Swain Valasek | Feb 22, 2009 Games
Up next is the exceedingly clever Monospace from Daniel Lutz of Nonverbal. This game offers 64 puzzles split equally into 4 difficulty levels. The goal is to eliminate all white squares by moving over them with your blue square in 1 square per move, no diagonals and only if the move results in elimination of a target square. Sounds simple enough but ‘over’ is definitely a subjective word here as squares become cubes when you must use the 3rd dimension to proceed. Basically, you use a 3D view to rotate the entire 4x4x4 cube playing field to get a perspective on your next move. You then collapse the playfield down onto whatever plane you want and make your moves in 2D, repeating as necessary until you (hopefully) win the level. If you find yourself in an unwinnable situation, shake to reset or do so via touch options (this is great as it’s not always convenient to shake your phone). It gets even more interesting when red and black squares are introduced: red squares are eliminated as with white but automatically send you a further 1 square in the direction you were headed while black squares can’t be eliminated and serve to block your view and path. The complex interplay between the 2D and 3D views are what give this otherwise (deceptively) simple puzzler its charm and keep you coming back to try just 1 more level.
I was able to complete the first 48 puzzles comprising beginner, intermediate and advanced without feeling overwhelmed and the last 16 expert levels are a nice challenge (I’m just glad the playfied isn’t any larger than 4x4x4!). While probably a little on the easier side compared to other puzzlers, I think this is a great ramp-up as the last thing I want is to be immediately stumped by a puzzle game to where I end up just putting it down and never playing again. The game does allow a bit of skipping around in how it unlocks levels so you won’t be forced to play them in exact order if that’s your whim.
Unfortunately there is no soundtrack and iTunes music isn’t supported. This is a pretty big oversight so hopefully will be fixed quickly in an update. Otherwise I have no gripes with the UI or game mechanics. Not a gripe but worth mentioning is the style of the graphics and sound; a prime example of minimalism in design, like avant garde art that you can interact with. There are literally I think 2 unique sound fx in this game but strangely enough, taking in the game’s aesthetics as a whole, I can’t really call that a fault but more a feature, weird as that may seem. The main suggestion for a future update would be…what else, more levels.
Monospace is a refreshingly good puzzle game that should appeal to a wide audience with it’s simple gameplay, relaxed presentation and moderate difficulty level. Puzzle-people, put this one on your list.
Version reviewed – 1.0
Global scoreboard – no but there’s no score anyway
iTunes music supported – no
Lite version available – yes