We’re not huge app users when it comes to games. Sure, we dabbled in sudoku back in the day and inevitably dipped our toe in the world of those Angry Birds initially, but most of them just don’t hold our attention. Oh. Except for Words with Friends. I’m playing that as I type, actually.
Every now and then though, a game comes along that seems to buck the system, proving that elegant, innovative design can exist in the app world. Case in point—last year’s spookily brilliant Year Walk from Simogo games. We wrote that up when it came on the scene and it absolutely blew us away with its eerily inventive design.
Now another game’s come along in the same vein, marrying beautifully rendered artwork with refreshingly original ideas. Monument Valley is created by digital user interface design studio, ustwo, based in New York, London, and Malmö. The game has you guiding your avatar, Ida, through a geometrically impossible world reminiscent of MC Escher’s work and filled with strange crow-like figures that are oddly reminiscent of goth kids hanging out by the Orange Julius at the mall. From ustwo:
“In Monument Valley you will manipulate impossible architecture and guide a silent princess through a stunningly beautiful world. Monument Valley is a surreal exploration through fantastical architecture and impossible geometry. Guide the silent princess Ida through mysterious monuments, uncovering hidden paths, unfolding optical illusions and outsmarting the enigmatic Crow People.”
The game is truly stunning in its look and the controls are to it are intuitively sophisticated, pretty much covering all the bases with a tutorial at the onset of the game that lasts all of five seconds. The oddly placed stairwells and impossible geometry of the game is clearly the most notable aspect of it and central to the user’s navigation, but one of the most enjoyable aspects to the game for me was the overall aesthetic. Bright colors, well-thought-out patterns and geometric shapes, beautifully done titles, and chime-like, soothing music in the background paired with in-game sound effects all pull you in and provide a relaxingly fun experience for players.
Overall, I really loved this game and highly recommend it. It’s not the deepest—I probably got through the entire thing in a total of a couple hours—but the quality of the experience makes it well worth the $3.99 price. Monument valley is available for iOS users via iTunes and, as of last week, can be bought for Android via Google Play.
You can see a game trailer from ustwo along with some of our in-game screenshots below.