Monocle Man Review


Monocle Man has the makings to be a great OUYA game, but can it deliver?


Monocle Man is a puzzle platformer created back in 2011 by a group of students  in a 48-hour game jam. It has now been reworked, and released as an OUYA exclusive.

Monocle Man puts you in control of a rather square gentleman sporting a monocle.  You are trapped in an hourglass and must traverse each puzzle by jumping. A puzzel is completed when you make it to the top and jump through the giant monocle.

The game has three worlds containing 25 puzzles, with each new world introducing a new special block type. The puzzles are all very short, with a successful run typically lasting only 7 to 25 seconds. And your completion times will always be this short because of the sand in each level. As soon as the puzzle starts a pile of sand grows in the middle, since you’re in an hour glass. While this makes sense in the premise of the game, mechanically it’s frustrating. If you touch the sand you die, a slow death. Well on it’s own, the animation is only a second or two, but it adds up when you die hundreds of times. You see the game forces you to kill yourself. The sand keeps growing as time ticks away so if you spend to long trying to figure out a section of the puzzle the sand will make it impossible to complete. Forcing you to reset the puzzle by killing yourself. A button that would allow you to instantly reset the puzzle would have been greatly appreciated. (You can pause the game and scroll down to the “Restart Level” option, but this usually takes even longer than simply jumping into the sand)

The sand isn’t my only issue with the game. The camera is plain bad, and poorly thought out. The only action Monocle Man can do is jump, and in order to see where you’ll land, you must look to the very bottom of the screen. So a lot of screen real estate is wasted, due to your eyes starting at the bottom third of the screen for much of the game. A more pulled out camera could have solved this issue.


The game’s textures are also very underwhelming. Every texture is pixelated, and not from a stylistic choice. And the blocks in World 3 are borderline visual torture. Then there is the game’s music. While not necessarily bad on it’s own, I felt the music didn’t match the feel of the game, and was too loud. There is no volume control for the music, only the option to turn it off. And if you turn it off, you are left with basic silence. The only sound effect in the game is the jumping sound. Besides that, the game is silent. I recommend turning off the music and playing your own in the background.

At times the controls felt clunky, and I dreaded anytime I had to traverse the strange blocks of World 2. These were probably the worst part of the game. They felt unreliable, and exposed the seams of the game. I didn’t complete the last puzzle of World 2, due to the massive framerate drop these blocks created, as well as the horrendous camera on this puzzle.

The game could have helped itself by giving the Monocle Man a personality of his own, in either emotion or voice, but this was not attempted. The game feels unfinished, and under thought out…which makes sense. The game was born in only 48 hours, with most of the additional work for the OUYA release, being additional levels.

As with many OUYA games, it has loads of potential, but poor execution and a lack of time held it back. Monocle Man gets a 2 out of 5.


This review was based on the Monocle Man available on the OUYA Marketplace as of 7/27/2013