Monomino is a block based puzzle game developed by a group of final year students at Nanyang Polytechnic, School of Interactive & Digital Media in Singapore. It was a project that was deemed so good that it needed to be published and in 2012 the students became the first PlayStation First Academic Partners in Asia.
Visually this game is very pretty and the art style fits the game genre and theme incredibly well, and not just for students, for any development team. In any game where the art needs to be so dominant, it is rare to find such a brilliant fit no matter how experienced the developers are. Unfortunately, the art style may be the best thing about the game.
The entire premise of the game is that you are guiding newly born block babies from their overly enthusiastic block dad and unamused mother to the safety of what can only be assumed is a door to another dimension by using Tetris blocks to help the Monominos traverse different obstacles including walking off of cliffs to their deaths with smiles on their faces. The game does reward you with stars for how many of the babies you manage to save in each level, however, because the Tetris blocks cannot be moved once they are placed the reward system seems a tad unnecessary as you will have to reset the level if you misplace a single block by a single space. On top of that, through all of the levels I played I did not receive less than the maximum three stars once I had the blocks where they were supposed to be in order to complete the level. There were some levels that required multiple resets, but once the correct path was made, every Monomino that was supposed to make it to the end of the level did.
The game also adds power-ups to the levels, which include a guard which turns one of the babies into an impassable wall as long as the guard remains awake, and a bomb, which, for lack of a better way to describe it, turns one of the babies into a suicide bomber allowing it to clear paths for its remaining brothers and sisters who continue on smiling after they had just watched one of their own blow itself up. In addition, certain levels have pickups on them, whether they are power-ups or blocks that make you plan out where you are going to place your blocks and when in order to complete the level. The only problem with these is that because you are given such an exact number of items the levels are unbeatable unless you follow a very specific path, and by following those paths you are guaranteed your three star completion for each level.
Ultimately, this is a game that you would put on your iPad to pacify a screaming child at a family gathering, and unfortunately the game is currently only available on PC. While the game itself is quite beautiful and each level is different from the next, the way the game mechanics work does not seem to allow for any real sense of accomplishment for beating any of the levels and makes the game play rather boring. For a class project, this is an incredible example of what can be created by people without much industry experience and the students deserve a ton of praise for their work. However, as a full game Monomino falls a bit short.