Monomino's Strange Cuteness (Review)

Being prone to reviewing indie games leads to all kinds of interesting and obscure ventures. Monomino, a game developed by final-year students at Singapore’s Nanyang Polytechnic, is a cute take on something like the old Lemmings games, albeit with less variety to the action. The idea revolves around trying to ensure that a batch of adorable “block babies” reach their home by building a path out of Tetris-like blocks.

If there’s one thing to say about Monomino, it’s that it oozes cuteness. Every detail of the game is an adorable one, and the art style is rather pretty, if somewhat basic. Each level opens up as a pair of blocks, aloft on a cloud, start kissing and creating the unaware babies, who march inexorably forward on whatever path is available. This means that many times, you’ll have to act pretty quickly to get the first part of the path built before the cute yet not-too-bright youngsters start hurtling themselves off of cliffs or into inescapable pits. Luckily, restarting a level is a mere click away, and you can get a good feel for your bearings with just a quick play or two.

Monomino Level 1

The first few levels provide a guide for successful block placement, which is good because it’s the only instruction you’ll receive.

As you progress through Monomino, the challenge grows and the number of blocks available to you fluctuates. Initially, you’ll kick off with just one or two to plop down in pretty obvious places, but the game quickly starts throwing more complex puzzles requiring blocks placed in a certain order to support the structures. There are powerups for the small pink blocks, too, but those come later – you won’t find any examples in my screenshots because I’d returned to an earlier level to grab those, and lost all of my progress. Hopefully that’s a bug that gets worked out, because it was pretty unfortunate.

monomino larger gap

Here’s a good example of when the difficulty has just started to ramp up, requiring a bit more forethought and some balancing to cross the gap.

Monomino is, at its heart, a simple game, and one I’d think is more suited to mobile gaming than PC. The game’s bare-bones website mentions mobile release in the pipelines, but doesn’t offer any detail beyond that. As simple as it is, there’s still some fun to be had, and it might be suitable for a younger crowd, especially if the price (which is not yet announced) is low enough not to put off purchasing. With plenty of levels and a nice, easy ramp-up in complexity, it would make a great introductory puzzle game, though there’s not quite enough to it for seasoned players to bite.

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