Monument Valley (US$3.99; compatible with the iPhone 4+, iPad, and iPod touch) is an unusually lovely, entertaining iOS game. It’s been getting all sorts of accolades—deservedly so, in my opinion—and it’s even been named an App Store Editors’ Choice, with the huge in-store banner to prove it. (Boy, I’ll bet that made the developers squeal like schoolgirls.)
The gameplay is simple. You touch the screen to move a character around various puzzles, and in many cases, you can manipulate in-world objects to get to places that seem inaccessible.
It doesn’t have a ton of story, but what there is is endearing and fun.
So what makes Monument Valley so cool and different? The game’s been compared to an M. C. Escher painting, and that’s quite apt. You’ll manipulate staircases into different planes to get where you’re going; you’ll walk around Möbius-strip paths; your poor brain will be forced to ignore (or use!) illusions to advance in the game. I wouldn’t call the puzzles difficult, necessarily, but they’re engaging. If you enjoy games like “The Room,” I'll bet you'll like this one, too.
My only complaint about Monument Valley is that it seemed so short (around 90 minutes of gameplay for me). Even with that, I found it well worth the $3.99, and I honestly think this is one of the most memorable iOS gaming experiences I’ve had. Thank goodness that the developer, ustwo, has stated on their blog that they’ll be releasing more levels in the future. Guys and gals, if you could get right on that—like, now—I’d appreciate it.