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"Descending in the darkness of a long-abandoned facility, a lone ship searches for wealth, power and the scattered pieces of the past."
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Monolith is a top-down roguelite Shoot 'em Up by Team D-13.

The game sets up the player as a ship searching through a ruined facility filled with hazards and enemies for a source of "Power Eternal." To do this, the player will need to find and defeat minibosses in order to break an impenetrable door leading to one of threenote  bosses for each floor, all the while searching for upgrades and weapons.

Monolith was released on Steam on June 7th, 2017, and is currently available for PC and Linux. The game has achieved moderate praise from the roguelike community, and is still receiving updates. The developers' website and a demo of the game can be found here, and the soundtrack is available for pay-what-you-want on Bandcamp here.

An Expansion Pack, Relics of the Past, was released on December 25, 2019.

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Monolith contains examples of:

  • Abandoned Mine: Level 1, "Excavation".
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Parodied with the Special Offer, in which Bloke tries to force you to pay 1 million debris for one of the seals and requires Null to "haggle" with him to get a reasonable price by shooting the seal while avoiding his mech's attacks. Not even Kleines is that greedy, considering he sells a seal for just 100k debris.
  • An Aesop: Be careful not to get too caught up in your fascinations with the past. If you don't know what you're toying with, the things you take for granted can easily become one with the past.
  • After the End: The civilization of the facility and it surroundings was once wiped out in the past. The name of this trope is thus fitting for a major patch to the game.
  • All the Worlds are a Stage: The hidden 7th floor, "Nowhere", reuses all enemies and hazards from higher floors.
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  • And I Must Scream: If the player ship fights Chaosgod, enters the void it was sealed in, and then manages to destroy its core, they will be trapped in the void for all eternity.
  • Antagonist Title: The game's True Final Boss is a monolith. The True Final Boss in Hard Mode is Monolith.
  • Arc Symbol:
    • Two prongs, with one being shorter than the other. Some examples include the shape of the facility itself, Null's prongs being asymmetric, and The Machine having a partially broken prong.
    • The symbol shown while a ship is in an upgrade terminal. It is also engraved into Behemoth's chassis, and it appears on the Hard Mode symbol in the "mod" menu. It is the shape of Monolith, which is shown as a statue in the Sanctum and part of the symbol of the Power Eternal in the upgrade terminal menu for the conduit at the bottom of the facility.
    • The game's logo: two overlapping square shapes connected to a small circle in the middle. It's in the background of Chamberlord's arena, and it's the shape of the difficulty level symbols. It's part of the symbol of the Power Eternal in the upgrade terminal menu for the conduit at the bottom of the facility.
  • Artifact Domination: The side effect of the fabled Power Eternal.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: Most of the bosses. Just to name a few, Guardian, Presence, Devourer, Ordinator, and Overlord.
  • Being Watched: The Curse of Paranoia is stated to give off this feeling, which makes sense given that it causes an Insubstantial to spawn in some rooms you enter.
  • Bittersweet Ending: At the end of Hard Mode, D-13 destroys the conduit for Power Eternal, but they and Null's search of the facility for Power Eternal came at the cost of the latter's life. A certain ending that is even tougher to obtain at And I Must Scream above also counts.
  • Bookends: The end of the tutorial is a fight between Null and D-13. The end of Hard Mode is a rematch between D-13 and Null under the influence of the Power Eternal.
  • Boss Remix: Monolith, of Rivaling Force.
  • Bullet Hell: Not at first, but the later bosses very much exemplify this trope.
  • Cat Folk: Kleines, the cat shopkeeper. No explanation is given for this.
  • Chain Lightning: This keyword allows your weapon to zap enemies close to ones you hit.
  • Collision Damage: Only for mobile enemies.
  • Cool Sword: The Sword weapon. It fires out Sword Beams with each swing, and is the only weapon that can block bullets by default. With the giant keyword, it turns into a BFS. One of the playable characters, Overlord, starts with a sword in place of the usual peashooter, and any weapons that drop for it are guaranteed to be swords. There exist many especially cool variants of the weapon:
    • Excalibur, on top of being a BFS, also sends out several Instant Runes each time you swing it that fire lasers at nearby enemies.
    • Latafyn is a Flaming Sword, and its sword beams explode into fiery bursts.
    • Phantom Edge eschews the regular sword swing in favor of sending out multiple Sword Lines that cross over from one side of the screen to the other.
    • Sacred Arms doesn't shoot out sword beams itself, but instead comes with a Magic Staff that floats besides you and automatically fires lasers at enemies.
