Review for Monorail Stories
Stelex Software and Freedom Games have partnered to bring us Monorail Stories. It's a series of vignettes that occur on a monorail as it travels between two island-based cities. A simple interface helps the player enter and control these vignettes, which are strengthened through delightful visuals and engaging voice acting. The narratives are centered around two characters, Silvie, and Ahmal, who ride the train daily, but don’t interact much with one other. The game would benefit from more seamless transitions between these two different perspectives. I also regretted that the game didn’t use more locations, so that I could see more of the marvelous graphics. I experienced Monorail Stories via the single player mode; however, gamers also have the option of playing with friends over the internet. Regardless of how they choose to play, players will be an integral part of this story from the first moment that the train leaves the station.
The appealing vignettes will be familiar to many players. Thematically, they are attached to one other like railway car couplings. Players will journey from a mundane foundation to the peak of the extraordinary. One day, while riding the monorail, Ahmal discovers a personal item belonging to Silvie and, through player direction, deposits it in the lost and found box. Later, Silvie recovers it, also with help from the player. Other errands that you must accomplish include rescuing a cat that Silvie finds after Ahmal releases him. Silvie will be blessed with the opportunity to fulfill a childhood dream. Later on the characters are enmeshed in a frightening situation they never thought they’d encounter, and you will decide how that situation resolves. Unfortunately, the transitions between the two characters are quite abrupt, and it’s difficult to anticipate when they will occur.
Using the interface in Monorail Stories is almost as easy as breathing. The graphics fill an envelope-shaped space in the middle of the screen. The player moves their character using the arrow keys. Hotspots can be interacted with by pressing Enter. Nearing a character and pressing Enter activates a chat menu at the top of the screen. You select a dialog choice using the arrow keys, press Enter to activate it, and watch the result. Players may decide whether the dialog choices are timed or not in the Advanced Settings menu.
The scenic graphics helped me appreciate the simplicity of the interface because it was easy to see how my choices affected the characters and their environment. This game uses three locations: a monorail, a hallway during a cut-scene and a secret location. Most of the gameplay takes place within the monorail cars, where colorful characters fill the seats. The voice acting richly endows them with life by successfully communicating the characters’ emotions. My favorite personality was the writer because her dialogue was amusingly perspicacious. The monorail sequences were so artfully formed that I found myself wishing for even more locales featuring such varied, fascinating scenery. Railroad car sound effects backed by subtle electronic music, plus the character animations, create an evocative montage. The two player-controlled characters are especially well-animated: Silvie struts confidently and Ahmal saunters casually with his hands in his pockets.
The exceptional graphics and unusual narratives in Monorail Stories will enthrall gamers. Great sound design and voice-overs encourage the player to take center stage in a series of relatable vignettes which build up to a suspenseful finale, resulting in different endings depending on the player’s choices. Monorail Stories would be a worthy addition to any adventurer's game list.