Monument Valley Articles RSS Feed | Monument Valley RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Love Monument Valley? Here are 7 iOS Games with a Similar Aesthetic Sun, 26 Nov 2017 12:39:45 -0500 Lauren Harris

Monument Valley was a puzzle game with a beautiful aesthetic that set the tone for a more personal experience. It had a touching story, and the game's puzzles were always interesting to solve -- the game always felt like it had a purpose.

If you're looking to scratch that Monument Valley itch, here are a few games that might do the trick.

Two Dots

Two Dots has a similar aesthetic to Monument Valley with its beautiful design and colorful puzzles. Even though all players need to do is to connect dots together, the puzzles become harder as you get farther along in the game. If you've played Dots then you’ll really enjoy Two Dots.

Download Two Dots on iTunes.

Price: Free

Lonely Sun

Lonely Sun is an interesting game that's about bringing the environment together. The player has to go through hand-crafted levels on five different planets, each with amazing visuals and their own unique dangers.

The game focuses on life and the hurdles you'll face to get to where you want to goIn that sense, Lonely Suns is similar to Monument Valley because both games are about dealing with your own personal feelings and overcoming obstacles that we deal with everyday. Lonely Suns teaches you that patience is key to greatness -- creating a beautiful solar system won't just happen overnight.

Download Lonely Suns from iTunes.

Price: $1.99

Lunar Flowers

Lunar Flowers is an atmospheric puzzle game that possesses the same stunning visual quality that Monument Valley has, making it an absolute pleasure to solve many of the game's brain teasers. The game seems to admire and appreciate beauty, giving it a feeling of mystery and peacefulness.

Download the game on iTunes.

Price: Free

Lara Croft GO

Tomb Raider might be the last thing on your mind when you're thinking of games similar to Monument Valley, but this iOS turn-based puzzle game bears many resemblances. Like Monument ValleyLara Craft GO combines puzzle-solving and exploration in order to create a world you want to learn more about -- and you can do just that in Lara Croft GO by unlocking ancient artifacts and relics.

Download Lara Craft GO from iTunes.

Price: $4.99


This fun and relaxing puzzle game by Martin Magni is about a tiny robot that you must help guide through fifty puzzle dioramas. Like Monument ValleyMekorama is centered around architecture and physics, where the player can use physics and building blocks to maneuver their tiny robot through the puzzles.

Download Mekorama from iTunes.

Price: Free

Dream Machine: The Game

Dream Machine is a beautiful puzzle game that has the player escaping from a cold factory in order to free themselves into a fantasy world. Like Monument Valley, the colors and the art create a wonderful atmosphere, making the hand-crafted levels a joy to explore.

Download Dream Machine: The Game from iTunes.

Price: $1.99

Ghosts of Memories

Last but not least, Ghosts of Memories is a an adventure puzzle game with 21 levels spread out across 6 different worlds. Just like in Monument Valley, the player will travel and uncover different paths and solve mysterious puzzles to progress in this game.

Ghosts of Memories creates breathtaking landscapes by combining beautiful 2D artwork in a 3D environment which goes a long way in capturing the mood and atmosphere of the worlds traveled.

Download Ghosts of Memories from iTunes.

Price: $0.99


Although these seven games aren't exactly like Monument Valley, they all share a similar tone or geometric aesthetic that Monument Valley is so well-known for. They all consist of puzzle solving and exploration (usually through ruins), and the beautiful visuals of all the games are matched only by their stories.

Do you know of any other games like Monument Valley? Let us know by leaving a comment!

10 Bands Who Need to Compose a Game Soundtrack Wed, 22 Apr 2015 20:34:55 -0400 The Soapbox Lord


What do you think about my crazy ideas? Which of your favorite bands would you like to see work on a game soundtrack? Let me know in the comments below! 

The Pogues with Shane MacGowan

As much as I enjoy Flogging Molly, The Dropkick Murphys, and other Irish/Celtic punk bands, there is no topping The Pogues, especially with Shane MacGowan on vocals. Along with fiendishly clever lyrics laden with black humor, The Pogues also had a knack for taking traditional Irish music and reformatting the folk songs to fit their punk sound, making the old new again. Look no further for your Irish punk fix!

