Home » Reviews, iPad

Monument Valley

23:2807/07/2014Posted by Charles Etheridge-NunnNo Comments

The world is wrong. Some kind of disaster has taken place and as Princess Ida, you have to navigate a land of broken towers to find your way to forgiveness.

Monument Valley is an isometric puzzle game where you tilt and move Escher-looking platforms to find doorways and complete Ida’s journey. On your way you are plagued with (but not attacked by) little black birds, befriend a happy yellow platform and speak with ghosts.

There’s not much background exposition to the world, you see and hear little bits as you go, but what I’ve already mentioned is all you need. For a tablet game it’s better this way and evocative enough to help you put two and two together. Ida’s somehow at fault for what’s happened and she’s traversing the ruins in an effort to redemption or rebuilding.

You move Ida by touching spots on the screen that she can move to and if she’s not able to get there she’ll just stay still. If Ida can’t get where you want, just touch the bumpy little bits of the platforms and drag it across the screen to tilt the platforms. If they match up, even if they were on different levels, you can move Ida there now. I’m pretty sure it’s not the first Escher platformer but this one has been optimised for a tablet in all the right ways. There are ten levels of increasing length and complexity, but all doable with the change of perspective which is key to the game.

The look and sound helps perfect the style of Monument Valley, with a sparse eerie nothing to the noise until you start moving platforms and string instrument strumming starts to kick in. The backgrounds are all empty too, occasionally punctuated by broken platforms floating in the pale colours. Ida and the birds are black and white, the stone is all grey, the only colour you see apart from the background are the lights you activate and the happy yellow block who accompanies you through the wasteland. It’s a strange atmosphere to exist in and one to definitely enjoy on its own rather than distractedly-clicking while watching something else.

There are currently ten levels and I hear more are to come. It does cost money, unlike so many other tablet games, but it’s so unlike people’s perceptions of the medium and so fitted for the medium that it’s definitely worth the purchase. I personally have little optimism towards mobile games when I first hear about them, but this was a beautiful breath of fresh air that should be an essential purchase for people who want an interesting experience on their tablet.

Reviewed on iPad; game was purchased by the reviewer

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