First Impressions: Monument Valley is about a princess Ida who is on a mission exploring various monuments. Each monument is a puzzle maze where you as the player must move pieces to get Ida through each level. The game mechanics are very simple -- rotating, sliding, clicking -- and done very well, while the puzzles are still challenging and thought-provoking. Similarly, the artwork is also simple but captivating. The colors are bright, the monuments are all geometric and 3D-like, but the animations give life and movement to the geometry. The music and sound effects add a lot to the story and overall feel of the game. All the pieces and the simplicity of this game make it very intriguing and satisfying to play, and it’s a game unlike anything I’ve played before.
Going Further: Monument Valley’s is very minimalistic in every aspect. Throughout each level, there are very few words to give the player an idea of the storyline, however, most of the story is told through the artwork and solving puzzles. There are 10 levels, each getting a bit more challenging than the last and always a different type of puzzle to solve. The game plays around with optical illusions such as impossible objects that are commonly seen (edges that seem to be connected but are somehow also separate). Each level has subtle visual cues as to where Ida should go or what needs to be done in order to complete the level, such as doorways, things to turn and rotate, floor tiles that are a different color, etc. There is not much of a tutorial as the player learns how to solve each puzzle by moving and interacting with things, so if you get stuck at some point, there is no way to get help. However, none of the levels are too challenging to the point where you’ll get stuck and never be able to move on. Another interesting aspect of the game is the option to take a screenshot at any moment in the game. Once a level is completed, you can zoom in on any part of the “maze” and take a screenshot in portrait or square mode. The artwork is very simple, geometric, and I found myself taking screenshots quite often to capture this.