If you’ve ever played The Binding of Isaac or Enter The Gungeon, then Monolith is immediately familiar stuff. A comforting blend of twin-stick shooter and dungeon-crawl wherein you navigate mazes, hoard loot, upgrade your character (cute little spaceship-people in Pop n’ Twinbee fashion), fight menacing-looking bosses, and then do it all again with even more stuff unlocked in the dungeon generator. What sets Monolith apart from its peers, and what has earned it a near-perfect user review score on Steam, is just how little all of that progression means.
Weapons are ammo-limited and ephemeral, upgrades tend not to be especially dramatic, and progression is rewarded by an ever-increasing difficulty level. In Monolith, the most important weapon you’ll ever use is the starting pea-shooter. Your default, unlimited-ammo machine-gun may not spit out quite as much damage as the fancier weapons, but it’ll still do the job if you’re able to dodge bullets for just a couple seconds longer. There is nothing in Monolith that you cannot defeat with raw reflexes and knowledge of enemy patterns alone, and knowing that makes every victory sweeter, and every defeat sting just that little bit more.
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