    • Edge of Reality is a pitch black sword seemingly made of space, and its sword beams pass through all blocks and enemies. It also has a unique Charged Attack that is powered up through attacking enemies and blocking bullets with the swing — after it's sufficiently charged, the next swing's projectile will create a rift on the side of the screen, pulling in and damaging nearby enemies.
  • Critical Existence Failure: At one hit point, your ship is just fine — there's an entire game mode revolving around you being a One-Hit-Point Wonder. At zero, your ship explodes spectacularly.
  • Deadly Disc: The Razor weapon, which gives you several discs that passively orbit around your ship and can be flung out, cutting right through enemies. Some of its keywords allow your discs to assume different formations passively, and with the giant keyword, you can wield giant discs!
  • Deadly Upgrade: Below the sixth floor lies an upgrade terminal with the promised Power Eternal, which forces Null to embody its tendency to dominate all.
  • Deadly Walls: Downplayed with the Curse of Haphephobia, which causes contact with walls to deal damage to your ship, and this is the only way that such "a horrible curse" can directly cause a Game Over.
  • Degraded Boss:
    • The Honor Guards in the Sanctum are weaker versions of the Guardian boss, with only one attack this time.
    • Using a weapon with the Curse of Paranoia causes a weaker version of Presence (called an Insubstantial) to randomly spawn alongside regular enemies, and it also appears as a normal enemy in level 6 along with many other minibosses of previous floors.
  • De-Power Zone: In breaches, you are forced to use your basic peashooter if you have a non-basic weapon.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: After defeating Overlord, your run cannot continue further if you didn't open all four seals.
  • Down the Drain: Level 3, "Maintenance System".
  • Drink-Based Characterization: Null and D-13 have a cup of coffee and a juice box, respectively, floating next to them on the pause screen.
  • Dual Boss: In level 6, one miniboss consists of two chamberheads with a shared health pool.
  • Dueling Player Characters: You fight D-13 as Null at the end of the tutorial. D-13 fights Null as the Monolith in level 6, and everyone fights the later-playable Overlord in level 5, including themself.
  • Dungeon Shop: Run by an '80s cool kid by the name of Bloke, or others who look very much like him. One of the seal bosses, Special Offer, is fought here.
  • Effortless Achievement: Reaching Level 1, "Excavation".
  • Elite Mook:
    • Many enemies below the seal count, known as "eternal" versions of previously encountered ones.
    • Also denoted by a ring around an enemy's head, and only seen in floor 6 or much more commonly in Hard Mode. The ring and the special ability it grants can be swapped off between enemies if the original bearer is killed.
  • Enemy Roll Call: Applies to all non-Relics of the Past enemies (even revealing the name of the Machine!) and hazards in the Hard difficulty credits.
  • Enemy Scan: Downplayed. The Scanner upgrade reveals enemies' HP.
  • Energy Weapon: The Laser weapon for the player. Several enemies and bosses can also use this on you.
  • Eternal Engine: Level 4, "Bellows".
  • Face–Heel Turn: After obtaining the Power Eternal, Null is transformed into Monolith and turns on their former friend, D-13.
  • Faceless Eye: Presence (probably).
  • Flip-Screen Scrolling: When your ship moves between rooms, your view suddenly shifts to the entered room.
  • Flunky Boss: Some of the bosses, to varying extents.
    • Most of the Forgotten Ringleader's attacks involve spawning ghosts, and one of its attacks involves it shifting into the background while summoning a large ghost orbited by smaller ghosts to fight you.
    • Chamberlord sporadically flings out Chamberheads at you, and it creates four invulnerable Chamberheads at the beginning of its second phase.
    • One of the Guardian's attacks is to summon forth several lance-wielding ghosts that charge across the screen.
    • At the start of the fight, Daemon summons a pair of electromancers followed by a pair of stormlashes that must be killed before you can properly fight him.
    • Presence vanishes and summons six lost souls after being reduced to two thirds of its health, and repeats this with two beasts instead after being reduced to a third of its health.
    • Charlie periodically summons skullies to his aid during the fight.
    • Fish constantly has fish swimming throughout its watery arena. Occasionally, blastcores make an appearance for one of its attacks.
    • Reactor frequently unleashes a group of crazy ghosts to swarm you. Upon reaching half health, it summons two heavy sentinels to defend itself.
    • Ordinator summons four blocks that shoot fire at you for one of his attacks, which in turn transform into flaming skullies once the attack ends.
  • Forbidden Zone: The floor below the seal.
  • Gatling Good: The Vulcan and Pulsar weapons, the former of which can even have a "gatling" modifier for an even more extreme example.
    • The White Death legendary weapon increases in fire rate every time it scores a hit, stacking up to a ludicrous rate of fire. It resets back to its default fairly slow fire rate upon missing, however.
  • Genius Loci: Kleines describes Firewall as "more of a location than a creature."
