Review: Monochroma

So there you are, running around with your little brother playing like kids do. You know the deal, running around, climbing on stuff, and of course breaking legs. Thus your adventure begins. With your little brother and his broken leg, you must trudge on solving puzzles to get… home? Why don’t we just run to the left? Well, that’s because it’s a game and you know what? There’s no adventure to the left so onward towards towards the right for adventure and probable doom!

The environments range from simple to very complex and beautiful. There was a lot of heart put into this game. However, with a 2D sidescroller, you do need to because it will show.

The environments range from simple to very complex and beautiful. There was a lot of heart put into this game. However, with a 2D sidescroller, you do need to because it will show.

Monochroma is set in a world with only three colors: black, white and red (technically grey too as my wife pointed out). That choice does bring back memories of Limbo, but the people over at Nowhere Studios have created a story and atmosphere in Monochroma that easily separates the two games. You start out just trying to, I assume, get home and that turns into unraveling the secrets of the corporation that has injected itself into everyone’s lives with their invention of these ever so helpful robots.

The controls are basically WASD. This wouldn’t have been brought up, but as simple as the controls are, they don’t seem to be as accurate as they should be. Sometimes you’ll jump just a little too far or short. Or you should have grabbed a ledge when you jumped or you shouldn’t have climbed that ledge that you just jumped to. How do you grab a ledge without climbing it? Argh! Then there’s the final “platform puzzle” thingy. I can’t really go into it without spoilers, but I know what I need to do. However, I’ve spent more than an hour on it alone. Something is just off with the controls, but didn’t completely show itself until that last scene. (If anyone completed it in one go, I kind of want to know, but I’ll probably hold a grudge against you.)

What adventure with young kids would be complete without some train tracks?

What adventure with young kids would be complete without some train tracks?

I’ve got to bring up the story and atmosphere one more time though. The game is so well designed that it’s a joy to go through it all. They’ve even got hidden items to find throughout the game. Some of them are obvious while others they’ve hidden very well. I’m still three red flowers short. The story isn’t explicitly stated, but more unfolded as you continue on. You encounter a bruiser of a man that tries to capture you and your kid brother. The game later hints at the reasons, but never straight explains it and my wife and I came to two different opinions onto what the antagonist is up too, but they are along the same vein. Leaving the story to be told like that is a bold decision, but a well played one as it lets the imagination go on a rampage if you’ll let it.

Aside from the controls that feel a smidge wonky, mostly at the end, the game shines as a should-play title. I'm not 100% sure that it's a full $20 title, but it's darn close. The story is very cool and took a turn that I really didn't see coming at all. Even with that, there's still plenty of room to get your own perspective on it too. There isn't much replayability except to collect the flowers and get the cheeves. All in all, Monochroma is another gem of a game that isn't just reinventing the wheel like a lot of companies are, even if it does look similar to Limbo.

Aside from the controls that feel a smidge wonky, mostly at the end, the game shines as a should-play title. I’m not 100% sure that it’s a full $20 title, but it’s darn close. The story is very cool and took a turn that I really didn’t see coming at all. Even with that, there’s still plenty of room to get your own perspective on it too. There isn’t much replayability except to collect the flowers and get the cheeves. All in all, Monochroma is another gem of a game that isn’t just reinventing the wheel like a lot of companies are, even if you feel it looks similar to Limbo.

Jonathan Amarelo Sig


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