Monochroma has arrived on Xbox One after being released on Steam to a fairly negative response from the gaming community, due to bugs and other issues. But have Nowhere Studios taken on board the feedback and delivered and smoother and more polished product for the console community?
It certainly does not look as good as the Steam release, but this is not something that is too important with games for me, as game play certainly makes a game more enjoyable surely? The visuals stand out, as the game is set in a repressive and dystopian timeline, and given a monochrome colour makeover, with hints of red to really make it stand out from the crowd. Some people would say it has a similar style to hit Indie title Limbo.
But what about the story? Monochroma is a tale of brotherly love, trust, and survival, with a tragic finale. Which I wont go into now, as I do not believe in spoiling a game for someone who wishes to experience the game for themselves.
Monochroma does have good points, but it also suffers with a few set backs. For instance, the animation of the nameless and voiceless brother who you take control of, looks robotic when he is running about, and jumping in the air just seems to be him floating up. This could have been worked on to make him look more realistic and believable. When you are attempting a precarious manoeuvre, or rushing against time, you will suddenly, and without any warning, climb down a ledge that you wanted to jump from. The same goes for crates you find within the world, in which you can glitch into and get stuck.
But not all is bad. The music during your chase scenes with the big hired goon, seems to have been taken directly from a 1970 police chase movie, complete with a funky bass line. An interesting addition no doubt, but it works, and works well. The ambient atmosphere the music adds, does set the mood for the world of Monochroma, as mentioned earlier with the dank, and oppressive nature of the games settings.
The tutorials at the start present an easy control scheme to learn, despite on occasion not being as responsive as one would want. You soon learn that you have to carry your little brother after he injures himself in a fall. You can put him down to overcome puzzles and obstacles, but you cannot just leave him anywhere. He is afraid of the dark, and you must find a light source to set him down, before you progress further. The puzzles themselves are not difficult at all, and you will breeze through the story in 2-3 hours. The only section which may have you scratching your head, or becoming infuriated with, is right at the end, with a boss fight of sorts. This is very short-lived once you overcome your foe.
Monochroma is not a game for everybody, and certainly fills that unique niche market of Indie games. By no means a bad game, but nothing that would blow your mind away. I did enjoy my adventure with our plucky young brothers. However, I felt the game was a bit short-lived, and coupled with the faults mentioned above, it dragged not only my enjoyment down a bit, but the overall score it will receive. Any Indie fan out there on the fence about a purchase, should be cautious naturally, as you are spending your hard-earned cash after all. But sometimes it is worth just taking the plunge, as Monochroma does have a certain charm about it, what with the art style, and the music of course. The settings of each of the 4 chapters are completely different, giving variety, and all the obstacles reflect that.
Overall, I would recommend that you make a purchase, but if you are totally unsure, check a YouTube video out first, and go in with an open mind, and try to forget that there is a lack of narrative, or even voice acting. If you are an achievement hunter, you are in luck, as you can unlock the full 1000 gamer score during your 2-3 play through. It is above average, but only just. It misses the mark on several key points, and this is a shame, as Nowhere Studios have made an effort to improve upon the Steam release 2 years ago.
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