The Beauty of Monument Valley

When it comes to iPad games, I’ve found that there are two types I get the most play out of. First, adaptations of boardgames that allow asynchronous play, and second, casual puzzle games. I like playing on the iPad before I go to sleep, so I like games that are conducive to being horizontal and tired. Often they are dumb hidden object games or repetitious things like Pawn’d.

Monument Valley is a sort of exception to these two categories, though its puzzly nature and beautiful dreamlike graphics are perfect for my purposes.

Monument Valley is a maze game. The goal is to lead a girl, Ida, through each monument, to a door or platform. The monuments have an Escherian design, full of strange angles, impossible geometry, and tricks of the eye. In addition, elements of the monuments can be moved, turned, opened, or twisted. The monuments unfold and reveal themselves gradually, becoming more than they first appeared. While the construction of the monuments themselves are challenging, there are also sometimes adversaries to contend with: bird people who will block your way and worse, yell at you.

If it sounds confusing or complicated, it’s not. The levels are not particularly difficult, though they are often cleverly done. The real pleasure in the game is just how beautifully it all works, and how satisfyingly.

Monument Valley has ten levels to it. The expansion, Forgotten Shores, adds eight additional levels. The base game is $3.99 and the expansion is $1.99.

As a bonus, until December 8, if you buy Monument Valley it will come with a bonus level, Ida’s (RED) Dream, and the purchase price goes towards AIDS research. (People who already own the game can buy Ida’s (RED) Dream for $0.99, and again the purchase goes to (RED).)

Monument Valley is a fantastic game, and well worth the cost. I highly recommend it.

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