Parents' Guide to

Monsters and Monocles

By Marcia Morgan, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Victorian-themed twin-stick shooter feels way too difficult.

Game Mac , PlayStation 4 , Windows 2016
Monsters and Monocles Poster Image

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What you will—and won't—find in this game.

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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.

Game Details

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