Dream Game:

An interactive, multiplayer drinking game. I know you didn't see that one coming.


Like their namesake, Mastodon is a mammoth in the metal world. Despite only being around for 15 years, the band has racked up countless awards and success for their music. Starting out as sludge metal, the band has added progressive elements, which make for one trippy and fantastic live performance. Known for immaculate musicianship, jaw-dropping drumming skills, and killer solos, Mastodon has become a fan favorite and metal mainstay.

Dream Game:

Their more progressive songs would be a great fit for the Escher visuals of Monument Valley or Antichamber. For their heavier stuff, a new Painkiller or Bulletstorm with Mastodon doing music duties would be pretty damn great. 

Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman

Nothing quite says over-the-top like Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell album series. However, many people fail to recognize the massive influence Jim Steinman had on the two Bat out of Hell albums he composed. Meat Loaf encapsulates grandiose and overblown at its best, and the music is glorious for it. No one else could pull off performances like Meat Loaf does or the compositions Steinman effortlessly unleashed upon the world. Given the overblown nature of some games, they are practically begging for collaboration with these two.

Dream Game:

Racing along at breakneck speeds, causing vehicular mayhem and crashes in Burnout while Meat Loaf blares over the speakers would be a suitable match. Honestly though, is there anything Meat Loaf does not go well with?


While Weezer’s newest album was a solid return to form, they have made some lackluster ones lately as well. As solid as any new albums may be, sadly, Weezer will never be as great as their peak as they were with Blue and Pinkerton. Blue was a masterwork of alternative power pop. With introspective and honest lyrics of being nerds, being rejected, and dealing with an alcoholic, Blue was a welcome departure from self-obsessed music at the time.


For the follow up to the catchy, hook-filled Blue, Rivers Coumo went into self-imposed isolation and poured his being and soul into music. The result was Pinkerton, a startlingly, and at times, disturbingly honest release filled with anguish and loathing. Needless to say, the album was reviled upon release. Rivers went into a deep depression and subsequent Weezer releases returned more to the sound of the Blue album. In the following years, fans and critics realized the masterwork of Pinkerton and have clamored for a return to the sound.

Dream Game:

Titles full of teen angst such as Life is Strange and Gone Home would be a perfect fit for the Weezer of yesteryear. 

The Big 4 and Exodus

Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax are the bands commonly referred to as The Big Four. The Big Four are known for pioneering thrash metal and bringing it into the limelight. Although Exodus is not considered to be a part of The Big Four, they deserve to be recognized with the rest for their work in the genre. Do I really need to explain why having these bands working on a soundtrack would be amazing?

Dream Game:

Let them have a crack at Devil May Cry and watch the sparks fly. Very metal indeed.    \\m/


I’ll be honest; Needtobreathe is on here simply because Bear Rinehart singing in a game would be bliss. Seriously, this guy is insanely talented with one of the most passionate and soulful voices around. I had the privilege to see this band perform live not long ago, and I was blown away. While Bear’s vocals are great, the entire band comes together to create a beautiful harmony which is heaven for your ears. This is a band you want to see live if you possibly can.

Dream Game:

Let these guys make some vocal tracks like Darren Korb and Ashley Barrett did on Transistor, and you have a match made in musical heaven. Maybe even put Darren working with these guys since Bastion had such strong country, frontier-like sounds. I’m drooling just imagining the possibilities. 

Devin Townsend 

Devin Townsend is one of the hardest working and talented people in music today (not to mention possessing one of the best set of vocals cords around). Devin formed the beloved Canadian extreme metal band Strapping Young Lad way back in 1994. Despite being a hugely influential metal band, Devin also did solo work on the side which was vastly different from SYL’s catalog. When SYL disbanded in 2007, Devin began working on his solo career in earnest and has released nine albums since, on top of producing, remixing, and working on countless other albums. Thankfully, he shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.


The most striking thing is how varied his catalog is. His work with SYL sounds completely different from his solo work. However, even his solo work is incredibly varied.

