Game Review: Monument Valley for iPhone


Monument Valley is a puzzle game made by Ustwo, sold in the Apple App Store. It won the Apple iPad Game of the Year award for 2014 and was also the winner of the Apple Design Award in the same year. A couple months ago it was the featured app of the week in the App Store, so I decided to give it a go.

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Monument Valley is a puzzle game based in a world strongly influenced by the works of M.C. Escher. Your goal is to help a princess proceed on a quest that you of course know nothing about – and learn very little about – by solving puzzles that involve lifting, spinning, and manipulating the environment in many ways.

The concept of the game is very simple: get Princess Ida through each level to further the very vague and almost nonexistent storyline. From the very start you are led to believe that Princess Ida has betrayed her kingdom in some unforgivable way, but you are never told how or why, and it’s never made clear how proceeding in these puzzles will help her reach her goal…whatever it is. It’s obvious though, that the story isn’t the important part of the game; it just gives the player more of a drive to clear levels and make progress. The focus on the game is the artwork and intricate puzzles themselves.

Like I mentioned before, the game is strongly influenced by the works of M.C. Escher. So it’s a no brainer that, in order to get through each level, you’ll have to twist and lift and turn the floors and stairs of the environment.

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The game starts out simply, making it easy and fast to catch on to the mechanics of the world. But as your progress, each level quickly becomes more challenging, so it’s never a dull or repetitive session.

One of my favorite levels was a puzzle box of sorts, where you have to guide Ida through a variety of mini-puzzles to reach your final destination.

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Now unfortunately there’s only 20 levels to play through, plus another set of mini puzzle levels called “Ida’s Dream”. Once you’ve finished them all you are still able to play through all of the levels again or purchase the expansion set of puzzles called “Forgotten Shores” for $1.99.

I have yet to buy it, because while the game was enjoyable I’m not sure if it was enjoyable enough to make me want to buy the expansion quite yet.

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Conclusion: TBG Rating – 5 out of 5 Stars

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I’m going ahead and rating this with a full 5 stars because while yes, the game is lacking in the storyline department, it’s also not supposed to be the main focus. The focus is meant to be almost completely on the puzzle aspect and simplicity of the designs. And while it’s unfortunate that you have to purchase the expansion if you want to continue playing, the 20 levels plus the bonus level “Ida’s Dream” should keep you busy for plenty of time – unless you’re like me and tend to binge-play games that fascinate you.

But as it stands, Monument Valley is a great and simple puzzle game that’s perfect for passing the time and giving your brain a good stretch. If you enjoy M.C. Escher’s style and puzzles that you can play while on the bus/waiting in line/sitting on the porcelain throne, then you’ll enjoy guiding Princess Ida through Monument Valley.

Have you guys played Monument Valley, or the Forgotten Shores expansion? If you have, what are your thoughts? What games should I review next? Let me know in the comments below!

till next post, Katie

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