Monochroma

Strange, beautiful visuals and challenging puzzles make Monochroma a platformer at its best.

By XboxBetty, Posted 27 May 2014

Platformers. We've all played them, hated them, loved them and all too often they feel the same: mediocre, simple, usual. Nowhere Studios' puzzle platformer Monochroma has a familiar taste to it, with immediate thoughts of games like Limbo and Closure and movies like Sin City popping into one's head, you may think, "Been there, done that."

Monochroma, Nowhere Studios, PC, Gaming, Review, Steam, Screenshot, NoobFeed, XboxBetty

To many, this is not okay. However, the developers are honest about these connections admitting, "The player will find lots of references to other movies, books and games in the dystopian world of Monochroma." Implications aside, this platformer takes it a step further, keeping players intrigued with pops of red painted throughout the black and white world and imagery straight from a science fiction film.

The story is one of two brothers in a 1950's world that’s not quite like how our parents and grandparents recall. In fact, it’s quite the opposite of our world's past: dark, frightening and terrifying for those who call it home. Machines and robots are rampant with the brothers' safety constantly at risk.

Monochroma, Nowhere Studios, PC, Gaming, Review, Steam, Screenshot, NoobFeed, XboxBetty

From the get-go the younger of the brothers has an accident, injuring his legs and rendering him immobile. As big brothers do best, our protagonist literally picks his younger sibling up off his feet, carrying him on his back for the majority of the game. This is where the puzzle features of the game come into play, as the youngster fears the dark and can only sit by himself in a well lit area.

The weight of his younger brother is often too much, and in order for the elder son to jump lengthier distances and climb over obstacles, he must leave his brother alone. This requires players to think out the logistics of what may appear to be a simple puzzle,  but tends to be more difficult than anticipated. Most of the puzzles within Monochroma are a game of back and forth: set little brother down, hit a switch, move a box, pick brother up again.

Monochroma, Nowhere Studios, PC, Gaming, Review, Steam, Screenshot, NoobFeed, XboxBetty

Even the most veteran  of gamers will struggle with many of Monochroma's puzzles, working on them for far too long, becoming frustrated and then stumbling upon the solution, feeling slow-witted for not seeing the obvious. You will make mistakes – many of them – but you'll learn from them, quickly solving puzzles after seeing your many errors unfold. Yet, of all the platformers in a gamer's lengthy history, Monochroma may be one of the most rewarding.        

Rewarding, yes, but is it too hard to ask for custom key bindings? Apparently so, especially when you're accustomed to the norm. Monochroma is just begging for a different use of the spacebar, and many mistakes will be made until you retrain your brain to do what doesn't feel most natural. This aside, laying out the controls in any other fashion than designed would perhaps take away any physical challenge within Monochroma.

Monochroma, Nowhere Studios, PC, Gaming, Review, Steam, Screenshot, NoobFeed, XboxBetty

Beyond the basic knowledge of the characters and the game's opening events, Monochroma's story is really up to each individuals interpretation. There is no dialogue and zero captions throughout the game. Therefore, to understand the story, players must immerse themselves into the setting to understand the tale being told. As a plus, this required focus will have you engrossed in the game's beautiful visuals and art style.

The simplest, yet most charming art within Monochroma is its load screens. With each chapter comes a new, hand designed, construction paper composition that brings brightness to the game's darker world. Furthermore, as the story develops, the game's visuals become stranger, more fascinating and more appealing to the eye.    

Monochroma, Nowhere Studios, PC, Gaming, Review, Steam, Screenshot, NoobFeed, XboxBetty

A meld of stunning artwork and challenging gameplay make for a puzzle game that will entertain for hours on end, having players losing track of time, interpreting the meaning of Monochroma and connecting it to today's world. A platformer at its best, play Monochroma when the opportunity arises.

Megan Bethke (@XboxBetty), NoobFeed   

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General Information

Monochroma

85/100

Platform(s): PC
Publisher(s): Nowhere Studios
Developer(s): Nowhere Studios
Genres: Puzzle
Themes: Adventure, Platformer
Release Date: 2014-05-28

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