Nowhere Studios is on the cusp of releasing Monochroma, a new game with a nostalgic feel that got its push-start from crowdfunding website, Kickstarter. Nowhere Studios describes the brand new game as a “cinematic puzzle platformer that takes place in an industrial-alchemic setting.” Monochroma‘s Kickstarter reached beyond its goal of $80,000 on August 24, 2013, and the game is set for release sometime this month.
Turkish start-up development company, Nowhere Studios, was established in Istanbul in 2010. Monochroma will be the company’s second game, the first being the Facebook game, OynaTurka, a social game platform consisting of three puzzle games with more in development. The games allow for competition between friends through the Facebook social network in what the studio calls an “Ottoman-Steampunk aesthetic.”
The bleak aesthetics of Monochroma follow a primarily grayscale scheme with the occasional contrasting shot of red. It is an atmospheric, side scrolling game that takes place in an industrial 1950’s Istanbul setting and follows a young boy who must solve puzzles on his mission to care for his younger brother. It is an intricately designed physics-based game that tells a story through its puzzles and animation, without the use of spoken or text words.
The game begins with the younger brother of the player character suffering an injury to his leg, leaving the player with the responsibility of carrying his wounded sibling through the dark landscape. The player is able to set his brother down when he needs the mobility to solve puzzles, but must always return for the injured brother in order to progress further. When the two brothers find themselves caught in a storm they seek refuge in a nearby warehouse, where they uncover the terrible secret of a massive robot manufacturer.
Monochroma is being compared to 2010’s Limbo, a puzzle platformer developed by British developer, Double Eleven and Danish developer, Playdead. The similarities between the two are numerous, right down to the central character of the adventurous little boy wandering around in the dark. Limbo is a 2D (Two Dimensional) side scrolling puzzle game featuring an entirely black and white color scheme. The title of the game is inspired by the Latin word limbus, which means “edge,” a fitting title for a game about a young boy who awakens in a forest on the “edge of hell.” The ending of Limbo and its meaning has been a subject of debate on dozens of gaming message boards, and based on the statements made by Nowhere Studios on their Kickstarter, players can look forward to another dramatic memorable ending.
Monochroma stands apart with its striking shots of red artfully tossed into the aesthetic, and its differing plot. Where it may sound like the story is lacking, the game’s format of story-telling through game play means that the player stays engaged in the plot as it progresses through the six-hour long average play-time. The story is set up into four chapters that do not progress in difficulty, but rather feature multiple sections of a varying difficulties. Each chapter offers approximately 90 minutes of atmospheric game play in a new location. The locations featured in are Outskirts, Ghetto, Factory, and Zeppelin. Each location has its own unique puzzles and trials that the player character must face and overcome.
Like many projects that begin on Kickstarter, Monochroma has experienced its share of delays. Nowhere Studios has told Guardian Liberty Voice that it hopes for the new game to be available sometime between May 19 and 26, but there is not yet an official release date.
By Faye Barton