Residing somewhere between art and gameplay, the new iOS iPad title Monument Valley by ustwo is the sort of creation which reminds us the confines of linear gameplay isn’t necessarily a bad thing when an itch for casual gaming arises. Beautifully rendered M.C. Escher-inspired levels literally turn a player’s world upside down, requiring experimentation by pushing and pulling architectural elements to help navigate the silent white-capped princess protagonist, Ida, across an array of optical illusion pathways and staircases, all painted in a soothing spectrum of graduated color palettes. An atmospheric symphony of sound effects is a secondary, but equally important element of the Monument Valley experience. Informative sounds reward player touch-exploration, with each manipulation augmenting the immersive experience of the the game’s world.
The overall experience offers an interesting dichotomy, with one part of the mind relaxed by Monument Valley‘s serene otherworldliness, with other sections of the brain perpetually challenged by the Rubik’s Cube level puzzles unfolding throughout Ida’s journey. If the minimalist and the surreal pique your interest, the $3.99 for Monument Valley is a modest fee to enter a unique realm of exploration via iPad.