How many games have you played in the past where villainous robots are taking over the world? Or how many times have you watched Terminator and thought, ‘maybe robots and AI aren’t a great idea’? How many times have you heard of someone losing their job because of a robot? Exactly. Robots are seen as the baddies and are DEFINITELY going to destroy humanity one day. Not all robots are bad though, with the 2D puzzling-adventure Monobot proof of that. I mean, sure, it has nasty destructive robots in it and humanity is seemingly non-existent (probably not a coincidence), but it also stars a cute little robot named Mono that just wants to learn more about his own existence.
Check out a gallery of screenshots for the game down below:
Monobot’s tale is sparse on detail to begin with, but players will learn more as they progress further through the game. Whilst a lot of the storytelling is environmental and ties into Mono’s struggles, there are also logs that detail what happened to humanity. I mean, there’s a REASON you don’t see humans in this world and it’s interesting to find out more about it. It is Mono’s story that’s most interesting though, and whilst it can be a little bit predictable in places, it was nice to learn more about his origin and purpose.
It’s within the gameplay that Monobot shines, with its blend of puzzle-solving, platforming, and stealth making for an enjoyable experience. A lot of early game mechanics are simple, with things such as jumping across obstacles, moving blocks to activate platforms, or evading enemies showing off Mono’s more basic capabilities. It doesn’t take long before he unlocks some new abilities though, such as his magnetic grappling hook, a teleportation skill, and the use of a vehicle. It all fleshes out the experiences and gives the player plenty to do.
The game’s puzzles are mostly well-designed too, with some clever enigmas in Mono’s way as he ventures across the environment. Some of these utilise the game mechanics in creative ways too, with Mono’s platforming prowess often used in co-ordination with his grappling or teleportation to get through some of the trickier segments. Players will definitely need quick reactions, but a bit of clever thinking and tinkering is a must too.
“It’s within the gameplay that Monobot shines, with its blend of puzzle-solving, platforming, and stealth making for an enjoyable experience.”
That being said, whilst the puzzles were effective, there were some aspects of Monobot’s design that felt like it was built to make the player fail first. There were plenty of occasions where an enemy would give me next to no time to respond to its appearance or a platform would fall with little warning, meaning death was inevitable the first time I encountered it. Of course, you learn from your mistakes and prepare better the next time around, but it felt like there were a series of forced instances of trial-and-error where players have to learn from their mistakes as opposed to having a fighting chance to overcome them at the first time of asking. Or maybe I’m just bad at the game… who knows? Either way, some puzzles do fall short of the mark as far as being challenging is concerned, though it’s not enough of an issue to make the game less fun to play.
There are more traditional puzzles featured across Monobot too, with things such as moving a ball through a set of pipes, connecting an energy beam over a set of nodes, or moving circuit pieces to connect them together giving players a break from the puzzle-platforming antics. Whilst these offered a nice diversion, they didn’t offer anything that players haven’t done in gaming PLENTY of times in the past.
“A lot of the game’s strengths lie in the diversity of the tasks it offers, but it rarely surprised me or caught me off-guard with some unique mechanic.”
It could be argued that a sense of familiarity is present throughout a lot of Monobot’s design. Whilst the puzzle-platforming mechanics are neat, it doesn’t really offer anything that I hadn’t seen before. That’s not a problem by any means and a lot of the game’s strengths lie in the diversity of the tasks it offers, but it rarely surprised me or caught me off-guard with some unique mechanic. Don’t get me wrong, some of the puzzles are superb and were fun to solve, but they were never really innovative.
Still, the gameplay mechanics offered more than enough to keep me entertained whilst playing, whilst the story remained intriguing too. I’ve also got to give a shout out to the visual design, with Monobot bringing with it plenty of attractive sci-fi sights that were cool to uncover in-game. Whilst it does feature a lot of typical hallmarks of a futuristic dystopian landscape, I had a good time seeing everything the world had to offer and where Mono fit in within it all.
Monobot offers a fun sci-fi adventure that brings with it some neat puzzling mechanics, an intriguing narrative, and a world full of cool sights. Its biggest issue? It doesn’t do anything you wouldn’t have seen before. It didn’t stop the game from being enjoyable by any means, but it did mean that it didn’t stand out as much when comparted to similar and more inventive titles in the genre.
Still, if you’re a fan of 2D puzzle-platformers, Monobot is easy to recommend. It might not be the most innovative game you’ve played, but there’s still a good time to be had across its six-hour adventure.
Developer: DreamSmith Studio
Platform(s): PC (Reviewed)