  • Glass Cannon: The point of Intense and Sudden Death lethalities; Intense starts you at 150% damage and a fixed maximum of 5HP, while Sudden Death gives you 300% starting damage but leaves you permanently at one hit point.
  • Great Big Library of Everything: Level 2, "Archives", was once this, but most of its knowledge faded away long ago.
  • Hailfire Peaks:
    • Certain rooms of the Temple have fiery, watery, heavenly, or icy environments.
    • The hidden 7th floor, "Nowhere", alternates between appearances of the floors above it, something letting them mix together.
  • Have a Nice Death:
    • Kleines has different quotes for (almost) every enemy, boss, and hazard in the game if you ask him for advice immediately after being killed. These range from helpful tips to dry criticism.
    • Immediately prior, a few bosses have unique messages if they kill you. For example, you might be incinerated by Firewall or devoured by Devourer.
  • High-Altitude Battle: The fight against Monolith takes place flying through the facility, and then in the sky above it.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: As characters, initially. Null is the protagonist of normal mode, D-13 is the protagonist of hard mode. Once you conquer hard mode as D-13, you can play in Normal or Hard modes with any ship of your choosing.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Any of the ships, what with drills, spears, and swords being possible weapons in a shoot-em-up game. Hilariously, the sword is simply stuck onto the front of the ship, and is many times larger than the ship itself.
  • An Interior Designer Is You: Downplayed. At certain cumulative score thresholds, Kleines will let you decorate your hub with a few pieces of furniture. He'll even give you a ghost in a jar that you can put hats on!
  • Killed Off for Real: Null's fate at the end of Hard Mode. ??? also gets killed after they or Overlord take on The Machine. This must be inflicted on the Warden to fight Chaosgod, and your ship can do this to Chaosgod at the cost of being stuck in its prison forever.
  • King Mook: Chamberlord, Forgotten Ringleader, and Fish.
  • Leitmotif: Used throughout the soundtrack, with the title screen being the game's main theme. Especially notable in the tracks for the two fights between Null and D-13.
  • Living Statue: Not a monolith, but instead the seal boss Renegade, the statue at shrines.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: The first two pause screen songs, and the song that plays on the Game Over screen.
  • Minigame: Relics of the Past added various different hacking sequences as this.
  • Minus World: The hidden 7th floor, "Nowhere", has the appearance and aesthetic of one of these, though it mechanically does not qualify as one.
  • Multiple Endings: Killing Overlord and leaving the room from the side exits ends your run without fanfare. If you've broken all four seals, you may pass into the forbidden levels of the facility. From here, the endings diverge based on your selected character.
    • Any characters not mentioned below destroy The Machine, and earn themselves The Power Eternal. The game ends as they claim it from the conduit.
    • D-13 and any other ship in Hard Mode, however, fights Null, who has transformed into Monolith due to taking the Power Eternal. After defeating Null, D-13 destroys the conduit and ends the threat/temptation of the Power Eternal for good, earning you a proper credits sequence. You also get a special post-credits scene if you defeat Monolith with all S-ranks.
    • Overlord damages The Machine, which promptly tries to destroy Overlord with one last attack. Overlord is shoved out of harm's way by ???, however, who perishes in the process of doing so.
    • ??? damages The Machine, but is killed when it explodes after the fight.
    • Two more hidden and very difficult to obtain endings exist for all characters:
      • After unlocking secret seventh floor "Nowhere" and traversing it, the player encounters and is fought by a corrupted Database. Once the player prevails, they will be thanked for their use of the facility database, and will then be prompted to choose between advancing to a more difficult loop... and simply ending the run on the spot.
      • After taking on the Tier 4 temple, lighting all the seals, and defeating the Warden at their full strength, the player then faces the now-unsealed Chaosgod — upon defeating Chaosgod, it launches a final desperation attack. Getting struck by this attack results in the player being banished along with Chaosgod and fighting its core inside the sealed prison — destroying Chaosgod's core ends its threat for good, but leaves the player trapped inside a black hole for all eternity.
  • My Name Is ???: The sixth floor typically doesn't have a name, but is referred to as ??? in mirror reports that detail the player being defeated there. ??? is also implied to be the Chaos Ship's name.
  • No Name Given: The Machine's name is garbled when you first fight it, and it is called "Unknown" in the bestiary. Its actual name is only revealed in the normal ending report and credits after the Monolith fight.
  • Numerical Hard: Loops simply increase the number of bullets enemies fire. Initially, only loop 0 is unlocked, but defeating Database at the highest unlocked loop unlocks the next one. If loops are activated, you start your run with the Integer Overflow cartridge.
