“She is just here, that is all.”
Also known as Monochrome: White in English, this visual novel opens up with a white room and a woman. I have to admit that I agree with the RAA on this visual novel being surreal. The story jumps all over the place, from the white room, to people in labcoats, and a bizarre fantasy world. According to the author, Adorya, it’s a “science fantasy” visual novel and that “even [the] french jury couldn’t understand what I wrote”. Yeah, I couldn’t, either. I’m a fan of off-the-wall stuff but this visual novel is seriously out there. Good or bad, you decide.
There’s a bit of a background story to this VN, as is with all stories, actually. Monochromie: Blanche was written for the PenOfChaos Novel Contest 2007 with the theme of “the door”. The VN earned a “before last ranking in the contest,” unfortunately. I can see why it would earn that, looking at the English version alone. I’m afraid my French skills aren’t good enough to read through without difficulty and plus, I’d rather not play through a second time.
To say the least, it was…unique. A couple other players walked away with that same thought, one of them (risingbamboobanana) admits to not “think[ing] I’ve seen anything like it.” I agree. Me neither. I was even a little confused at times by where the story was heading. One moment, I’m reading what I think to be a depressing story about, maybe, a colorless world or something, then the next it’s like I’m reading a different story entirely, one of pure fantasy. Eventually, there’s a point where you choose a username and password to log onto a computer or something. I wasn’t expecting any of that, at all. Honestly, to me, it came out of nowhere.
The plot…well… I had a bit of a hard time with that one. It felt messy, like a mash-up of a bunch of stories into one. The narration is, at times, hard to understand. This may be due in part to it being written in French originally. There are a lot of spelling and grammar mistakes, not that I care too much. Just a heads up.
The beginning of the game, although mildly sad, was beautifully written. I wish more of the game had focused purely on that white room instead of visiting other scenes, too.
Right from the first time you can hear it, the music was jarring. It felt too video-gamey, too fast, and way too whimsical. When reading a visual novel such as this one, something more quiet and atmospheric would’ve been best. The “waaaah” sounds in the music distracted from both the words, the artwork, and the effects. Eventually, I had to turn the music way down. It just didn’t match. Good choice in the “rain” sound effect, though.
Now, this is where this visual novel really shines. From the changed .exe icon (at least in the Windows version – I haven’t played the Linux or Mac versions) and included readme file, you can tell that Adorya has put effort into making his/her game look good. I remember the gentle way the main menu faded in, very sweet. The artwork itself is simple, yet charming. One scene does have artwork of a better quality than the rest. You’ll know it when you see it.
The special effects in this game are pulled off wonderfully. If you’re impatient, don’t keep slamming spacebar to get to the next screen. Wait. Watch how the the picture zooms out to show off the white, empty space of the room. Watch the “static” effect later in the game. And pay attention to the soft zooms. Monochrome: White utilizes plenty of techniques to heighten the experience. If you need one thing to make you play this visual novel, it would have to be the effects. Hands down. Everything is excellently timed. Superb job, Adorya. The author has managed to create a more visually interactive experience despite all the pictures being still. That’s a tough feat, so, again, major props.
The preference menu goes away real slow after you try to get back to the game. It would’ve been better if it was sped up. There were two choices that I can remember. I chose one choice that starts with an O, then one choice that starts with a P, or maybe something else. I forgot now. It didn’t seem to have an effect on the story.
Monochromie: Blanche is a weird tale that is hard to follow at times, but enjoyable for those who are into graphical effects. It’s pretty original in its own…nice way. You can discuss Monochromie: Blanche (Monochrome: White) here at Lemmasoft Forums.