puzzle critical play

Madrid Noir

  • What is the theme?

Monument Valley is a game that I have loved for a long time now and it was a pleasure to replay it for this critical play. I’ve always loved both puzzles and optical illusions, and Monument Valley sacrifices neither aspect to bring a cohesive gaming experience. The theme of the game is forgiveness, as the main character, which we play as, makes a journey through many chapters to get to the end of the game.

  • What mechanics do they use?

Tap to navigate (destination based), perspective shifting, buttons that control hidden elements, music

  • What kind of fun do they promise the player?

Sensation (beautiful visuals), fantasy, narrative, challenge, discovery

  • How is this fun and theme reinforced through graphic design decisions?

This game is known for its graphic design. Out of all the games I have reviewed this quarter, the graphic design choices are also by far the most directly related to the gameplay. Because optical illusions is one of the core mechanics for gameplay, it was important that these optical illusions both 1) look beautiful and 2) function as intended for the purpose of the game. Overall, the art poly style of the game definitely appealed to the senses and helped deliver on the emotional storyline.

  • How does the game differentiate itself from other games in its genre?

It’s a clear standout. Puzzle games often sacrifice appeals to the senses and/or a meaningful story, instead relying on good puzzles (the mechanics) to deliver a fun gaming experience. Monument Valley impressively does both of these things without compromising on having good puzzles at its core. The overall progression of the game, from the easier puzzles that teach mechanics, to the final chapters, was also beautifully done.

  • How would you make it better?

Make more sequels!!!

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