As the first of many comparisons to Limbo I will make in this review, Monochroma aims for a minimalist style of storytelling, with absolutely no dialogue to tell the story, aiming to deliver it via the backdrop of the game or through its loading screens. It’s a bold delivery, and its industrial-alchemic setting is one that inspires wonder at first. Playing the role of a big brother forced to escort the younger one through treacherous circumstances, the story is set around the aftermath of a supposed robot revolution. An interesting premise and, given the industrial setting, very fitting. However the plot soon turns to supernatural contrivances and soon loses any engaging plot details, and as the game wore on I found myself less and less interested in what the game had to say. The minimalist approach was very well executed however, as I enjoyed the setting and interesting tidbits that came up in the background. A much more enjoyable means of digesting a story rather than a forced dump of exposition.
Monochroma clearly isn’t just channeling Limbo with the presentation, but just about rips the entire book out in a copy and paste pastiche. Mixed with splashes of red, it’s a black, white and red mix of Limbo, Betrayer and Schindler’s List that looks great but isn’t entirely original. The setting is bleak and dreary which gives off a sense of dread, which is delightful given the subject matter, and the atmosphere is subtlety creepy. While it never hits the absolute sheer terror Limbo managed to do (especially in one very specific sequence) the art style looks good, and it’s very clear why so many suitors choose to rip off Limbo’s creation.
In terms of performance however, I encountered many problems. The graphics menu is painfully threadbare, and while this is hardly a intensive game, running this on an Intel i5-3570K and GTX 660TI setup it stuttered like crazy. It seemed to have been locked to 30fps, which I found to be a very strange choice. It’s a 2D platformer and it’s graphically equivalent to Limbo, a game that came out almost four years ago. Loading screens break the immersion by constantly popping in, sound cues are haphazard and sometimes music doesn’t play.