Dream Game:

His album Ghost would be the perfect fit for a zen-like puzzle game, whereas Deconstruction would be right at home being the soundtrack to a gonzo, over-the-top action affair like Bayonetta

Modest Mouse 

Modest Mouse remains one of the quirkiest and interesting bands in independent music 22 years into the game. After 22 years, vocalist Isaac Brock still possesses a remarkable energy with a delivery few others can match. Besides having a unique vocalist with Brock, Modest Mouse has also embodied quirky with their music. While they are classified as indie rock, there is no other band that does what Modest Mouse pulls off effortlessly. Couple unique rhythms and sounds with thought-provoking and usually less-than-sunny lyrics, and you have an exceptional musical cocktail.

Dream Game:

Pair this band with the demented geniuses at Dejobaan Games and you have a winner!


Sweden has proved to be a most fertile land for metal. At The Gates, In Flames, and Dark Tranquility are only a few of the legendary bands Sweden has given rise to over the years. In fact, these three bands were pioneers of a new style of metal called the “The Gothenburg Sound” which was named after the city where these bands were living when they became noticed.


Unlike their melodic counterparts, Meshuggah is about as far from melodic as it gets. Known for their odd time signatures, rapid tempo changes, and jazz fusion elements, Meshuggah has stayed true to their roots and delivered uncompromising, extreme metal on each of their releases. A gargantuan beast in the underground world, Meshuggah is not for the faint of ears.

Dream Game:

They could make one hell of a soundtrack for a precision platformer. Meshuggah + Super Meat Boy!

The Sex Pistols 

While The Sex Pistols are not the only punk band nor are the necessarily the progenitors of the "punk" sound, but The Sex Pistols were perhaps punk personified. We are talking about a band from the U.K. who wrote a song ragging on THE Queen. They also refused to attend their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Not only did their music tap into a vein of anger, the band themselves embodied the rebellious, punk spirit (as self-destructive as it was). The band only recorded one album, but that one album has proven to be one of the most influential albums not only in rock and punk, but music as a whole. 

Dream Game: 

The punk world of Sunset Overdrive would have been a perfect match for The Sex Pistols. 


Game music has seen a wonderful evolution along with video games themselves. From the simple polyphonic scores of the NES to the fully-orchestrated works we have today, game soundtracks have evolved as much as games. There are an innumerable amount of talented composers working to produce lovely soundtracks. While I love the music we have now and the works composers produce, I can't help but wish some of my favorite bands would score or contribute to some game soundtracks as well. Stewart Copeland has worked on the Spyro series; so why don't more bands give it a shot?


As with all lists, it's hard to narrow down candidates (especially when you listen to as music as I do), so I tried to focus on the bands who might deliver something special and unique. Are you ready to go down the rabbit hole of dreams?

BAFTA Game Awards 2015: The Winners Thu, 19 Mar 2015 18:20:49 -0400 JaydenKieran

Last Thursday (12th March) was the 2015 BAFTA Game Awards, hosted over at Tobacco Dock within the city of London, UK. It was a night of glamor for members of the gaming industry, with game developers, artists, voice actors and fans coming together from across the world to a spectacular event hosted by the brilliant Rufus Hound.

In this article, we'll be reviewing the winners from each award category.

Artistic Achievement

Out of HohokumValiant HeartsMonument ValleyFar Cry 4AC: Unity and Lumino City, it was clear what the winner of this award would be. You guessed it - Lumino City. The game is just brilliantly beautiful. Difficult at times, this puzzle adventure game uses its art to create a smooth experience for the player.

Join us as we learn more about how Lumino City was created.

Game Innovation

The Game Innovation award went to The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, and for very good reason. Now, I don't usually like horror games, but this game is on point. Its first person, story driven, and well... the storyline is just amazing. You play as a detective called Paul who receives a letter from a boy in danger (who happens to be called Ethan Carter), who later goes missing. Paul, with his ability to communicate with the dead, travels through the world of Red Creek Valley to determine the fate of the missing boy.

Read our official review of The Vanishing of Ethan Carter.

Audio Achievement

It's common knowledge that every game needs good audio. We want them to not only be visually appealing, we also want them to be appealing to our ears. The game that won this award nailed that. Alien: Isolation, a horror stealth game which takes place 15 years after the events of the film Alien, and uses original recordings and audio from the actual movie. The audio of Alien: Isolation is not just immersive - it takes you into a whole new realm. It is definitely a worthy winner for such an award. This video by GameSpot shows just how carefully crafted Alien: Isolation's sound engine is.