  • The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: Seven mages, each holding mastery over a school of magic make up the council. As of now, five appear in the game proper: Daemon, Ordinator, Bloke, Renegade, and The Warden.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Sudden Death mode. You deal triple damage, but your max HP stat is permanently locked to 1. Not only that, the game removes the Autobomb and Quickening upgrades from terminals, just to hammer home the fact that you really cannot get hit, at all.
  • Optional Boss: In Relics of the Past, there's Microcore, Trespasser, and the Warden.
  • Place of Power: Level 5, "Sanctum".
  • Point of No Return: The Overlord fight; once you defeat them, you either escape the facility or pass the seal, with no way to revisit rooms on the Sanctum.
  • Power at a Price: As Null found out the hard way.
  • Randomly Generated Levels: Each floor has a random layout (though certain elements always appear), and each room is picked from a template as you enter it.
  • Raster Vision: Scan lines can be simulated, and their opacity can be modified in the settings menu.
  • Sad Battle Music: To an extent, the soundtracks in the fight against Null as Monolith.
  • Secret Level: Both Nowhere and the Temple.
  • Sequential Boss: Mostly among the later bosses.
    • After you knock out the first phase of Nightmare, Genesis, it promptly gets consumed by its second phase, Oblivion. On Hard Mode, after defeating Oblivion, it'll spit out a half-chewed Genesis, which must both be fought together as a final phase.
    • On Hard Mode, trying to progress to the next level after blowing up Reactor will instead put you in a fight against its core, which must be destroyed first before you can progress.
    • Armor TAC has two phases — one with legs and one as just a floating sphere.
    • The Machine initially appears as a giant slab with a rune in the center of it that must be shot at. After damaging it enough, the rune breaks open, revealing a menacing eye. After shooting the eye enough times, the slab seemingly descends downwards before cracking wide open, finally revealing the spaceship-like form hidden within the slab.
      • The Machine could be considered a sequential boss that is fought across the span of three characters. Initially, the Chaos ship first encounters and damages it, followed by the Overlord ship fighting and damaging it further, causing it to seal itself in the slab form that you first fight as Null.
    • Database has no less than eight individual phases that must be fought sequentially, consisting of four phases against the main unit, three phases of sub-bosses that must be fought in between the four main phases, and finally a final phase against an infant version of The Machine that in itself has four sub-phases.
    • After defeating Tier 4 Warden, which has four phases, you have to fight Chaosgod immediately after, sporting multiple phases itself. Upon defeating Chaosgod, you can optionally get sucked into one of the black holes it throws out during its ending sequence, forcing you into fighting its core.
  • Shout-Out: Quite a few exist.
  • Simple, yet Awesome: There are seven different Reliquary blessings left behind by The Omniscient Council of Vagueness. While many of them can do things like increase firepower, grant Shields, or unlock rooms... all Sight does is hamper the Bullet Hell a bit, making a fraction of projectiles "suffer unfortunate accidents". However, a few bullets vanishing shortly after firing is a blessing that gets the job done.
  • Skull for a Head: Demons and Liches have this, and the latter split into an Enchanted Skull and Headless Mage upon taking enough damage in Hard difficulty.
  • Spread Shot: Any weapon with the shotgun or triple keyword, though the Shotgun Pulsar combination is especially notable. The Charge weapon also fires like this.
  • Stationary Boss: Daemon (though not in Hard Mode), Reactor, Special Offer, and Renegade.
  • Superboss: Relics of the Past has Database at the end of floor 7, as well as Chaosgod after fully clearing the Tier-4 Temple.
  • Temple of Doom: The aptly-named Temple.
  • This Is a Drill: The Drill weapon. It doesn't drill through things, but it does automatically phase through walls.
  • Time Stands Still: The Warden's gimmick during its last phase.
  • Tragic Keepsake: D-13's watch, earned by defeating Monolith in hard mode with all S-ranks. Blastcore's ribbon also qualifies.
  • The Trope Without a Title: The sixth floor does not have a name displayed when you enter it.
  • Turns Red: Chamberlord, Presence, Armor Tac, Devourer, Ice Wyrm, Firewall, Ordinator, Overlord, Renegade, The Machine, Monolith, Database, The Warden, and Chaosgod all change up their attack patterns as their health is depleted.
    • In Hard Mode, Daemon, Behemoth, Charlie and Nightmare also get in on the action.
  • Victory Fakeout: Armor TAC, Nightmare, the Machine, and Hard Mode Reactor.
  • Weapon of X-Slaying: Consecrated, Disrupting, Akashic, and Antimagic keywords cause your weapon to weaken and deal extra damage against undead, mechs, constructs, and mages respectively.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Kleines, the cat at the start, explains that the Overlord was another ship that reached the Power Eternal. Same with Monolith.


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