Game Review: Moncage

Release date: 2021 (mobile and Steam), 2022 (Nintendo Switch)
Version played: Nintendo Switch in 2022

A puzzle game developed by Hong Kong’s Optillusion, Moncage was released onto Nintendo Switch in 2022, but originally appeared on mobile devices and on PC a year earlier. As players gaze into a strange cube, different landscapes or objects are shown on each face. These can be zoomed into, altered in some ways, or aligned to allow scenes to play out, and hidden photographs can be collected to help piece together the story.

+ most importantly, the puzzles here are a joy to work out, and the short scenes that play when you do work them out are immensely satisfying. For example, you could line up the arm of a crane on one side of the cube with the back of a desk lamp in another, which will allow the crane to transport an object to another side altogether. You could almost think of this as the game ‘Gorogoa‘ but in three dimensions
+ visually the game is very basic, with the entire game (literally the entire game) taking place inside the cube. Hidden photographs you have found begin to appear in the background, but I got the impression I was playing as a person in particular literally walking around a photo box as they remember parts of their life
+ from what I gather of the story, of which nothing is explicitly stated; I liked it. What I saw was a very personal story with some deep moments in the middle. The discovered photographs only added to my interpretation, which overall I enjoyed

– as with all these puzzle games, they can only be as long as you don’t solve the puzzles for, which means any puzzles that take a while to work out will be the bulk of the game. I’m not saying this was a particular easy or difficult game, but I finished it in a single sitting of about 2-3 hours and only needed to use the (really well executed) in-game hints a few times

> I’m not entirely sure what the title means; maybe it’s a portmanteau of ‘montage’ and ‘cage’, as this story takes place inside the object? I don’t know! Maybe that’s another puzzle…

Should you play this game: I really enjoyed this. The moment I saw what sort of game it was during the recent Switch sales, I bought it without hesitation and I am glad I did. There is no reason to specifically recommend this on Switch over PC or even mobile, but I had a great time and any puzzle game fans will too.

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