Monument Valley 2 is a surreal, beautifully interactive work of art, a moving story, and a wonderful experience. Don’t get this if you’re into hardcore puzzles or vast realms of content. Do get this if you’d like a low-stress game that lets you marvel at beautiful vistas of pixels or if you enjoyed the first game.
Monument Valley 2, from ustwo games, has been out for a few months, but I’ve been looking forward to it ever since I played (and reviewed) the first version. That game was interactive, mysterious, immersive, and magical.
I am happy to tell you that Monument Valley 2 is just as good. “Just as good,” though, has some modifiers — an obvious downside of the original Monument Valley was the lack of content. It’s about an hour or two to play through it the first time. Monument Valley 2 has about the same amount of content. Knowing this, I consciously rationed my play to spread the game out over four days. This second game’s gameplay has a distinct lack of challenge to it. The puzzles seem to be there for show. I only remember feeling challenged at three points in the entire game.
Now for the good stuff.
The characters are Ro, her unnamed child, and several ghosts. Ro and her child explore Monument Valley, working together and separately to solve puzzles and discover themselves.
The art is just as wonderful as ever. Beautiful new mechanics, an emphasis on plant life and water, and a consistent theme throughout levels even improve on the original. I don’t really have anything to say about the art that I haven’t said before — magical, minimalistic, surreal, etc., etc. I could not stop playing the game on the first few occasions I started it up — the old familiar “just one more level,” for slightly different reasons. The game was so beautiful I only wanted to see more.
The music is even better than the original game’s. In this game, sounds create an immersive effect that pulls you into the story. At the beginning of the game, text even states that “this game is best played with sound.”
The story is quite a lot more immersive. Simple motions, sounds, and memories included in the game imply a level of emotional depth and attachment that wasn’t so obvious in the first game. This second story is far more open-ended, but it is much, much more relatable. I’m not saying that the first game’s story was bad. It wasn’t. But this one informs the level order, the level design, the characters’ journeys, and your sense of Monument Valley’s history. When compared to this story, the first story seemed like it was written in as an afterthought.
The gameplay mechanics are still easy to understand and use. There’s a pretty cool new ability to draw the sacred geometry that Ro and the child create. It has me incessantly striving to make my geometry even prettier.
I rate this a 4/5, because there is still not enough content. This irritates me deeply. All I really want is more Monument Valley, but even when they released this new game, I didn’t get what seemed like my money’s worth. Four more levels at least, please, and I’ll throw all my money at ustwo games.