Monument Valley is a surreal exploration through fantastical architecture and impossible geometry. The player guides the silent princess Ida through mysterious monuments, to uncover hidden paths, unfold optical illusions and outsmart the enigmatic Crow People.
For my play journal, I decided on a puzzle game on my Iphone. This game is a deliberately slow paced game, in which the relaxed tempo and calming music, adds to this effect. It relies on optical illusions and hidden solutions to achieve the goal of moving the main character from a start point to an end point. The use of perspectives and angle changes adds to its challenging nature. There really doesn’t seem to be many rules to this game. It is a fluid experience of discovery.
In Monument Valley you are playing a girl walking around trying to maneuver around staircases, walk ways and odd crow people who want to block your path. The game design is probably the most creative and well thought out of any game I have ever played. It was more than just random trees or distracting backgrounds. Every staircase and every bridge had a purpose for being part of the puzzle. As you twist one road your perception of the entire stage changed. It is almost difficult to explain in words the creativity the designers were able to capture. Your only downfall in playing this game is not thinking far enough outside the box to complete the seemingly simple puzzles.
I choose this game because it won quite a few awards. I read that it was a very mellow and calming game play. Who doesn’t need something like that in their life? I began playing this game as I rode the light rail to work every day. It was a relaxing experience being able to play a game that is so detracting on my way to work. Previous to this, I would read the news on the light rail. Playing this game evoked a completely different emotion in me. It helped my day start off on a much different note.
Playing Monument Valley, made me think of the readings from this week. In particular the article written by Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan. This article focused on the changes that occur in people’s brains when gamers solved puzzles. While playing this game I became better at working through countless trial and error strategies. I think I would perform better than a non-gamer in finding solutions to the puzzles. If this game was used in the study above, I think the results would be the same.
Not only did the gamer group do a lot better at the task, they used a more complex “multi-cue” strategy to complete it. (Campbell-Dollaghan, 2015)
There wasn’t a budget or time frame for completing this game when it was designed. It is based off of M.C. Escher’s concept of puzzles. I read about the background of this game. It only took a mere 10 months to complete. The basic concept was the idea of perspectives being pivotal in figuring out how to complete a stage. I was surprised at how easy Monument Valley was to learn to play. There is no wrong way to play. Instructions and tutorials are none existent, because it is a fluid visual puzzle. I am curious at how they developed all of the intricate stages of this game.
I would recommend this game for anyone who enjoys visual puzzles or for a person who needs a peaceful distraction from life.