“It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.” – Voltaire
Moncage is an entrancing new puzzle game that takes place within a mysterious cube. Each face displays a unique scene and players must leverage the cube to reveal illusions and discover hidden links in order to progress.
Released: 16th November 2021
Available on: Steam
This game is being reviewed as part of the Indie Game Collective (IGC) showcase.
Moncage has players manipulate the cube and the various scenes depicted on its five visible faces by rotating it, zooming in and out, interacting with objects in order to solve puzzles and find the hidden links between the scenes. When each puzzle is solved the story will advance and a scene will change.
Whilst some of the puzzles require a fair bit of thought, pressing space will highlight essential items and there is a timed hint system that can be utilised if the player chooses. This helps keep the game accessible and ensures that all players can fully experience the game and its narrative elements.
The narrative is delivered in multiple ways, the most explicit of which is a series of photographs that can be found in the nooks and crannies of the various scenes. They seem to depict the relationship between a father and his son who goes to fight in a war and the story gets quite dark as it progresses. On top of this, the story is also delivered through the scenes themselves and the player’s interactions. What starts off as a series of simple tasks develops into a much more ominous set of actions. The clever narrative design and the story being told help to make this a very captivating puzzle game.
Moncage has a charming but moody art style consisting of low-poly 3D models and muted colour palettes that match the narrative themes of the game well. The contrast between cute, cosy and happy scenes alongside the more sinister depictions is jarring and reflects the evolution of the gameplay and narrative as the player progresses through them.
The music sits delicately in the background for the most part but is highly atmospheric despite its subtlety and really helps set the tone for the experience. Ambient noises such as a fire roaring or water trickling make up the majority of the sound effects and change with each face. This helps to immerse the player not only within each scene but with the movement of the cube and the experience as a whole.
Moncage is a fascinating game that is somehow simultaneously relaxing and troubling. The delightful art style and clever use of colour, engaging narrative, compelling puzzles and original mechanics all work together in tandem to create a beautiful gaming experience that will get players thinking in more ways than one.
For more relaxing puzzle games take a look at the following reviews:
Sizeable – The Navigator – Assemble with Care – Sprout