Gaming: Monument Valley

With a small baby invading your lifestyle, not much time for other activities is left over, especially for gaming. Most of the times even using my computer is a one-hand-action. In these times mobile games that can be played one-handed are greatly appreciated. And if it is one like Monument Valley, full of atmosphere and incredibly stimulating game play, then the level of gratitude is near infinite.

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Set in an Escherian universe where space and distance is often an illusion, the player is guiding a small princess through several levels (10+1 in the basic game, 8 more in the In-App-Purchase) of astonishing simplicity and beauty at the same time. Carefully crafted graphics, atmospheric music, calm game play (no action, don’t worry), and the lovely crows sitting around and craaaahing at the little princess.

My favorite level was the first of the expansion pack “Forgotten shores” called “The Chasm” – a wonderful homage to the Lord of the Rings and the descent to the Bridge of Khazad-dûm. Not one of the difficult levels, but definitely one of the most funny. The middle image in the above collage is from that level.

I guess my only complain about this game is that it doesn’t last long. I remember only one really difficult level where I had to play around quite some time. Most of the others are quite straight forward, but despite of that, you cannot stop playing until you are all through it.

Simply a wonderful game, that was well worth every Yen. Thanks to the developers for doing innovative things in a perfect setting.

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Post scriptum: After finishing this game I also tried Evo Explores, a clone of Monument Valley. The difference cannot be more stunning: Evo Explores is mostly repetitive, with a focus on an irrelevant story, simple graphics, and riddles that miss the ingenuity of the original.

4 Responses

  1. Jonathan says:

    I’ve loved the 5-10 minutes I’ve put into Monument Valley so far, and anticipate more time with it in the future. Thanks for writing about it. Your last point is particularly interesting to me. I wrote about Minecraft in 2011 and I got a lot of responses like “you should use minetest instead”: a free software clone that seems to miss the point/heart of the original entirely. A great technical achievement, though, no doubt about *that*.

    • Thanks Jonathan for your comment. I had a similar experience with Civilization, but my guess is that I never played the open source version long enough. But the graphics were always under par (when I played), and at the end the visual part plays an important role.

      • Jonathan says:

        Oh my goodness, yes. I hesitate to lambast FreeCiv *too* much, because I know a lot of people have poured a lot of time into it, but WOW it’s painful to sit down and fire up as a (free)civ beginner. “Civilization Revolution” on iOS is my favourite modern Civ for pick-up-and-play.

  2. tom says:

    You might also consider “80 days”, but it’s text-based;

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