Game Reviews: Monument Valley

monument

Monument Valley is the best logic puzzle game I have ever found.

Short synopsis:

<The player guides Ida, the main character, through a minimalistic world where gravity and reality bend strangely. Using levers, logic and the shifting gravity, Ida explores Monument Valley with the help of her friend the Totem.>

Ida is a figure in a white, conical hat and dress and a black face who can be moved throughout the level by tapping the square you want her to move to. Additional controls (rotating platforms, flipping individual squares) are intuitive and easy to use, but sometimes hard to spot against the background. Ida is sometimes opposed by the Crow People who get in her way, and helped by an orange-and-black rectangular Totem who appears in later levels.

The plot is fairly basic but delivered interestingly. It’s communicated by a mysterious, ghostly figure that tells you a story a few tantalizing sentences at a time. By the end of the story, you know Ida’s motivations and backstory, all through a few poetic but really, really short sentences and some cutscenes.

The game consists of three sections. The first section, Monument Valley, has 10 levels with increasing difficulty. The Forgotten Shores section can be purchased for  a small extra fee and has 8 challenging levels. The Ida’s Dream section comes free with Monument Valley as a small extra download and has 5 mini-levels. This game can be finished in a few hours if you’re determined. But it doesn’t actually have as much replay value as you’d expect for the price.

Monument Valley’s graphics are a main reason I’m recommending this game. The entire world is crystal-clear and glitch-free. The illusion-like visual effects look like a M. C. Escher painting made out of geometric shapes. The effects are minimalistic and beautiful, and create a fantasy landscape I really wouldn’t mind living in.

Every level has a slightly different musical score. All of them, though, are eerie, tinkling, and xylophone-like classical music that adds to the surreal atmosphere of the game. I suggest turning up the volume on your device if you can’t hear the music at first, as it complements the graphics very well.

Monument Valley and Forgotten Shores are available on Apple, Android, and Amazon app stores. The first section of the game is $3.99 and the Forgotten Shores update is $1.99. If you have a Kindle, you may be able to get the original game for free through Amazon Underground (without purchasing the full Underground package).

I give Monument Valley a 4/5 stars. The graphics, music, levels, and plot are all great, but the replay value and price take the rating down. This game is fine for all ages to play but it may be tougher for young kids. This is still a great game I wouldn’t hesitate to buy.

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