Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Watchlist: Monument Valley

Title: Monument Valley
Developer: Ustwo Games
Platforms: IOS Universal
A game about beautiful impossibility
I was lucky enough to get into the Testflight beta for Monument Valley and after playing through the current beta, I have to say that no game I've played has offered such satisfying and fun perspective-twisting mechanics since Fez. Set in an abstract world of a long lost civilization, you traverse these isometric environments, solving puzzles and slowly unraveling the mysterious fate of those who resided there before. While the minimalist art and Escher-esque environments are always pleasing to explore. what truly makes Monument Valley shine are its mechanics. Each chapter offers a new twist of the perspective-shifting and spatial manipulation, from levels where you can rotate the entire level and transition from floors to walking across walls to the Box, a nesting doll-style environment where you flip open different sides of the box to reveal different puzzles and areas. Some levels you need to manipulate enemies to activate switches, other levels you're moving a pillar to bridge impossible gaps.
While the developers hope to eventually bring Monument Valley to Android and PC, currently it's only set to release on IOS and honestly I feel Monument Valley without a touchscreen would diminish the experience. There's something quite satisfying and tactile in moving portions of the level around, dragging sections to complete illusions, and other functions that could only be accomplished with a touchscreen. Monument Valley will release some time in 2014. You can follow the game's progress on the development blog.

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