ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Review: Monument Valley

Updated on June 20, 2014

Developer: Ustwo - Publisher: Ustwo - Platforms: iOS, Android - Release Date: April 3, 2014

Concept: Tap a small princess through beautiful M.C. Escher-style environments

Graphics: A calming pastel color palette and sharp visuals make this as easy on the eyes as it is to play

Sound: The pleasant score is little more than background noise

Playability: Tap, swipe, it's all in the rhythm. Well, not so much rhythm, but you know what I mean

Entertainment: An enjoyable puzzler that concludes just as it begins showing it's true potential

Replay Value: Very Low

A Pretty, Though Short-Lived, Enigma

Monument Valley is far from the first game to find inspiration in the work of M.C. Escher, but it's definitely one of the prettiest. Players lead a princess named Ida through a series of clean, colorful worlds made up of impossibly designed staircases and walkways. Visually, this game looks outstanding, especially the elaborate animations in which the stages unfold, but beauty is only skin-deep. Does a substantial experience lie underneath those good looks?

Ida isn't controlled directly, but rather walks automatically to whatever point the player taps. Tapping or swiping special areas causes either the entire stage or independent sections of it to rotate, bringing different sides into view. Changing the viewing angle can cause separate platforms to become a unified path, similar to games such as Fez. Turning platforms the princess is standing on to different degrees allows her to traverse the stage at that angle. For example, flipping her upside down lets her explore the area as such. Finding a way to the exit is usually the goal, but you'll sometimes have to activate a series of nodes before doing so.

About mid-way through, the game introduces a totem pole-like block that can be controlled independently as well as serve as a moving platform that the princess can use to reach higher areas. These were my favorite levels, as I had to figure out how to use the block and Ida in tandem to activate nodes requiring two characters which could be a little tricky. For instance, the block can be used in certain, rotating sections that Ida cannot. Thoughtful maneuvering is also required to ensure that you don't obstruct Ida's path with the block. I wish there had been more of these puzzles that grew more complicated, such as introducing two or more blocks to the equation.

Black, crow-like creatures serve as the only real obstacles but are minor inconveniences at best. You can't walk through them, so you'll simply have to wait for them to pass by before proceeding which isn't much of a problem. Also, coming in contact with the crows doesn't harm you in any way, eliminating any sense of danger or urgency. There are, however, some clever instances where you have to manipulate their route so that the crows activate switches for you.

As far as difficulty goes, Monument Valley is definitely on the easier side of the spectrum. One or two swipes is usually all it takes for the pieces of a stage to fall mostly into place and I was never stumped or even really challenged. When true complexity does begin to show itself, the game is ends.

That's unfortunate because, despite being a relative cakewalk, I enjoyed Monument Valley. However, its brevity and potential for added depth left me wanting more. With only ten chapters, it's designed to be a quick and engaging, though stress-free, diversion in between daily activities. That's all well and good, but I wish it was as stimulating as it is attractive.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)