Developed and published by Nowhere Studios. ‘Monochroma is a cinematic puzzle platformer that takes place in an industrial-alchemic setting. It’s about being a child, having a little brother, growing up, falling down and solving some other puzzles. Monochroma offers a deeply visual, intellectual, and emotional experience. The game tells it story without using any written or spoken words. It has black and white graphics only coloured with red.’
In Monochroma you play as a Boy, who in the beginning of the game is out playing with his younger brother who has a kite. The first couple of minutes of the game is a tutorial, with a handful of on screen prompts and a few obstacles to get you used to the fairly simple controls. This plays out as we follow the protagonists brother who then loses his kite, climbs up on a roof to get it back, and ends up falling and hurting his legs. You then have to pick him up and you set off on your journey to get help.
As you play through the game you’ll encounter various environmental puzzles that need to be completed to progress. some as simple as moving a box to climb up to high ledges and others that are a little more complex that require timing of running and jumping and/or pressing of switches. Another puzzle element of the game, is that, at times you will have to put your brother down to move ahead and complete some puzzles as he weighs you down so you can’t jump as high. He also can only be put down where there is a light source, otherwise he refuses. And often you will find that you will need to move him again so he doesn’t get harmed. There’s also a handful of chase scenes that keep the gameplay fresh.
The game was originally released on PC in 2014, and is nice to see some changes have been made to the game, including alterations to some of the puzzle layouts and that it’s not a straight port. Although there have been reports of bugs, I fortunately never encountered any, but the controls do feel a little clunky and can become a little frustrating especially during the aforementioned chase scenes where you will find that you’ll have to jump to a ledge a few times before your character will grab on and climb up. Or result in you being caught, and having to start over.
I particularly like the visual style of Monochroma, with it’s highlights of red throughout, and as I mentioned in the preview video (above) it reminds me of the movie Sin City. The game features no dialogue or cutscenes, even though there is a lot more going on than just helping your brother. Leaving the story up to your own interpretation, giving the game an air of Limbo. It also has a nice varied soundtrack that changes up and down along with the pace of the game. It’s not very long, and you can probably get through the game in around 2-3 hours. It is split in to 4 chapters with 8 Acts in each with each act having a seamless transition into the next. There’s also collectables throughout the game that require some hunting to find. this can add a little extra to the game if you fancy going back to find the ones you may have missed during your playthrough, but other than that there’s nothing to make you want to come back to the game again.