Take a look at Menachem Rephun's review of Alien: Isolation.

Best British Game and Mobile & Handheld

Funky graphics reminiscent of Fez and great sound design are both features in the winner of these two categories, Monument Valley. Developed over the course of just ten months, Monument Valley keeps you hooked on finishing its puzzles and seeing through its illusions. While the game's length and difficulty isn't a particular strong point, its ability to keep your eyes focused on your iPad screen is just brilliant. It was named as Apple's best iPad game of 2014, and by January this year, it managed to sell a whopping two million copies.

Rich Kovarovic wrote this lovely review of the game.


Heroes of Warcraft, rejoice! Yes, the winner of the best multiplayer game award is Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, a card strategy game developed by Blizzard Entertainment. The concept is simple: take the game World of Warcraft, put the heroes and adventurers from that game into a trading card game, call it 'Hearthstone' and you've got a hit. While it may be a simple idea, its brilliance and ability to evolve with new card sets and expansions make the best multiplayer game of recent years. Even those without experience of playing games like Magic: The Gathering will still get a kick out of this wonderful delight.

Unepitaphed becomes "enthralled by the Hearthstone" in his review.


We could say that Alien: Isolation is worthy of this award, but the crown was stolen from none other than Far Cry 4. Cliff Martinez, Tony Gronick, Jerome Angelot pulled out all the stops to make a brilliant soundtrack for such a great new entry into the Far Cry franchise. There's not much to say other than the work of these three individuals within this game is truly astounding.

Take a peek at our official review of Far Cry 4.


Every video game needs good voice actors and mo-cap to be a pleasant experience for the player - and that's what this award is all about. The winner is most known for her voice acting role in Disney's animated TV series 'Recess' as Gretchen Grundler, but in recent times has gone on to be the voice of a character from one of the 'greatest video games of all time'. Her name is Ashley Johnson, and she provided the voice and motion capture for Ellie from The Last of Us (and its DLC 'Left Behind'). She is truly deserving of this award and upon accepting it, gave the most emotional speech of the night:

I feel so lucky I got to play Ellie. I'm so proud I got to play a strong female character who isn't sexualized, or a damsel in distress, or even the opposite of that. Ellie is vulnerable and she's kind and she's loyal and she's the girl who probably wouldn't have fit in at school. And at times she was also allowed to be scared. This is for the tomboys, and the misfits, and the weirdos, and the outcasts, and the ones who didn't really fit in. You can sit at my table. Live long and prosper.

See our article on Ellie's impact as a female character.


I may as well just come out with it now. The Last of Us: Left Behind was the winner of this award, and rightfully so. The main story of Left Behind is set three weeks before the main game. It follows Ellie and her friend Riley before Ellie had met Joel. Riley reveals she became a firefly and the pair spend the last moments they are allowed to have together by dancing and having fun. It didn't last too long and soon we are hooked to a side of Ellie we had never experienced before.


I know what you're thinking. You expect the winner of this particular category to be FIFA, or any other kind of EA Sports game, right? Surprisingly not. Skateboarding game OlliOlli took the crown, a game originally released for the PlayStation Vita. The game follows a very simple control scheming, with only a few buttons actually being needed to play the game to its full extent. The aim is to perform tricks and try to land perfectly without being a complete skateboarding failure. Not my kind of game, but hey, neither is any sport game.

Check out an article we wrote about OlliOlli before its release.


It's time for the game that has had everyone hyped for the last few years. It's strangely addictive, and we're not sure when people will stop making a fuss about it, although Microsoft seem to have big plans after they recently acquired it. It's the game where you can get blown up by a creepy green creature that stealthily creeps up behind you, Minecraft. The game is simple, in fact, the clue is in the name. It has been a hit for a few years now with gameplay videos galore on YouTube and millions of sales. Being acquired by Microsoft means that the game has an opportunity to keep on growing. Although, Microsoft being Microsoft, it could just crash and burn. This particular award actually goes to the console editions of the game, rather than the original PC version. I suppose it's one way of expanding the community.

Ride a minecart all the way to Branden Sumerix' review of Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition.

