Monument Valley's Forgotten Shores: Quick Fun (and Controversy)

Back in April, I wrote a glowing review of ustwo’s Monument Valley game for iOS, and as of November 12th, we have eight lovely new levels to enjoy! The new chapters, subtitled “Forgotten Shores,” are available as a $1.99 in-app purchase within the original game, and they’re just as awesome.

As with the original, you tap to move your character around a series of dynamic worlds, interacting with objects and rooms that are oriented in all sorts of different, mind-bending ways.

At times, you’ll need to rotate items and even the entire on-screen world to progress. I so want to avoid using M. C. Escher’s art as a comparison again, guys, but it’s just inescapable. This game is a beautiful, colorful Escher painting come to life. 

My very favorite part is how atmospheric and soothing the soundtrack is. I often mute games with background music (I know! Crazy, right?), as it can be distracting for me, but this is one title that I wouldn’t consider doing that with. (And you can check out what I mean by listening to samples of music from the original levels.)

This screenshot has nothing to do with the soundtrack I was talking about. I just like the image, so there. 

As an aside, the fact that the additional levels are not free enraged enough people that it caused a bit of a kerfuffle on the App Store. Tons of users decided to give one-star reviews to Monument Valley expressing their displeasure, but Apple has apparently removed the majority of those—the app’s rating is back up to almost five stars.

I have a hard time understanding why people would begrudge app developers $2 for more than six months of work, especially for such an amazing game, but I think that’s why high-quality content is becoming more difficult to find on the App Store these days. It’s easier to nickel-and-dime your players to death with attempting to sell “hints” and “coins” and the like than it is to get paid outright for the content you provide. If those are the kinds of reactions we as players have to paying the developers, then I think we may just deserve the low-quality games we’ve been getting. 

OK, rant over, and now back to the review. Ahem. 

I didn’t find “Forgotten Shores” to be incredibly difficult or long (it took me about 45 minutes to finish its eight levels, compared to 90 minutes for the first ten), but I still believe this game is one of the very best iOS titles ever produced. Clever, intriguing, and just plain beautiful, “Forgotten Shores” is highly recommended. You’ll enjoy playing the new levels, I promise, and I also promise that I’ll go sip some tea and forget about my angst toward the one-star review situation. It’s gonna take a lot of tea, though.