Monument Valley is simply gorgeous. From its simplistic, yet stunning graphics, to its calming and succinct sound effects, the game is enjoyable and it delights. The short chapter one introduction leads you into playing the character, Princess Ida, and gives you just a small taste of what’s to come.The idea is for Ida to complete each level (or chapter as it is called in the game), and find a gem at the end of each chapter. This allows you to move onto the next level.
You travel through a series of mazes that are similar to the style of M.C. Escher, but modernized. Each level has its own theme, leading you further into the story. The simplicity of Monument Valley’s design is a great counterbalance to the complexity of some of the levels. You have to turn up, down, left, and right with the cranks or other movable items to determine the path for Ida. Just when you think that you would go one way, the game adjusts and provides a new challenge.
The controls in Monument Valley are intuitive and simple in design. To move Ida, you simply select the area with your finger in which you want her to travel. There is a crank for when you want to rotate a walkway and the other type of control are little “Lego-like” protrusions from the sides of buildings that allow you to turn a section in a specific direction. When Ida is on a platform in which the crank is on, you can’t rotate that section, so you have to plan your moves accordingly. When you want to move onto other platforms, sometimes the protrusions allow for different angles in which you may have not thought of.
What’s great is that Monument Valley doesn’t give you a time limit or an option to fail, it gives you time to strategically think about your next move. For instance, in Chapter Six “The Labyrinth”, you are given a new movable totem that helps Ida, however it is limited in what it can do, as well as how Ida can move with it. I haven’t come across an area where I felt like I couldn’t get out. I’ll think to myself, “there’s no way”, and then realize what I had missed. You have to think a little outside of the box on some levels.
Monument Valley is intuitive and exciting as you move into larger scale levels. Each move that you make has it’s own muted tone, while soothing tones and music play in the background. The sound quality alone makes this game stand out from others. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like there is much replayability in Monument Valley. As with many puzzle games once you complete a level, it’s hard to forget the solutions to its challenges. I went back and played some of the beginning levels to see if I could find a different solution to the end result, but it pretty much completes as is. However, that is a minor setback to a gorgeous game that is entertaining, rewarding, calming, and totally worth the purchase.
Monument Valley Review: Escher Would be Proud