GAME NAME: Monochroma
DEVELOPER(S): Nowhere Studios
PUBLISHER(S): Nowhere Studios
PLATFORM(S): PC (Reviewed), Linux, Mac
GENRE(S): Puzzle Platformer
RELEASE DATE(S): May 28, 2014
This may sound familiar. A young boy has to journey through a perilous oppressive grayscale world with the difference in contrast is that his scarf is red. While in this 1950’s desolate world, you’ll need to navigate traps, manipulate objects and solve physics puzzle while watching your brother and carrying him around at the same time. A lot of have people have claimed that Monochroma is very similar to the title LIMBO, but it exists in its own world by itself.
Monochroma tells the story of a robot-producing corporation that is most likely hiding ulterior motives. Another difference is that this game uses splashes of color in addition to the grayscale pallete to highlight things of interest. Another greatest difference is that it does suffer from some control issues and poor puzzle design and hit states which remove you from the experience.
The gameplay is straight forward sometimes whether you have to push and manipulate objects, others are platforming and the harder puzzles are physics based. One annoying facet is having to carry your brother around, you can only drop him in certain areas of light which make things even more complicated due to the fact if you are experimenting with puzzles he’ll most likely get killed one way or another.
I found the brother exercise tedious although sometimes it made sense as you jump higher without your brother making you able to get to a ladder or switch. I guess the frustrating part is if you set your brother down and something rolls towards him he’ll watch it and just suffer and die and instead of move out of the way, he’s not crippled, so that just annoyed me having to start over. But what got me is most of the time is puzzle failure occurred by loose and buggy controls and barely one hit kills, missing edges when they clearly touched. I felt like the controls were not tight at all and that was disappointing because this game could be gold if everything was tightened up.
The sound played nicely with the visuals both beautiful and nice. The boss fights were minor struggles and with one hit kills, no mid fight check points and sluggish controls it was a game I had to push myself to get through. The best part of the game is its sound design and artistic direction. The levels look amazing as do most things in the environment and animations are super smooth. I’d love to just walk around in the levels and explore although that’s not possible to free roam. The narrative itself is engaging but had some holes in it one being your little brother, you have no reason to want to help him in fact you grow to hate him while you play so that was something I don’t think they thought of.
I really wanted this game to be amazing as I loved the concept and idea and all the artwork within it. However, I find it hard to recommend Monochroma just because of the frustration it caused on many levels. I love platformers so that was hard to say. If you love the art direction and have an extreme amount of patience and $20 burning a hole in your pocket check it out otherwise this game is a miss for me, it felt like a beta instead of a real release and I would just look for another solid platformer. That’s just my honest opinion from someone who wanted this to be awesome.