Overall Score 63%
A Man With a Monocle
Anyone as old as I am will fondly remember the days when the platformer was king. Games like Pitfall, Super Mario Brothers, Sonic the Hedgehog and Rockman (otherwise known as Megaman) were the undisputed pinnacles of the 8-bit gaming era. Man with a Monocle takes inspiration from these legends of yesteryear, and is a retro styled, old school platformer.
You need 6 keys to play it. Arrow keys for directional control of the character as well as one key to jump and one key to sprint. Simply guide the character through the levels, avoid or jump on enemies, navigate the puzzles and exit the level to progress to the next. Itís a simple, tried and trusted formula thatís not likely to hugely disappoint fans of the genre, but due to the lack of innovation and original concepts, equally unlikely to entice a great deal of mainstream interest.
Adding to the simple gameplay mechanics is a surreal artistic style and a cryptic storyline that definitely adds to the experience, yet not enough to keep me interested to see it through to conclusion. After 4 hours and around 30 levels Iíve just about had enough. Itís not a bad game by any means, but it suffers from a tedium and monotony that I think stems from too few interesting and varied enemies and level elements. The individual level designs are reasonably good, and the game is fun to play for an hour or so, but it seems that the same concepts are just repeated far too often over the course of the story to keep the player hooked.
On the positive side, the artwork and sprites are quirky and cool. The levels rotate through a simulated day/night cycle as the game progresses and the accompanying background music is haunting and evocative. The sound effects compliment the retro presentation to a tee. There has been a lot of love put into the production which is apparent from the outset. Nice to see options to make the game almost trivially easy or quite unforgiving of error. I like the secret areas that are hidden around the levels and the option of trying to pick up all the collectibles (and being rewarded) without it being mandatory offers choice to the player, which is always a good thing in a game.
The cons are just as numerous. Having to restart from the beginning of a level after falling just short of the goal is frustrating. Mid course checkpoints might have been a good idea. The collision detection is iffy at best and downright infuriating at times. Mostly it results in the player being penalised for a collision where it appears that they should not have touched an enemy at all. The enemies themselves are too few in number and type. They run very predictable patterns and tend to be a nuisance rather than a challenge for the most part. As was the case in Super Mario Brothers, the sprint key seems to be depressed for nearly 90% of the time while playing. Allowing the player to easily toggle the sprint ability or having it on by default would be better. As mentioned before, the game seems to take too long to progress the story. There seem to be plenty of levels, which is good - but they all feel very samey, which is not so good.
There are no profiles and no user-accessible save game slots. There is however, an option to continue from the last level played which appears on the main menu. The game runs in a fixed resolution in either full screen or windowed mode. Thereís also a level editor that looks like it would take quite a bit of work to get it producing anything playable, but including it is certainly better than not having one. The sheer number of levels included with the game will keep most players going for a few hours at the very least though.
The Man with a Monocle both appeals and is limited by its simplicity and adherence to conformity within the genre. Without offering anything revolutionary it does a decent and solid job as a run 'ní jump platformer that will have a good bit of nostalgic value to long time gamers. Whether it can hold their interest for more than a couple of hours is where the issue really lies.
Keywords: a man with a monocle review, neogen2 creations reviews, neogen2 creations games, a man with a monocle scores, pc game reviews, indie game reviews, independent gaming.