Monument Valley Review

[As Read on GIO.]

I played a game titled Monochrome or something similar thereto a few years back for PSP, and for all of its puzzles and looks, I’ve got to say that Monument Valley looks and feels very similar yet is definitely superior- if not in difficulty, in aesthetics and core gameplay. Essentially, Monument Valley is an adventure focused solely upon optical illusions and minor platforming elements melded into the uniquely fashioned levels. Each stage is relatively easy and most are short, however as the game progresses they gain more facets in design and you figure out new ways to keep old things fresh throughout, making smart use of the core elements and rehashes of established ones without growing stale. Each stage is essentially a puzzle although oftentimes there are multiple paths and similar solutions to the questions posed to players.

Make sure, whatever you do, that you don’t come into the game expecting our world’s laws to apply. Very much like Antichamber, the majority of those rules are left at the door and it takes a little while to get used to the new ballgame but it is well worth it once you do. All in all, the game isn’t too terribly difficult but the package is highly replayable due to both its polish and simplistic gameplay elements. Despite the fact that most so-called Indie titles look the part, Monument Valley could easily be mistaken for a more high-end title as it looks crisp, even if it is on mobile devices only at this point. The colors are surreal and mix well with the varied towers and palaces of the game’s princess-escape theme. Most gameplay takes on an isometric sort of viewpoint and the intermingled pathways overlap and further add to the ease with which you can traverse the seemingly complex stages- especially where switches are concerned.

Like something out of Hogwarts, staircases rotate, towers change directions they tilt, and different pathways open up as you progress further. The best thing about the game isn’t necessarily the puzzles themselves but the looks of the title, which really help to warp reality and bend your views of things. At most, the puzzles themselves- though the main function of the game, are of a medium difficulty. As much as this might seem like a problem however, I found it actually compelled me to dive further into the game, sort of like the mobile platformer Badlands- also a decently easy title to complete but a visually nice one to look at. New mechanics are introduced often enough that in combination with old ones, the gameplay doesn’t grow old- adding in new things such as movable objects to slide about and open up new areas.

There is a story, but I wouldn’t scratch my head over it too much, as it is pretty hard to grasp and very open to interpretation. Which actually works better for the game as well, considering it is very open to interpretation in more aspects than one- environment among them. I’m hoping there are expansions to the base content, as it is pretty slim, but thankfully the high replayability of the short story adds in more content, if some of the same. As mobile games go, this is definitely one you’ll want to check out and try your hand at. It might be confusing at first, but it shouldn’t puzzle you for too terribly long.

Concept: Optical illusions and princesses and palaces.

Graphics: Crisp and concise when it needs to be, the towers and environments are rendered with exquisite details.

Sound: The soundtrack complements the setting quite well in most aspects.

Playability: If you can move your fingers and click then you’re set.

Entertainment: It’s entertaining while it lasts, however it is very short- even if the game is quite replayable. You can only enjoy it so many times once however.

Replay Value: Moderate.

Overall Score: 7.5

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