But every now and again, something surprises and delights you, and reminds you that games are meant to give players pleasure, not frustration. Monument Valley does exactly that.
|The first chapter|
sets the scene.
The seamless integration with iCloud means that if you own more than one iOS device, you'll be able to pick up where you left off on any of them, without you having to do anything to set this up.
Whichever device you own though, the game is only played in the portrait orientation. You tap where you want the princess to go, getting her to step on blocks to activate specific structural changes, or you move parts of the building around to enable her to complete her task. But that's where it gets interesting: the architecture is the most fascinating part of this game as you can only solve your problems by creating Escher-esque impossible 3D designs. Ustwo, the team behind Monument Valley, aren't the first to come up with such an idea: echochrome was there before it for instance, but Monument Valley's perfect use of iOS' touchscreen capabilities and amazing design aesthetics sets it apart from the competition. Ken Wong, the artist and designer of Mountain Valley adds, "Some people seem to want to reduce games to clones of each other if they share a mechanic. Yes, we were aware of echochrome, but only a few of the team members have played it. Sword & Sworcery, Portal and Windosill were far more influential on the design of Monument Valley."
|Meet the team behind Monument Valley.|
Ken Wong is front and centre.
|Each chapter is unique|
and offers different challenges.
This last part may be causing some frustration with hardcore gamers, as Monument Valley, though challenging, can be completed in under two hours. But there's actually a reason for that, and it underlines the whole philosophy behind the creation of this game. "We felt that there was more value in doing a short, very focused experience with puzzles that wouldn't overly frustrate people, and having a definite end of the game," said Ken. "The sense of closure you get when finishing a game is not something most people get to experience. We also wanted to make the game feel very inviting and approachable, in everywhere from the art to the sound to the puzzle design. Challenge can play an important part in game design, but we've found there are many people out there that play more for the interactive and aesthetic experience, over the challenge."
Sadly though, it feels that just as you get used to the more complex levels, the story finishes much too soon. But this may not actually be the end of the road for Ida and the mysterious Crow People, as Ken revealed to me: "during production we wanted to remain very focused on creating the best standalone experience, not holding anything back for the future. We decided we'd wait and see what people thought. The response has been overwhelmingly positive and players definitely want more levels, so we're going to make some. It’s a bit early to say when, but we're going to stick by our principles of making every chapter a special, unique experience."
So if you loved the idea of wondering through mind bending architecture but somehow were put off by the shortness of the adventure, hold on to your eternal staircase or impossible three-dimensional triangle, as there may be more to come.
|You'll encounter this|
mysterious ghost more
than once on your journey.
Version Reviewed: 1.0.3
Price: £2.49 ($3.99)
Compatibility: Requires iOS 6.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.
Tested on: iPhone 4S, 3rd generation iPad, 1st generation iPad mini, all on iOS 7.1.
Direct Link to App Store
|It's like being inside a|
musical box. Oh, wait!
|Each chapter ends with|
Ida offering a gift.
|Where to now?|