A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Usual good guys versus evil monsters, but also messages of friendship, teamwork between different heroes, players controlling them.
Positive Role Models
Main characters are unique, have different backgrounds, but still come together for a greater good, teaming up in a cheery way to save world from the supernatural.
Ease of Play
Simple controls; easy to learn; but levels are incredibly difficult.
Violence & Scariness
Steady stream of violence, with nonstop bullets, explosions, but game’s art style means there’s very little graphic violence. Characters all pixelated; defeated enemies explode in colorful bursts of light before disappearing.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Monsters and Monocles is a downloadable arcade-style action game. Controls are typical of the "twin stick" shooter genre, with one joystick to aim and one to move, making the game simple to pick up and play. While the controls are simple, getting through levels feels overly difficult. The game is filled with nonstop action and violence as characters use all sorts of guns, bombs, and other weapons to defeat a variety of supernatural enemies, although it's not overly graphic and there's no blood thanks to the art style. Players can go solo or join with up to three friends in local or online monster fighting teams. Teamwork is important with players sharing a single pool of lives and only getting revived with the help of their friends. There's no objectionable content.
Is It Any Good?
This adventure game is packed with arcade-like play, but the challenge included is so extreme that it really limits the overall fun. If there's anything to be learned from video games, it's that the only way to get rid of pesky paranormal problems is with an overabundance of occult ordinance. There's no shortage of either in Monsters and Monocles. Thanks to its procedurally generated levels, you never quite know what you're going to be dealing with on any given stage. Maps, goals, power-ups, and enemies are randomly shuffled together and you're left to deal with the consequences. Sometimes you might only need to track down a few select monsters, while other times you might need to wade through the monstrous minions to track down a specific item. Either way, you still have to face off overwhelming waves of baddies and cross your fingers hoping to stumble across the right weapons or power-ups to survive the encounter.
You might think this would be easier with friends, but that's not necessarily the case. For starters, all players share a single (and very chintzy) pool of lives. Not only that, but to revive a teammate, you have to fight your way to where they died and shoot the tombstone marking their death. Depending on where or how they died, it's more tempting to sometimes leave a teammate six feet under and just revive him or her on the next stage. That's assuming you make it to the next stage. One of the most frustrating things about the game is that there's no "Continue" feature, meaning that when everyone dies, you have to start the whole thing over. That might have been meant to add to the game's overall retro arcade appeal, but since this isn’t an arcade and you're not spending quarters, it ends up being more of an aggravation than a challenge.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.