Monochroma is a silent narrative about two brothers that live on a farm. On their way home one day, the brothers have witnessed a crime at a factory and have taken off to the city on foot out of fear. During their trek to the city, the brothers encounter several adversaries and will need to solve many different puzzles along the way. While trying to make the escape to the city, the younger of the two brothers injures himself and now you must carry him on your back.
I found it really easy to jump right into Monochroma. Since there really isn’t a backstory presented to you when you start the game, you are basically just plopped right into the action and start off by learning the basics of how the game works while being guided through the start of the visual tale. The beautiful art style and simplistic monochrome color scheme almost made me feel like I was in an old movie and sets a really interesting tone early on.
Shortly after the tutorial stage, Monochroma’s industrialized 2.5D side-scrolling platformer core starts to take over. If you have ever played Limbo, you will feel right at home. Even after the first stage, there is still a bit of coddling as the difficulty of the puzzles are very low throughout most of the first chapter of the game.
Overall I didn’t really find the puzzles to be overly challenging, but they were enough to keep my interest in them as they do somewhat play into the visual story and help you engage with the emotions of the two brothers. The soundtrack is beautiful, but I would have liked to hear more of it. Many moments where there was no background music when it would make sense to have it.
I really loved transitioning to new scenes and environments, most of them had really good attention to detail, especially in the backgrounds. You do have to pay attention though, as you might miss out if you aren’t looking close enough.
The last quarter of Monochroma is when the story really picks up. I found some of the best animations and scenes to be in this section of the game. I don’t really want to go too much into detail about it, but I really started to form an emotional connection to the brothers at this point in the story.
There was some glitching and graphical snags here and there, occasionally causing missed opportunities like grabbing ropes. The upside is that the checkpoints are pretty close together, so it’s not a major loss if you end up dying. I found the death scenes are really generic, like a guy will run into you and that’s it, you die, no death animation – you just fall over and rag-doll. I also found the story line was slow moving sometimes uneventful, beyond that I don’t really have any major gripes that I thought detracted from my experience.
A good chunk of the achievements are story related and will unlock as you play though the game. There is also a handful that will most likely also unlock naturally as they are for dying in specific ways that are found through out the adventure. The only ones that might give you a bit of trouble are “Kite” and “Conscience”. Both of which have somewhat vague descriptions. If you are having trouble with either of these, you can check out our achievement guides for some help.
Monochroma is a beautiful narrative and provides a modest challenge; less so for those that live for puzzle solving platformers. You can easily get through the game in 5 hours or less and even gather all of the achievements in one playthrough if you are careful enough. If you are a fan of games like Limbo, The Cave, or Never Alone; you will likely enjoy Monochroma.
One thing that I found quite odd is that the Xbox One version retails at half of the price of the PC version. The review was done on the Xbox One version, so I’m not really sure if there is much of a difference in the quality of gameplay between the two, but I can’t imagine there is enough of a difference to warrant a price tag twice as high. I found the $9.99 Xbox One price tag to be very reasonable.
Developed by: Nowhere Studios
Published by: Nowhere Studios
Xbox Marketplace: https://www.microsoft.com/store/p/monochroma/brg6j553l5kt
Steam Store: http://store.steampowered.com/app/265830/