LifeisXbox’s Monobot review | Awakening from a deep slumber in a seemingly endless warehouse, a claw machine tirelessly grabs a pod off a shelf. Inside, a tiny service robot, powered off, unaware of the journey it is about to set out on. Suddenly; the arms of a mysterious robot light up with sparks. Mono is awake. You’re free. Run! Monobot was developed by DreamSmith Studio and published by B1 Game in China and Ukuza everywhere else.
We played Monobot for over 7 hours on PC. This game is also available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
What we liked!
- Environmental puzzles | Most of your time with Monobot will be spent puzzling. We can make two distinctions in the kinds of puzzles found in Monobot, so I’ll do just that. First up are the environmental puzzles. Given the many limitations in the movement of the titular Monobot, these can offer a nice challenge. Coming to you in two flavours, regular and low gravity, you are slowly given an arsenal of tools to facilitate the puzzles that are to come. You get both a Magnet power that lets you latch onto magnetic devices and a teleport power that lets you swap places instantaneously with certain objects. With these powers, it’s up to you to swing, push, climb, jump, drive and crawl your way through the desolate environments the game is full of.
- One-off puzzles | Secondly, we’ve got various one-off puzzles. These pop up every so often, and are a nice break from the regular gameplay. Expect stuff like connecting powerlines across a grid, that parking lot board game in digital form, or connecting a wire without touching certain points. These brain teasers always offered a welcome breather amongst the various environmental puzzles you’ll find in Monobot.
- Graphics | Graphically, Monobot went with a hand-drawn style for all of its assets, environments, NPCs and effects. It does a great job at keeping it all in the same bleak and dark style that the long-abandoned space settlements are in. Having spent a lot of time with the Sci-Fi genre across various forms of media, Monobot does a really good job at portraying an abandoned, lunar base like environment in the far reaches of space. Lots of greys all around, occasionally spruced up by other colours when the environment demands it. The backgrounds also make it so that there’s actual logic to the environments you’re traversing, something not always present in the 2D platformer. Thumbs up for that.
- Audio | Monobot is a game with a very well done sound design despite there often not really being a background track playing. In many a game, this would be seen as a flaw, yet I think it lends itself perfectly to a game like Monobot. Where outside you are accompanied by depressing and lonely pieces of music, inside you can experience the distant sounds of the wind blowing outside, the creaking and groaning of giant machinery, the beeps boops and buzzes of electronics that still function and the way the facility may crumble around you. You’re never given too much of anything, but Monobot does make sure it’s never quiet either.
- Frustrating puzzles | Luckily not often, but most certainly a good number of times you’ll encounter puzzles that require you to do a very specific set of actions in rapid succession. Something which Monobot’s controls don’t really lend themselves to all that much. Things get even worse when there’s an enemy involved, as those usually don’t give you any leeway when you get spotted. Resetting the entire puzzle back to the checkpoint. Like, one would think that an instantaneous teleport behind a mech enemy would make it lose its lock on you, but sadly they can grab or shock you through time and space it seems.
- Story | I like to think I’m quite easygoing, yet observant when it comes to stories in games. Monobot does a great job at telling its story through the world you traverse. Stunning background pieces occasionally giving context to your surroundings inside, as well as showing you where you were when outside. Unravelling any concrete plot points however is a whole other kettle of fish. Both strewn about the main path you traverse as well as hidden really out your way are logs detailing what happened to humanity in a past long ago. While this isn’t the end of the world, the logs are mostly beefy walls of text, and to get the complete picture you’ll need to find the majority of them. Not a huge thing, but it did get me out of the experience from time to time.
What we disliked
- There were no elements I strongly disliked while playing Monobot
How long to beat the story | 7.5 hours
How long to get all achievements | 10 hours
Similar with | Limbo, Inside
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Hey there. Thomas is the name, Sci-fi, action and (J)RPG’s are the game. I strongly prefer co-op over PVP games. Whenever possible, you may find me run wild at a convention in western Europe. Certified anime enjoyer.