If you blended the MC Escher-esque visuals of the PSN title Echochrome with the gameplay of FEZ, Monument Valley would most likely be the end result. From the moment you’re dropped into the world and start exploring, you know you’ve discovered something special.
By twisting and turning the environment, hidden paths are uncovered and optical illusions will be revealed as more of the world is opened up in front of you. Monument Valley is bright and colorful, with a beautiful soundtrack and intuitive touch controls, all of which work together to keep you immersed in the experience.
As Princess Ida, your objective is to navigate through the impossible-looking monuments and solve navigational puzzles along the way. The monuments are pretty straightforward, and each one will introduce either a new play mechanic or offer an interesting twist.
The puzzles are pretty simple at first, like twisting a crank, and become more complex as you progress. For example, later in the game you’ll have to twist the monument to uncover hidden paths, or navigate from a different perspective.
The new gameplay elements are introduced gradually and won’t stop you from making progress. This keeps you going even when you feel you’re not going to move any further. Despite the game being pretty linear, it never feels frustrating, and there isn’t a puzzle that couldn’t be solved after thinking about it for a minute or two.
There’s no in-game timer, no enemies to fight, and you can’t get stuck in a puzzle, so you’re free to take as much time as needed to get from point A to point B. As an added feature, Monument Valley also allows you to take in-game screenshots and share them with the social networks of your choosing. We’re looking at you, Instagram, currently sitting at 25,000 posts.
Monument Valley’s only weakness is that it’s a little on the short side. It’s nice that it doesn’t overstay its welcome and extend its length by hours and hours. However, by the time everything starts to click, the game is over, which is a little disappointing considering the entire game is only about 90 minutes long.
The main objective by the team at Ustwo seems to have been to create a game that anyone, regardless of gaming skills, could just pick up and play. This is a promise that Monument Valley keeps from beginning to end.
Monument Valley is a breath of fresh air in the App Store. Similar games have been released before, but none of them have Monument Valley’s level of polish. From the visuals and sound to the controls and difficulty, everything about this game just works. If you’re looking a new experience that doesn’t take hours to complete, you should invest the time it takes to explore Monument Valley. It’s a truly nice place to visit, and you may end up wanting to live there.