If you’ve read my previous reviews, you’ll see that I am a fan of puzzle games. I like to challenge my brain and treat it to something different than the usual first or third-person shooters/action adventure games that are quite prevalent in most any gamer’s catalog nowadays. Which is why this week in Gaming Under $20, we’re are going to take a look at Monument Valley for iOS and Android.
Monument Valley is a game that is one part art piece, one part brain teaser, and one part relaxation tool. To start with the art, the game is simply stunning to look at. It is very minimalist in design, and reminiscent of the works of M.C. Escher. This reminded me a great deal of 2012’s FEZ, with stairs and doorways leading to other stairs and doorways. One never knowing where it’ll lead until you take the leap, and move Ida, our color-less silent protagonist, through ten increasingly challenging levels.
From the outset, things look quite simple. You see your exit, but getting there is the puzzle and the fun. Moving Ida is simple. By tapping a space in the environment, she simply walks to where you want her to; the basic control scheme also allows you to rotate and move environments, activate switches or levers, turning cranks, and pushing the landmarks themselves to produce bizarre new ways of moving around one brain-melting set piece to the next.
Though Ida is silent, the game sure isn’t. The score and sound effects are both top notch. When Ida moves around the environment or when you help her move landmarks, the fruitful sounds of plucky instruments play and allow you to make the soundtrack for yourself. There’s also this serious undertone of danger as we lead Ida blindly through doors or past Crows, the games only real protagonist. The Crows don’t harm you, or even touch you, they just become bothersome, getting in your way, and adding to the puzzle element because you have to think in a three-dimensional way to outsmart them.
Monument Valley isn’t very long, but the 4 hours I spent trying to peel my brain apart, was well worth each and every “Ah ha!” moment each of the ten levels has you experiencing. There’s even a part of great loss. Which was totally unexpected and pretty nuts for the simple time-killing app that Monument Valley presents itself as.
I played this on my four year old iPad 2, which had no problems keeping up with the graphics and game-changing environments that Monument has to offer. Though the game is cheap at $3.99 for three to four solid hours of fun, last week Ustwo Interactive released DLC for $1.99, which is just as mind-bendy and well worth the extra few duckets to keep the puzzle adventure going.
I sure had an awesome time with Monument Valley. The puzzles were super satisfying later on in the more challenging levels, as there were multiple walls, stairs and dimensions to keep track of, all the while still trying to keep your mind one step ahead of where you came from. It was just a beautiful game to play and listen to, and totally worth the $3.99 it’ll cost you. This game is available now for iOS and Android devices.
Monument Valley is absolutely Worth It!
Written by: Austin Fedo