Monument Valley is a 3D puzzle game played over 10 chapters or levels. The player helps the Princess Ida to navigate through 3D monuments and buildings filled with optical illusions. By manipulating the environment, players can create paths for Ida so that she can figure out her connection to this world.
How to Play
When players open the first chapter of Monument Valley, they immediately feel as if they have been transported into a M.C. Escher painting full of 3D architecture with paths that appear to go nowhere. By turning cranks and sliding sides of buildings that have Lego-like raised circles, the player is able to alter the environment in ways that create paths for Princess Ida to traverse.
At times the path leads her to a door, which may take her to a new monument or to another portion of the one she is on. At other times, Ida's path will be blocked by some cantankerous crow characters; so it is up to the player to find a way to move the crows or to find another path for Ida. And in one chapter, Ida befriends a one-eyed animated totem pole, which the player can slide along the pathways to activate switches. Ida can also ride on top of this totem friend to reach higher ground.
Ida will meet mysterious others, and their dialog is displayed on the screen to move the story along. The chapter ends when Ida reaches a dais and lifts her hat to deposit a special geometric shape to float there.
What Makes This App Top-Rated
Monument Valley has spectacular graphics. Each of the chapters takes Ida to a different breathtakingly beautiful location. In one, the building is hidden by water, presented in colorful hues. As Ida makes her way down the side of the building using ladders and steps, the water recedes, revealing more of the path. Others appear surrealistic by juxtaposing items of architecture that don't seem to connect.
Also excellent is the musical track. It has such a pleasing softness that it contributes to your feeling of well-being. You will hear sounds of water and nature that weave a calmness around you.
Each chapter contains a moment of clarity -- when the veil lifts and you see how to get Ida through the environmental maze. That "ah-hah" moment is immensely satisfying and helps to carry you over the roadblock that is hiding around the next corner. While challenging, Monument Valley is never frustrating. Rather, it feels like a privilege to see the next environmental puzzle these developers have created for you to solve.
When this outstanding visual and tactile puzzle adventure comes to an end, players feel as if the achieved a lot inside this wondrous world. If they are clamoring for more, eight more chapters await behind an in-app purchase of $1.99. And until December 7, Monument Valley is one of the "RED" apps where the proceeds go to the Global Fund to help fight AIDS in Africa. There is an additional special "RED" level for $.99. Parents, since this is an app released to the general public (and not in the Kids Category), the in-app purchase is not behind a parental gate.
These puzzles are visually challenging, since they require careful observation as you slowly manipulate the environment to see, for example, when two flying buttresses meet in mid-air. As a consequence, Monument Valley is best played by kids ages 8-up. And parents, you will love this one too, so make sure to check it out. It is even fun for families to play together.
This Monument Valley app review was written by Jinny Gudmundsen.
All tech products are judged on a five star scale by looking at the following factors: fun, education, ease of use, value, and technical.