Features// Games of the Year: Monument Valley

Posted 24 Dec 2014 12:30 by
It's now nearly a year since the end of last year, which means that for many whose phone operating systems use the Gregorian calendar, it's a time for reflection. Or, you know, to talk about our favourite games of 2014. We hassled some SPOnG contributors and pals until they wrote some words for us. Here's Gavin, one of SPOnG's founders...

It's been a strange year for me, one without too much playing of the games. Apart from an unhealthy addiction to Lego Marvel Superheroes on my PS4, the game I've spent most time playing has been Temple Run 2 on my iPad.

However, that's not my game of the year. Another mobile game grabbed my interest this year, one that I spent considerably less time playing, and that game was Monument Valley.

Set in a strange Escheresque world of impossible angles and twisted geometries, Monument Valley shares a central conceit with Echochrome in that if it looks like two pieces of landscape line up then you can walk across them. You can also defy gravity and walk on the walls if you can find a way onto them.

Well, I say "you" but you just guide Princess Ida - she does the walking and you just indicate where you think she should walk to. You also slide blocks, turn handles and rotate the levels where possible to open up new pathways for her to walk along.

There are few other characters, a ghostly figure with a lot to say, some crow people who caw loudly at you and the totem. Ah, the totem, never have four blocks in a pile expressed so much character.

The crows and the totem can be used to activate switches on the ground, as can Ida if she can reach them, but you have to be clever at manipulating the level to achieve this. You can also have the Totem carry Ida to places she wouldn't normally be able to reach.

If you can't tell from my description, Monument Valley is a puzzle game, and quite a short one at that. Ten levels are supplied with the game and a further eight are available in a DLC pack. iOS customers can also download a supplementary level to support Apple's Apps for (RED) charity drive.

The puzzles aren't too fiendish and the controls are very simple to pick up. However, it's such a beautiful and charming game that you get drawn into the world.

The landscapes look like they should be bustling with life, but they are long abandoned and now there are only a few crows here and there. Ida feels very much like an intruder into this strange, ancient world. The music and sound effects heighten the sombre and mysterious mood.

In a time when it often feels that we only have a choice between bombastic Call of Duty-type games or Candy Crush-like "free" to play ones, Monument Valley grabbed my attention in a good way and provided a short break from all that.

Like with 2012's Journey, it's quality that counts here, not quantity.


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Big Fan 13 Jan 2015 10:48
Awesome game and awesome review
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