeds, the handling of this isn't particularly nuanced. More often than not, the dominant narrative is a neutral "good defeats evil" story.
Positive Role Models
Some characters, like Nozomi, Chiyo, Sora, Yugo, and Dr. Hasegawa all display positive traits such as determination and resourcefulness. They also often verbally encourage the player to keep fighting to save their classmates, repeating that they believe he can save the school. Many characters, though, such as the Pactbearers, exhibit either neutral or negative traits, as they aren't respectful of others and actively seek to harm them.
There isn't a lot of choice in character customization or much diversity in the cast of characters, but as a game developed by and designed for a Japanese audience, a lack of diversity isn't the most relevant. There are a pretty equal number of male and female characters, though, and the female characters are treated with just as much respect as the male characters.
Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.
Ease of Play
The mechanics of turn-based RPGs (role-playing games), such as selecting and deploying units and controlling each character's moves when their turn arrives, are standard in Monark. There's also an option to play in "Casual Mode," which lowers the difficulty of the game considerably for newcomers or casual players.
Violence & Scariness
Characters use weapons such as guns, swords, and lances in battles. There are some blood effects, but gore is at a minimum. Characters defeated in battle disappear in a puff of smoke. In addition, many of the villians and the students subjected to Mist use psychological threats to intimidate the player character, which may be disturbing for some players.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some presumably teenage characters refer to being in age-appropriate relationships. Some villainous characters are implied to have unhealthy romantic attachments to others, but this isn't realistic enough to be harmful to teenage players.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Characters use words such as "damn" and "s--t" frequently.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Monark is a Horror RPG (role-playing game) available for Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, and Windows. When a mysterious mist begins seeping into the halls of a school, there are strange occurrences of students going insane. Players are tasked with taking back the Shin Mikado campus building by building. The horror and suspense elements of this game may be disturbing for younger players, and there's mild violence, blood, and language throughout the game as well. Explicit gore is kept to a minimum, but some interactions between characters are negative and focus on the dark effects of traumatic experiences, such as characters suffering from intense guilt and self-harm. While this makes sense in the context of a horror game and isn't glorified, families should make note of this as they evaluate whether this is an appropriate choice for their teens.
Is It Any Good?
The setup of this horror game is compelling, but the repetitive action keeps it from becoming truly enjoyable. Monark takes classic turn-based RPG (role-playing game) elements and weaves them in with horror elements usually reserved for more action-based games. In addition, this title manages to capture the horror and drama that can come along with an adolescent high school experience. Though the threat of the Mist is as serious as it could be, characters also face obstacles in their friendships and relationships, as well in competitions such as student government positions. The stakes of losing a friend and the challenges of developing one’s identity feel just as important as fighting Pactbearers, and this is really effective for storytelling.
In addition, the turn-based battle system is solid, and exploring the school -- especially on floors with Mist -- is suspenseful and tactical. But the gameplay of Monark begins to feel repetitive a bit too quickly to support the storytelling, and this can lead players to lose interest rather quickly. Firstly, the exploration element of Mist-infected areas contains short puzzles which involve speaking to students and delivering the correct dialogue choices to convince them to stop blocking a door or manipulating the player. These puzzles are, unfortunately, very similar to one another, and there are so many characters with side stories that it's difficult to feel compassion for anyone outside of the main cast. It's not that any of these problems are severe enough on their own to interrupt the game's pacing, but altogether, there's just nothing remarkable enough about Monark to keep players hooked through the repetitive moments.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Our Editors Recommend
Role-Playing Games (RPGs) for Kids
RPG Apps -- Role Playing Games
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate