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Monument Valley

For: iPad   Also on: Android, iPhone

Monumentally good

Product: Monument Valley | Developer: ustwo | Format: iPad | Genre: Adventure, Platform, Puzzle | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Monument Valley iPad, thumbnail 1
There's nothing else like Monument Valley on the App Store, and for that reason alone you should go and buy it right now.

It's an experience that's almost breathtakingly unique, rich with ideas, and wrapped around a story of change and friendship, exploration, and heartbreak.

The eureka moments that pepper each of the ten levels are always accompanied by a warm smile, and even though you'll finish everything within an hour or so, it's an experience that lingers in the very best way.

This is a uniquely tactile game that could only work on touchscreen devices, a rallying cry for better thought-out control systems, more unique ideas, and the sort of exploratory gaming that the App Store is desperate for.

Monument girl

You play as Princess Ida, and navigate through an Escher-inspired world of shifting perspectives, impossible shapes, and grumpy crow people who caw at you when you get in their way.

Tapping on the world sends Ida scurrying to that position, and a variety of visual indicators tell you which parts of the current level you can manipulate.

Handles can be twisted, but if Ida is stood on the piece of scenery they move they'll retract.

Dotted pieces of architecture can be slid around, and this time the princess can be a passenger, moving her around to previously inaccessible areas.

The levels really are things of beauty. The clever relationships between positioning, perspective, and the manipulable chunks make for some great puzzling, and the shifts and changes you create with your poking and prodding are a thing to behold.

Each challenge is a multi-faceted thing, with huge open chambers and tightly packed spaces, all of them chiselled to perfection like digital sculptures.

You wouldn't be surprised to find prints of some of them hanging in galleries.

Canny valley

But Monument Valley isn't a game about stillness. It's in its movement that the real joy lies. It's an interactive piece of art, and your inputs are as important as those of the developer.

Your taps and swipes expose the doors that have been cunningly hidden, and your exploration unlocks the secrets that bubble just out of view throughout the whole game.

Even something as simple as moving from one set of stairs to the next, avoiding the attentions of a squawking crow, is a perfectly balanced game of dodge and sneak, with the simple controls making everything effortless.

The only real niggle is that it doesn't last long enough. You'll run through the levels in one sitting, even if you explore every nook and cranny.

But the story fits the chunk of levels you're presented with perfectly, and you don't feel cheated when the credits roll.

You just want to experience the whole thing again, for the first time.

Brief lives

As brief as it is, Monument Valley squashes enough into its gorgeous shell that quibbling about its length feels a little churlish.

The polish and poise that's gone into the final product speaks of a project made with the utmost of care and passion, and in an age of clones and cash grabs that's something to champion.

Monument Valley is an iOS game that can be played by anyone and, perhaps more importantly, should be played by everyone.

It's a short, revelatory slice of almost perfectly pure gaming that stands as an example of just what mobile gaming is capable of now.
Monument Valley
Reviewer photo
Harry Slater | 3 April 2014
A brilliant, breathtaking, and brief adventure, Monument Valley is every bit as good as it looks
Have Your Say
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Show: Latest | Oldest
Aug 2012
Post count:
Myron Adams | 17:48 - 23 May 2014
Honestly, on Google Play the first reviews were 5 out 5 stars. Now, I'm starting to see a lot of 3 out 5 stars because of the length of the game. $4 bucks is a lot to ask for such little content. Maybe if they were to drop the price down to $0.99 would take away some of the sting "cost to content" ratio (I just made that up just then), I'd buy it. Hopefully they'll add more content without those pesky IAP
Dec 2012
Post count:
Eriatarka | 23:19 - 5 April 2014
I think the review underrates this; if this doesnt deserve a straight 10/10 platinum award then nothing on the App Store does

Saying its too short misses the point; it isnt meant to be a long drawn out affair. Once the player has mastered the mechanics there is no need for it to drag on (like most games sadly do) well after the delight of discovering how the game works has passed,

Its a perfect length in my opinion.
Jun 2013
Post count:
Jeffyg3 | 23:28 - 3 April 2014
It's a little short, but that doesn't deter how fantastic this game is. Everything about this game is beautiful, like every angle I want to take a pic of it. Puzzles are fun and it offers a unique experience. Totally worth the few bucks
Apr 2014
Post count:
@SmartballGG | 22:06 - 3 April 2014
I love puzzle games! This one is quite good although a little confusing at first.
Aug 2010
Post count:
Funem | 21:22 - 3 April 2014
My review, left on another forum :-
Ok, the game is short, incredibly short. I love logic puzzles and I love Escher so I was looking forward to this game. I completed this in about an hour and a half (ish). But you know what, its a great game, probably one of the best I have played on a mobile in some time. The simple, clean graphics combined emotion portrayed with the slightest movements and the minimalistic graphics makes it a joy to play. Its like a magic box, sometimes rotating parts of the maze of stairs and walls reveals fantastic hidden scenes, its just spot on perfect. I also love the fact you can take captures of the screen as you go along, one of them is now my lock screen. Well done devs it was worth every penny. If an expansion is planned, it would be fantastic but I don't know how that would fit with the story and its ending. my rating 6/5