Persistent Game

This award was won by no other than the most persistent game in the history of the universe, League of Legends. This multiplayer online battle arena game is one of the most popular in its genre, though more and more competition has started to crop up such as SMITE. League of Legends has a very large competitive scene, with $2.3 million in the prize pool last year. As Bruno Mars would put it, "Hot damn."

Is League of Legends 'just another free-to-play game'?

Original Property

What exactly is an 'original property' award? Every game is 'original property' in one way or another, right? It's got to be. Regardless, Valiant Hearts grabbed this one. Valiant Hearts takes place amidst the first World War, featuring five truly remarkable characters and their stories. You could really feel for and empathize with each character in the game. Not only that, but it's also very educational in the sense that it shows just what the war was like. It's the first time I've actually saw a game manage to capture such a horrifying historical event in a great way. If that's not 'original content', I don't know what is.

Read Endure_and_Survive's review of Valiant Hearts.

Debut Game

Never Alone is the BAFTA award winning debut game of 2015. You play as little girl Nuna and her fox companion, as you solve puzzles to progress the story. The gameplay may not be completely up to scratch, but it is satisfying nonetheless, and definitely a great game to make its debut this year.

Read our official review of Never Alone. Just don't read it... alone.

Game Design

This category had some truly brilliant contenders, from Alien: Isolation to Far Cry 4 and even Hearthstone. But in the end, the winner was, and had to be, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. I'll be honest, I've not played much of this game but it is extremely pleasing to look at. The graphics are crisp right down to the last detail and the gameplay in Middle-earth is something that I expect from every game. No other game could've competed with the design of this gorgeous game.

Sharard Ray reviewed this game on the PS3.

Ones to Watch

Potentially the trippiest game of all time, Chambara is the winner of the BAFTA Ones to Watch award, in association with Dare to Be Digital. It is a local multiplayer stealth game that only uses two colours in the entire game at any one time. The aim is to camoflauge yourself with the environment in a player versus player duel to the death! It's great fun, if anyone actually uses local multiplayer anymore.


We're almost at the end of our awards, but before we reveal the winner of the greatest BAFTA award, we must first turn our attention to the special recognition 'Fellowship' award. The winner of which, is none other than David Braben. He is the original developer of Elite, and has worked on many games as founder of Frontier Developments, such as Thrillville and Rollercoaster Tycoon. Braben has been developing games since 1982, and his first game Elite has recently celebrated its 30th anniversary. I am absolutely delighted that Braben was chosen to receive this award because he really is a remarkable man who has made such an outstanding contribution to the games industry over the last thirty years.

Best Game

You know what they say... "save the best until last". Here it is, the most prestigious BAFTA Game Award there is - best game. What game will fulfil its Destiny? Oh, sorry, bad joke. Yes, the winner of the award is Destiny, developed by Bungie. Honestly, everyone expected it. Destiny is a first person shooter game, a bit like Call of Duty except... well... its not. Of course, Bungie is the creator of the Halo franchise, and Destiny draws a lot of inspiration from it, from the characters to the classes. The game engine is brilliant and really feels like it is made for next-gen (although we could argue it should now be called 'current gen'). Downloadable content for the game is already available, with more coming this year. It was confirmed in November 2014 that Bungie will be developing a sequel to Destiny, and we're sure it will be just as good as the first!

Look at our official review of Destiny.

And that's it! Another round of game awards have been given out courtesy of the British gaming industry and the event itself was brilliant. Congratulations to all the winners and nominees! You can find highlights of the BAFTA Game Awards 2015 below.

Monument Valley Expansion Forgotten Shores Now Available Mon, 24 Nov 2014 09:49:35 -0500 Ryan Mayle

The long-awaited expansion for Monument Valley has finally been released on Google Play. Now both Android and iOS users can enjoy the Forgotten Shores expansion of Monument Valley. The game is available for $3.99 and for an additional $1.99 you can get the expansion via in-app-purchase. Forgotten Shores adds 8 new levels to the game, bringing the total up to 18. 

Monument Valley is an incredibly polished game, which has become a unique aspect for mobile gaming, but the biggest drawback of the game is its length. The original Monument Valley comes with only 10 levels, which could be beaten in one to two sittings, but now you can almost double the playtime with the new expansion.

