Monday, August 11, 2014

Monument Valley Review

Note: this blog has been migrated to Medium, with the articles here available to preserve permalinks. Please see this post at https://medium.com/@ianrbuck/monument-valley-review-f27501a934e5#.mulduk4ux

I had become somewhat disillusioned with mobile gaming after I got bored with Ingress and played a terrible AAA-wannabe. The last couple of months consisted of a lot of Super Hexagon. When one of my favorite Android developers posted about some game called Monument Valley, I decided it was time to get back into Android gaming.

Monument Valley was a good place to start. It is a puzzle game in which you use MC Escher inspired architecture to guide a princess named Ida through the different levels. The path available to her is determined by what the landscape looks like from your perspective.

The puzzles were never incredibly challenging, and the game took me somewhere in the vicinity of two hours. The path through most of the levels is inevitable and easy to find, but the levels themselves are such a joy to unfold and discover that it is worth it. It is a moving journey with a story of the folly of hubris. At least that's what I took away from it. The story is conveyed by a single sentence at the beginning of each of the ten chapters, and by an old woman whom you encounter every once in a while. Monument Valley reminds me of a miniature version of Journey in a lot of ways; it is a beautiful game with simple visuals and a loosely defined story that is quite emotional if you let it get a hold of you.

One feature that I appreciated in the game was the screenshot taker. It allows you to zoom in on any part of the level before taking your screenshot. This would be impossible in a game that requires constant input like Super Hexagon. Check out my screenshot album to see all of them.
Despite its length, the wonder I experienced while playing Monument Valley makes it well worth the $4 asking price. I want to play more of the game, but I have not heard any plans to release more levels. I enjoyed it so much that I would pay money for more levels. Go pick it up on your preferred platform of Android, iOS, or Kindle.