Usually here at Freshome we don’t write about Iphone / Ipad games, but today we’ll make an exception because we found a game that every architect or design lover should play. Monument Valley is a brand new game for iPhone and iPad that launched on the App Store last week and it turns out that we absolutely love it and we had to write about it. The game puts you in control of a tiny avatar named Ida, who you move through various temples and castles, each with its own uniquely impossible construction. Viewed from a fixed isometric perspective, the buildings conceal all sorts of perspectival trickery, like staircases that lead upward to corridors below them. In addition to controlling Ida, you also control the buildings, raising platforms and pillars and spinning corridors into place.
The game grew from a piece of concept art created early last year by Ken Wong, an art director at Ustwo. The isometric view, he says, “makes the game more about the architecture and less about the character.” Indeed, while Ida provides an excuse to move from place to place, the main attractions are the monuments–ingenious creations that fit together with satisfying precision, rendered in an attractively simple visual style.
The puzzles in this game are logical once you get the hang of the premise, and the touch to walk experience makes it simple to control and play. This is a game about making you scratch your head, only to realise that the answer is staring you in the face all along. By moving one piece of the world in front of you, the mind-bending properties of the patterns reveal themselves and the puzzle can be solved.
The eureka moments that pepper each of the ten levels are always accompanied by a warm smile, and even though you’ll finish everything within an hour or so, it’s an experience that lingers in the very best way.
Finally the Monument Valley experience is very well put together, a surreal exploration through fantastical architecture and impossible geometry, soundtracked by a dreamy mesmerising score. Whether you are new to games or an old hand, Monument Valley is a pleasure to play and you’ll relish and enjoy every brief fleeting moment.
The game was released Thursday, April 3, and goes for $3.99 in the App Store. An Android version is on the way. If you think that $3.99 is a lot for a game we can tell you that those $3,99 were the best money we ever spent on an Iphone game. You can watch the launch trailer below for a look at the game’s puzzles and visual style.