If you haven't had the opportunity to try the game, you can purchase Monument Valley without the expansion for $3.99. It isn't your typical action-packed mobile game such as Modern Combat or Grand Theft Auto, but resembles a more peaceful adventure style of gameplay similar to Osmos or Sword and Sworcery. If you are looking to get sucked into a new game, or looking to get back into one you have played before, be sure to check out this new expansion.

Google Play


Top 5 Paid Mobile Games for iOS & Android Thu, 17 Jul 2014 09:34:44 -0400 PencilPusha

Paying for a mobile game doesn't sound like a gamer's idea of fun - unless that game is so good, it's a chart-topper! These games range from $0.99 to $6.99, which isn't bad since games for regular consoles and PC range between $20-$60. These games are definitely for players who are on a tight budget! The iTunes store and Google Play store dubbed these paid games as their top games for Apple's iPad and iPhone, as well as the Android mobile devices.

Top Google Play Games for Android

1. Minecraft: Pocket Edition - $6.99

Just like the non-pocket edition, players will build things and go on adventures in features like Survival mode and Creative mode.

2. The Game of Life - $0.99

Roll the dice and go to college...or not! Get a random job, have too many kids or none at all, and retire at the end. Sounds like real life, just a lot quicker.

3. Plants vs. Zombies - $0.99

Kill zombies with...plants? Yep. Destroy oncoming zombies with dangerous plants before they reach the house.

4. Wipeout - $1.99

There's crazy obstacles and water. Survive the specialized obstacle courses and achieve a top score on the leaderboard.

5. True Skate - $1.99

Skateboard with your fingers through a digital skatepark. Complete as many tricks as possible! Watch out, Tony Hawk...

Top iOS Games for the Apple iPhone

1. Minecraft: Pocket Edition - $6.99

Building stuff with blocks and having fun... That's why Minecraft is number one.

2. Heads Up! - $0.99

Gamers everywhere can blame Ellen DeGeneres for this one. It's like a modern-day "guess who". Guess what's on the other player's card before time runs out and win the game. The only clues are what the other player is doing or saying.

3. Monument Valley - $1.99

At first glance, this game looks like the inside of M.C. Escher's brain - if he were a game developer. The iTunes store describes it best: "Guide the silent princess Ida through mysterious monuments, uncovering hidden paths, unfolding optical illusions and outsmarting the enigmatic Crow People."

4. Blek - $0.99

It's a puzzle game that "can't be described with words", according to iTunes. Luckily, there's a trailer that can. This game is for those who enjoy a good puzzle or two.

5. Buddyman: Kick (by Kick the Buddy) - $0.99

Play as Buddyman and be a hero. Dress Buddyman in wacky costumes and destroy enemies.

Top iOS Games for the Apple iPad

1. Minecraft: Pocket Edition - $6.99

Players build their own world. It's the most popular creation game on mobile devices!

2. Blek - $0.99

It's a popular puzzle game where players can draw lines that never stop. Strategically-placed spheres are the only obstacles to overcome or obliterate.

3. Monument Valley - $1.99

M.C. Escher's probably itching to come back from the grave just to play this game. Lead the small girl through complex paths of paradox staircases and more.

4. Spongebob Moves In - $3.99

For Spongebob fans everywhere! Keep the residents of Bikini Bottom happy by making sure everything is running smoothly.

5. Heads Up! - $0.99

Ellen DeGeneres strikes again...with cards. Guess what the other player's card says by interpreting their actions.


For more information on these games, check out iTunes and Google Play.

Note: All of these results were from July 15, 2014. These results are subject to change at any time.

Monument Valley Review: Under the Moon and Beside the Waves Sun, 15 Jun 2014 14:55:02 -0400 Rich Kovarovic

In the mass of stress and rage inducing mobile games, the never-ending runners and Snood clones that populate the marketplaces, beautiful, meditative games like Monument Valley have carved out their own space. In stark contrast to some of the most downloaded titles on the App Store or Google Play, ustwo’s perfect mobile title encourages you to move at a slower pace, without the threat of lost lives or progress, and without your previous high score looming over your play through. Instead, Monument Valley asks you to immerse yourself in its world as you ponder its architectural impossibilities; it asks you be present and aware.  

