Monochroma – Reviewed
By Suzanne Verras
Monochroma is a puzzle platformer by Nowhere Studios. It is described as a mixture of Limbo and Ico, and won Best Indie Game at GameX 2013. It has definitely earned that award.
In Monochroma there is a big company selling robots to all the people in the city and as you make your way through the gray and heavily industrialized land you discover a dark secret of the company.
When you start Monochroma you are immediately greeted by the beautiful style of the game; it is almost completely in black and white with only red accents here and there. Sort of like Sin City, but cuter. The lack of color definitely fits the gray industrial world you are about to enter.
Controlling your character is quite simple. You use the arrow keys or WASD keys to move the boy or make him jump up or let go of ledges. Ctrl and Alt are used to interact with objects and the spacebar is used to pick up your little brother or put him down. While carrying your brother you aren’t as fast and you can’t jump as high or far as when you aren’t carrying him. To solve puzzles you have to push blocks or use machines to make sure you can jump on top of objects with your brother on your back. It’s a unique and cool way of making you solve puzzles.
The puzzles are pretty easy and most are fun to solve; you move around boxed and swing ropes, turn on machines and control robots. You can interact with a lot of the environment and the red often shows you what to look out for. Sometimes though, the puzzles are still easy to figure out, but they are still a pain in the ass to get done. You often have to jump at the exact right time or you will kill the poor two little boys. If it doesn’t work out the first time, just stop the game and do something else for a bit. There are enough save point so don’t worry.
The fact that you have to time your jumps so precisely has another downside, other than dying. It sometimes interferes with the flow of the game making it not as smooth as it could be. This is noticed the most in the second level of the game, where there is a part where you have to slide of the rooftops. This doesn’t go as fluently as it could be.
Monochroma does make up for its shortcomings. The story about two little boys is a truly heartfelt one about growing up and looking after each other. As I already said the art style is pretty unique as well, and most of the puzzles are fun to solve, but there are a few tricky ones. Don’t let that get you down though, just do something else for a bit and then get right back into it.
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[author image=”http://cliqist.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/suzanne.jpg”]Suzanne Verras is a freelance writer and a university student from Leiden, The Netherlands. She is a video game enthusiast, but also loves movies and art. She has her own video game, film and art blog called Miss Lily Blogs where she posts all kinds of articles as well as her Let’s Plays. Her favorite games include Bioshock, Myst, Ratchet and Clank and Amnesia: The Dark Descent. In the future she hopes to be writing full-time and one of her dreams is to sell her artwork one day. You can follow her on Twitter: MissLilyTweets. [/author]