Another Monumental Mobile Game

Monument Valley is a puzzle game available for $4 on all mobile devices.

I’m officially on a crusade to find decent mobile games!

After my encounter with Florence, I eagerly explored the Google Play store for other games worth my time. And I came across Monument Valley, a great puzzle game with an inspired art direction.

To understand this game, we should briefly talk about the 20th Century artist M. C. Escher. He was best known for creating paintings with visual paradoxes that play on perspective. You probably saw his work on a math or psychology textbook, which is criminally underselling his work. My university had an exhibit of his work at the art museum shortly before I graduated, and I fell in love with this guy’s work immediately.

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Escher, Waterfall (1961); image courtesy of mcescher.com

Monument Valley uses Escher’s visual paradoxes to build puzzles for your small character to traverse. They’re such a beautiful pair, it’s almost as if Escher made his isometric pieces exactly for putting into a video game. Each level has its own “monument” with its own bizarre architecture that needs to be manipulated with the touchscreen in order to open the path forward. It definitely got me “thinking with portals” to find some satisfying solutions.

As far as story goes, it’s very… sparse. I’m a fan of vague stories like Hyper Light Drifter and Fez, but this one was a bit too vague even for me. In its defense, the game is only an hour long, so there isn’t much time for a story, but Florence could do it, so it’s not much of an excuse. Compared to Florence, Monument Valley has better gameplay, but Florence has a better story by far.

All in all, this is a solid recommendation for anyone who likes puzzle games, particularly the Portal games. There’s a sequel available as well if you had a taste and wanted more, like I did.

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