A Silent Princess in White

The titular valley is a place of towering, Escheresque structures, seemingly abandoned save for the crow-people that pace back and forth and perch themselves on ledges. As Ida, a silent princess in white, you must navigate the “sacred geometry” of this pastel world in the name of forgiveness.  , the game is light on traditional narrative, choosing to tell the bulk of its fable-like story through seemingly cryptic level titles and the initially mysterious words of a behatted blue spectral character found hiding in a handful of levels. The levels themselves contain some environmental clues pertaining to the valley itself, and the puzzle pieces you’re given can be put together if you pay close enough attention. And while there is a story to found in among the antiquated spires and arches, Monument Valley concerns itself more with delivering an experience carried by the sights, sounds, and the atmosphere of the valley itself.  

The Sacred Geometry

Each of the levels is comprised of either a single or grouping of structures, spanning one or more screens, with the goal usually being to climb up. You tap the screen, and Ida moves to the desired point, if reachable. The architecture, which is daunting and illogical at first, with it’s upside down staircases and dead-ends, can all be altered to allow Ida to reach places that seem impossible through changes in perspective.

Monument Valley doesn’t seem overly concerned with making you feel smart through your ability to solve its puzzles; instead one finishes each level amazed at how a tiny structural shift or a change in an angle can alter the entire landscape. 

This is the “sacred geometry;” the geometric illusion and the ability to alter the way a level is perceived to the eye. Gears are turned to rotate pieces of the various structures, chunks slide horizontally and vertically, and buttons are pressed that activate dramatic architectural alterations. Eventually entire monuments rotate, allowing staircases and paths that had huge gaps in them to connect and create a walkway that didn’t exist seconds before.

The various mechanisms for architectural manipulation are introduced at a gradual pace over the course of the game’s 10 levels, gently increasing the difficulty and complexity of the puzzles. The single-screen starting puzzle, with one gear to rotate, eventually leads to vertical and horizontal challenges that involve the turning of entire monuments, or multi-room, interactive puzzle boxes for Ida to unlock.

Ultimately the monuments, while being initially both simultaneously intimidating and wondrous, aren’t very difficult the traverse. Monument Valley doesn’t seem overly concerned with making you feel smart through your ability to solve its puzzles; instead one finishes each level amazed at how a tiny structural shifts or a change in an angle can alter the entire landscape. Perhaps in this sense Monument Valley encourages the player to think less about how they can make their way through each level, but more how can they transform the level itself in ways that make it accessible and navigable. It asks us to consider how we make our way through this world and the impossible places it puts us, through our understanding of and our limited ability to control the complex and beautiful environment.

The Wind and the Waves

The impressiveness of the inventive level design couples with a gorgeous sense of aesthetic, with each level acting as part of an interconnected gallery of living paintings. Clear attention has been given to the color scheme for each section, differentiating them from the next and making each location even more unique than the last. The game’s warm and vibrant pastels are incredibly pleasing, and complimented by its outstanding use of ambient, peaceful sounds and calming, unobtrusive music. your journey through Monument Valley, you may find yourself under a crescent moon that’s sliced its way through a plum night’s sky, or high above the jagged waves, beside red towers topped with onion domes and adorned with flags that stream in the wind. What you’ll hear is the sound of a gentle, yet constant, breeze or the sound of the surf against the sides of the structures. In darkened, subterranean rooms the walls echo with a vast sense of emptiness, and by a lily pad dotted body of water you’ll hear the soft babble of a stream. The quiet, aural calm is punctuated by the tiny tapping of Ida’s footsteps and the sound of musical instruments, gongs and strings being plucked, that chime in when the pieces of the monuments move. 

While your trip to Monument Valley may be brief, the time spent there is perfect.

The result is an overall sense of peace; playing Monument Valley is ultimately a hypnotic, meditative, and rewarding experience. The gradual and never frustrating puzzles and level design, the memorable use of appealing colors, and the soothing sounds culminate in a mental effect akin to the sensation we get through practices like guided imagery, as we think of to the places we long to inhabit at a particular moment. Monument Valley is a game that’s free from pressure, without the threat of death or the ticking of a clock counting up or down, and is about recognizing and being immersed by your surroundings, and realizing what you can control.         

While your trip to Monument Valley may be brief, the time spent there is perfect. It’s a place you visit for a couple of hours, and when you return you long not only for the puzzling geometry, but also for the sense of peace the place instilled.