Greenlight Special: Izle and Monochroma

Lindsay looks at Izle and Monochroma in this week's Greenlight Special.

Hello once again, intrepid internet explorers. In my quest this week, I wanted to shake things up a bit and “go for the funny” which is something I pathetically chase in my day-to-day life. However, I found my initial search parameters of “funny” to lead me to some disturbing, albeit amusing games. Twitch chat was horrified, which is a feat unto itself. In any case, I was luckily handed one of the games this week, Izle, in a nice email from my Managing Editor. The other game, Monochroma, I discovered going through the annals of Greenlight history.

This week’s Greenlight Game is Izle, developed by Area Effect.  It’s a 3D procedural action-adventure RPG, where you’re placed in an epic, universe-wide battle between Light and Shadow. Terraforming is a large part of the game, and as you quest around the first wee island, you open up new islands you can create. It’s a pretty neat experience; you turn into this giant ethereal hand that places islands around a map. Because of the smooth-voxel engine, the environment is dynamic and you can carve, build and create to your heart’s content.

In the demo, you start as a geometric being of Light, and you chose your gender and begin your adventure on Izle. You’re set on a journey to defend Izle from the Shadows that will descend on your island if you die, and you can chose to restore the Light to your island upon resurrection or you can slip into Shadows and let them win. Every choice you make from terraforming to artifact crafting alters your own story. The island dynamically changes based on your decisions as well, and if you really want to keep the Light unsullied, you’ll have to seek out the Shadows creeping in on your turf and murder all the creepy purple Shadowmen.

There’s a terraforming talent tree that you progress through (I only got to Stonehenge in the demo), but you eventually reach the Dark Citadel and confront the Shadows in a final showdown. What I enjoyed about this game is that it’s easy to understand, but difficult to master. The controls are a bit cumbersome as well, and not at all intrinsic. Once I got used to them the challenge of the game really showed. It explains a lot about me that I enjoyed dying often. I like challenges.

Izle has a demo available for PC (Windows, Mac) as will be available for PC well as consoles (PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and One, and the Wii U). Their Kickstarter is in full-swing here, and you can check out their Steam page here.

Monochroma by Nowhere Studios is this week’s Released Game. It’s a cinematic puzzle platformer that is set in an alternate industrial-alchemic dystopian 1950’s world. Say that five times fast. You’re a little kid who has to carry his injured little brother around through this creepy, monochromatic world. Part of the puzzle aspect of this game involves your brother. He can’t be left behind; you can put him down, but only in light (because he’s a kid, you see, so he’s afraid of the dark, I’m assuming). You can’t jump very high while carrying him, so you have to figure out where to move him, and then go retrieve him as you progress. I squished him once with a mining cart. I’m a horrible person.

Twitch chat really seemed to enjoy the demo, and I did as well. It was creepy and moody, and I gotta say, chat helped me out with some challenging puzzles. The crescendo came when you stumble onto a robot child factory (creepy!! Also, assuming, again) and you need to escape quickly. The demo ends there and I must say, it was a great cliffhanger. I dig moody, and Monochroma certainly nails it. Viewers likened it to Limbo, and people really got into the story of this bizarre dystopian world. I love dystopian stories. I think I’ve said that before.

Visually, this game is stunning, with excellent art direction. While the controls were basic, they were very effective and I always felt properly challenged by the puzzles, instead of worrying about mastering the controls. I loved the kid brother mechanic, which really limits how you can solve problems. It was a great twist. I felt that the vibe really added to the unexpected situations you found yourself in, and I found myself a little sad at the abrupt demo ending. Which is a good thing. I wanted more.

Monochroma was fully funded on Kickstarter, which I’m sure felt very awesome. You can find the game on Steam here; it’s currently on sale for $4.99 until the end of April. Their website is pretty slick, too.

If you have any suggestions on which games I should review for the Greenlight Special, feel free to contact me via Twitter @lindsaygeektr0n. I also stream these games every Tuesday on my Twitch channel. Come on by and check out new stuff.

Lindsay “amoril” Geektron, Brand Ambassador


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