This review may seem like a bit of a cheat, as I have already raved about the Monument Valley app. I suppose my impression of its additional levels, otherwise known as “Forgotten Shores,” could differ from my opinion of its original version, but it most certainly does not, and I am not alone in my excitement.
I was thrilled to see that ustwo, the creators of Monument Valley, had added more fascinating chapters to their already wildly popular app, and those additions are as beautiful, creative, and challenging as the ones that went before.
A princess moves through incredible Escher-inspired landscapes, forcing us to abandon what we know about mathematics and physics, in order to get her to her final destination.
If you haven’t gathered by now, Monument Valley is one of my favorite apps, and it (albeit narrowly) beats The Room series for me as best app of 2014.
Both young and old need to get this app, and if you’ve already experienced the wonders of the first chapters, then download the additional levels, pronto.
How it works
You really aren’t given much help, but again, if you’re familiar with the original game, you’ll jump right back in again. If not, don’t worry – you’ll work it out. Your character is Princess Ida, a wee person with a pointed hat that has to be moved around strange worlds in order to get to specific places so you can complete levels.
You move her by tapping positions ahead of, or behind her. When it’s somewhere she can go, she’ll start heading in that direction. If it isn’t, you have to find ways to manipulate her walkways so the path becomes available.
Look for raised shapes, that when stood upon, reveal hidden levers, or move pieces of buildings, bridges and the height of waterfalls. Yellow blocks may also appear that can hold down buttons to assist the princess in her quest, or transport her to high places that she could not otherwise reach.
As you move through the levels, you may have to adjust your vision somewhat, going along paths that twist upside down, sideways, and at angles totally contrary to the norm. Along the way you’ll encounter crows that block your advance. Are they friend or foe? It’s hard to tell, but in the meantime, you must find a way to circumvent them in order to reach the next doorway.
To finish each level, you have to get to a particular point, when the princess will remove her hat, and a shape rises into the air before her. You will then be told that the level is complete, and you tap the screen to close it and open the next one.
There is what appears to be a higher being, who shows up from time to time, giving advice. Don’t worry if you don’t really get what’s being said (says the person who doesn’t), as it seems pretty cryptic at times. It will not affect your enjoyment of the game in any way.
The app offers no hints or cheats – you’re on your own – but if you really get stuck, you can look to YouTube, where others who have gone before show you how to solve each level, step by step.
I would urge you, however, if you get stuck, to leave it for a while, and come back with fresh eyes. It’s amazing what clues will reveal themselves if you take a break. You will also probably regret it if you see the solution, as you can’t un-see it. The fun of this game, and what makes it so fantastic, is how it challenges you to think.
When I played it
I had loved the original (as is obvious) and the additional levels did not disappoint. Although my familiarity with Monument Valley made this expansion pack much easier for me to use, and allowed me to easily utilize levers and buttons, it was by no means a cakewalk. Each landscape is a work of art, and the graphics are as fascinating as the puzzles themselves.
Another interesting note: at the same time that I was making my way through Forgotten Shores, I was binge-watching the critically acclaimed third season of “House of Cards,” with Kevin Spacey as Francis J. Underwood, now the president of the United States. Suddenly I saw Monument Valley pop up on his tablet screen, and not just that – he made reference to the app as part of that particular episode’s story. That placement, not to mention cavalcades of critical acclaim and heaps of awards, has taken this app from being very successful, right into the stratosphere.
I wanted to make the experience last, but I couldn’t help myself – I finished all the levels as quickly as I could, and then wished I could start them all over again. I really hope the creators get on another expansion pack tout suite.
Do I really need to say more? What will it take to convince you to try Monument Valley if you haven’t already?
The original game costs $3.99 and the extra levels – Forgotten Shores – are $1.99 extra. There are no in-app purchases to think about, so once you’ve paid out that less-than-$6 amount, you can simply immerse yourself in the incredible world of Monument Valley.
Extraordinary design. Immensely entertaining. Challenging puzzles.
I want more levels!