The Nardio Review
Is Monument Valley Worth Your Time?
Yes if you like puzzle games.
What Should I Play It On?
Monument Valley is available on iOS, Android and Fire OS. It works perfectly on every device but the only place you can get the entire game for free (including the DLC packs) is on a Kindle thanks to the Amazon Underground program.
What Did We Think Without Spoiling It?
Monument Valley is a fun, brain-teasing puzzle game that also has pretty environments and an interesting story line. It’s a short game and there’s not really much replay value once you’ve beaten the levels, but it’s beautifully executed.
How it Plays and Why it Works
In Monument Valley you explore a surrealistic landscape by solving various puzzles in order to get the character – Princess Ida – to the next world. The story is told in bits and pieces of cryptic dialogue. You learn that Princess Ida is on a quest to be forgiven for something and it seems she has forgotten something along the way. The controls are simple. You tap to move the princess and swipe to move platforms, turn cranks or rotate the scene. As you progress the levels get longer and the puzzles get harder, but they never get too hard though I admit I handed the game over to Bernardo a couple of times because I was frustrated. The mechanics aren’t particularly new nor groundbreaking, but it’s still so much fun to see how the level interconnects with the other. One of my favorite levels is the Oubliette (this is in the expansion Forgotten Shores) where you swipe to make a tree bloom.
Everything about the game just screams polish to me. The simple, geometric levels are beautifully rendered and the sound effects and background music elevate the mood. Every level is different from the last. Heck in some levels different areas of the map offer brand new eye candy. You can’t help but stop and admire the landscape. It’s like looking at a playable piece of art.
The touch controls aren’t perfect, I did find myself tapping several times before getting Princess Ida to the right location, but it didn’t happen too often. I was easily able to overlook the occasional unresponsive tap because the overall game just sucked me in. Monument Valley is so much more than the sum of its parts. Every aspect of the game connects so well with each other that instead of playing a game you’re truly experiencing it. Plus it’s a lot of fun going through a surreal world where you can travel along seemingly impossible paths or even walk upside down. Gravity, physics and the limitations of the 3D world aren’t applicable here.
Even with the expansions, this is an incredibly short game. I would say it would take a little under 2 hours to beat everything. And because there are no achievements or unlockable levels afterwards, there’s little replay value here unless you simply want to experience the world a bit more and try to decipher more of the story. Still if you get it on Amazon you get the original 10 levels plus 8 more from the Forgotten Shores and Ida’s Dream. Thats’ 20 jaw-droppingly beautiful and clever puzzles.
The expansion doesn’t really introduce any new mechanics. Instead it expands upon ones that might have been slightly underutilized in the original game. Here you’ll get more rooms within rooms, cranks, moving platforms and buttons to open up passages. The puzzles are a little harder but you quickly get the hang of it. There’s no continuation of the story here so sadly you won’t learn more about Ida.
This is a standalone level that Ustwo released for charity. Here you solve puzzles inside of a windmill that is reminiscent of the TARDIS (it’s bigger on the inside). Again, there’s no new mechanics here, but the puzzles can be quite difficult. In fact, I would say this was harder than the original.
I suggest this game even if you have to pay into it. It’s both meditative and a mind bender.
- Available on iOS, Android and Amazon
- 277 MB
- $3.99 for base game on iOS and Android/ $1.99 for Forgotten Shores
- Free on Amazon Underground