Monsters & Monocles Hands-on Preview – Glorious, Pixel-y, Shooting Goodness

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Monsters and Monocles is a twin-stick shooter with a flair that would make any English gentleman proud.

Set in Victorian steam punk world, an occult collector accidentally releases a plague of monsters onto the world, and it’s up to you to get rid of them. You will be hunting alone or in teams online or in person with up to four people, but take note to team up with people that know what they’re doing because lives are shared between all players.

During my demo play through I had the chance to team up with one of the developers and go through one of the levels. The movement was smooth and very responsive and the ability to sprint through attacks made feel like I actually had a chance at beating the level. The weapons all had different traits and capabilities, and others felt unbelievable.

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I expected a blunderbuss and a handgun to be among the first guns I picked up, but what I ended up picking up a floor down was a dual machine gun with two lines of constant bullets. It felt very gratifying mowing down snakes and Anubis enemies with it, but what really made my day was the crumpet gun that bounces off the walls and continues to hurt enemies.

In the demo the developer and I had only 5 lives to make it through three floors, and then a boss floor. Sadly, I wasn’t very good and on the first floor I ended up dying twice trying to figure the controls and get an understanding of the dodge mechanic.

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When I ended up dying, the only way for me to get back into the game was for the developer to shoot the grave that popped up over where I died. Seems like an interesting mechanic and could force you to pay attention to your allies just as much as your enemies.  The developer told me that any time that I needed health all I had to do was make sure I drink my tea. Sure enough the health pickups were glasses of tea.

While we were playing the developer explained to me that there would be quite a few more features in the game that weren’t able to be shown off in the demo. He told me that throughout the game you would be able to pick up randomly generated relics that would help you throughout the game. Some would extend how far you would dodge; others would increase the distance of the blunderbuss.

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My demo ended with us facing off against a giant enemy crab that was constantly shooting out streams of energy balls at us. In order for us to get out of this mess we would have to dodge through the energy balls and attack its weak point just to take some damage off it. Sadly, I ended up dying right as the developer took the last bit of health off the boss. I couldn’t believe it, but I ended up wasting our 5 shared lives.

I asked the developer why they decided to make this game. Their response was that as they were growing older they had less and less time to play with their friends around town and across states and countries. They figured that if they made a game their friends could jump in at any time that would always be different then they could have fun whenever. I liked that kind of thought process. A game that you can enjoy with your friends whenever you can.

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Monsters & Monocles is currently in development for PC, Mac, Linux, and PlayStation 4. You can view the game’s website here.

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I am a research student with a history in psychology. I am a fan of tactical rpgs and I love to travel. I hope to one day be a clinical psychologist.

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