Ranking the Rogue · Roguelikes

Monolith. “OUT OF NOWHERE!” A Review and Ranking.

Monolith. Shoot-em-up (also written as shmup). Roguelike (or roguelite for you genre nerds). Indie video game. Released June 2017 on Steam. It’s got an oldschool aesthetic–but one that seems capable for older systems to reproduce when it comes to the visuals.

monolith charming graphics.jpg

The game looks like a colorful oldschool arcade title. Which is appropriate, considering Monolith is heavily inspired by old space shmups of the past. I sense Sinistar vibes coming from this thing (not that this particular shmup inspired Monolith) in that I am a small spaceship being chased by scary looking spaceships.


This game does shmup right, with fluid controls and flashy bullet patterns coming from interesting enemies. The game does music right, with catchy tunes that turn up unexpectedly and in an original way relative to shmup games of the past. The game does roguelite right by offering persistent unlocks from run to run.

The game is also very challenging, but because the controls feel so fluid I’m not left frustrated by a loss. There are times where you have multiple enemies shooting at the player, causing the player to get hit by a bullet they cannot even see: and those moments always seem like bullshit. There’s no way around that except for an audience member to view footage and point out what stray bullet caught their tiny player model.

There are also times where I loose my player model in the graphics. It stands out against the background, but there are times when some backgrounds acquire further detail, obscuring my minimalistic white space ship.

monolith steam screenshot.jpg

It’s a game that just came out. It has already received an update that added quite a lot of content to it, which is a huge plus considering this game was less than $10. Many steam developers release a game and run away as far as possible never to support the game or its community (if its lucky enough to generate one). But this creator seems bent on providing a fantastic experience for their fans: one that grows and progresses with further updates (both fixes and additional content). I like that a lot.

Some of the weapons really suck to use. Especially the charge ones. I could see an upgrade eventually changing my mind, but there’s no situation where a charge weapon benefits me. I usually get hit because I can’t kill something before it shoots me in this game. For that reason, having a weapon that requires a (albeit) short charge time isn’t favorable.

The weapons in general need more variety. I’m still early in the game, and I know I have some weapons to unlock, but so far I’ve seen few variations. I hope the creator continues to add more weapons enemies and rooms, because I love this game so far. It’s the best roguelike to come out so far in 2017 and that’s saying a lot because three amazing roguelikes have already come out.

2017 slow the fuck down man. I’m serious. Shit.

So this is a rougelike isn’t it? YES IT IS BOY!!

Ranking the Rogue

  1. Binding of Isaac
  2. Nuclear Throne
  3. Monolith
  4. Enter the Gungeon
  5. Brut@l
  6. Pixel Dungeon


monolith action snap.jpg

It feels so damn good. The dodge, when players become accustomed to it, makes players feel as if they’re styling on fools as you zip through the level blasting them into pixelated explosions. The music is awesome. The graphics are great and suiting the charming style. I love it. And it came out of nowhere…bringing to mind Undertale: a inexpensive indie title that came out of nowhere with a charming style, retro graphics, and amazing music.

Monolith is a testament to the indie industry. It really is. You can find, on Reddit, threads of the creator discussing the development of their roguelike game. Shit’s crazy to think that it came this far, and came out to be this fun.

I wish more people were talking about this thing. It’s easy to become cynical about the game’s industry, and especially right now with the indie industry on Steam, where hundreds of games are released every day and almost ninety percent of them are pure fucking garbage. This game is a goddamn deity amongst the peasants.


always be styling on space skulls



2 thoughts on “Monolith. “OUT OF NOWHERE!” A Review and Ranking.

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