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Fade to grey

  • nhubi
  • 06/10/2014 05:57 AM
Monochrome is a puzzle game, set in a two room cabin surrounded by a raging snowstorm. Your nameless character is depressed by snowy days, after something happened in the past, what that something is, and how it affects him is the basic storyline to the game. Our unnamed protagonist must find a way to cope with memory and shadows and somehow come out the other side; the journey is harrowing and told simply but powerfully in this short game.

Monochrome is listed as a puzzle game, and it is, but given the almost universal single palette style, the constant roaring of the blizzard beyond your snowed in door and the altogether creepy background music, horror should have been added to the description. It's not jump scare, rooms bathed in gore and drowning in blood horror, it's psychological fear of the dark and the unknown kind of horror; which by and large is the best (or worse) kind.

This game reminded me in a small way of the works of José de Sousa Saramago and since the game was originally written in Portuguese that feeling of familiarity is probably realistic. As it is translated there are a few grammatical errors but as with all translated games that is to be expected. The meaning is clear enough so the misuse of tenses does not detract from the overall experience.

Puzzles are the mainstay of the game-play, both mathematical and usage based. There are no battles, and the only quest is a personal one; the drive of a single man to survive in a familiar landscape that is becoming less and less familiar as time goes on. The developer warns you on the game page you'll need a pen and paper for the puzzles, You could replace that with a calculator, but you will need to understand that a period (.) is the mathematical notation for multiplication the developer has chosen to use.

Yes, the game has maths.

Monochrome is strikingly beautifully in its simplicity, there are no extraneous elements to take your mind away from the dull grey existence of your character, no release from the monotony of a small snowed in cabin, no surcease from the howling winds outside your fragile door and the encroaching darkness both within and beyond.

In the end, the only solution for the mystery is your own, there are no easy answers here and multiple interpretations for the information revealed but to find out what that is, put aside 45 minutes of your day to play.