Critical Play: Puzzles

Ok, finally doing it, finally getting to play Monument Valley. 


Very quickly I am reminded of those games that were early to iOS where you move little wooden blocks around to let a ball roll from one portion of the puzzle area to the exit. Only now the wooden blocks are replaced with elaborate scenes of paths moving dynamically through three dimensions. One early noticeable mechanic is the spinning of massive path contraptions that allow you to move through the scene. Then there is slidable scaffolding, both horizontally and vertically, bringing you between buildings as you continue to traverse upwards. This dynamic movement and arrangement of the environment around you, makes for an incredibly enjoyable puzzle solving experience. In a way, this makes me feel like I’m architecting the game more so than navigating through a maze. Since playing any iOS game brings up some nostalgia, I’m now forced to recall the first game I ever played on an iPod touch: Super Monkey ball. That puzzle game requires the user to realize that you aren’t moving the monkey ball, but merely the world around the ball. This is a similar dynamic, because as each level brings some new obstacle, or new paradigm (realizing the princess can defy ‘gravity’ walking up the sides of buildings) each time the puzzle can be solved and understood as some manner of manipulating the world around the princess. This puzzle obviously makes for a very pleasing user experience as each world forces you to understand the architecture of the scene, and then redesign it in a way that accomplishes your desired task. 


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