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Games

You’re Going Way Too Fast in Stylish Shooter 'Monolith'

This speedy bullet hell shooter is immensely rewarding.

by Nicole Carpenter
May 12 2017, 3:00pm

All Monolith images courtesy of Sam Loeschen and David Carney

You don't have a choice. In Monolith, created by Sam Loeschen and David Carney for Ludum Dare 38, you have to go fast.

Monolith is simple, frantic chaos. The stylized shooter has only two controls. Use the arrows to move, dodging bullets and locking on to targets, and use 'Z' to shoot once you've locked on. Various enemies repeatedly spawn, sending out wave after wave of bullet hell. They're everywhere, and so is your ship. As much as shooting is the objective in Monolith, dodging is, too.

Both are hard, but that's what makes it satisfying when you finally understand the rules and timing. But even then, you'll never win. Monolith's monolith will always remain squarely out of reach, never moving closer as you avoid the game's 3D-shaded bullets.

Difficulty ramps up quickly, introducing new targets and bullet patterns as each is eliminated. Tension builds steadily as points are racked up: You never know what's coming next, except that something will come next. You're encouraged to stack up multipliers by targeting plenty of objectives before sending out your own bullets. You'll get points faster that way, but it's also much more difficult.

You decide if you're willing to risk it. Play it safe or pile on big points? The more targets that are out there, the easier it is to get hit. And when you get it, your ship takes damage. There's not a health bar in the traditional sense of the feature, but instead, damage is tracked by the smoke emitted from the back of your ship. Take too many hits and you're done for, all your progress lost, and you'll have to start over from the beginning.

But that's what makes it fun. Monolith is about risk and reward, speed and tension.

Play Monolith for free on itch.io.