This week’s Mobile Game You Mighta Missed is a new release, Monument Valley, which surprised the world during its announcement at Apple’s WWDC. Like it’s predecessor, Monument Valley 2 offers an astoundingly artful descent into optical illusion-based puzzle-solving, while subtlety tugging at your heartstrings.
Hunting for a great mobile game is no easy task. For us New Yorkers, a good chunk of our day is spent on the train, commuting in a smelly metal tube that practically begs you to distract yourself. You also have to be realistic, because unless you’re getting a port of an already existing console game, mobile gaming, for the most part, operates with a different mindset in mind – building a steady stream of revenue. With that in mind, each week that I’ve been reviewing a mobile game, I’ve really tried to look at the overall experience and the entertainment value of each game – really trying to determine if the core of the game is worth investing your time in.
Monument Valley 2 is, without question, the most complete and near-perfect mobile game I have ever played. I am absolutely a sucker for great visual design, and this game is hands-down the most beautiful game available on iOS. There is an in-game screenshot feature, and I found myself constantly taking screenshots of the levels, which are MC Esher-esque buildings and fragments, meant to be manipulated in a way that would be visually impossible in a physical form. The simplistic style is complemented by an extremely dynamic color pallet, which morphs and changes with the emotional context of the story. At times it can be stark, and practically black and white, at the next moment it can be blooming with brilliant neon colors. There are also many visual metaphors within the levels that refer to what is happening in the storyline.
Speaking of storyline, Monument Valley 2 – unexpectedly – really gripped me. Without spoiling too much, the story revolves around a mother and child, both with a sense of duty. Very quickly in the game, I was blindsided with the #feels – a feat that only a port has been able to do to me on mobile. The story itself is given to you in small nuances and gestures, with some dialogue and text at times. It is a very simple, yet captivating story, and worth the investment.
The puzzles themselves are just as compelling as the visuals. Each level usually has a few puzzles to solve, all relying on bending the way we see forms and finding a solution based on optical illusions. Honestly, it is incredible how fluid and seamless manipulating the puzzles are while working on them. While they are not necessarily the most mind-meltingly difficult puzzles out there, they are challenging and thought provoking. That being said, I found the puzzles to actually be really relaxing and enjoyable, instead of being frustrating and annoying.
One of the things that helped with that zen feeling while playing the game was the soundtrack. Seriously, wear headphones while playing this game because the sounds are absolutely incredible. Moving a platform or turning a cog will also trigger a short melody that blends into the rest of the soundtrack, giving the act of solving each puzzle a very engrossed feeling. Everything blends together so incredibly beautifully, creating such an engrossing experience.
Do not miss out on Monument Valley 2, which is hands down the best mobile game I’ve played this year.