Critical Play: Puzzles

This week I played Monument Valley from start to finish, and I’ve got to say: it’s my favorite game of the quarter!

The interesting mechanics of the game are, in my opinion, exactly what make it so good. The aesthetics and sound design are immaculate, but the game still would be a blast to play even if it were stripped down to its simplest form. The geometric, perspective-warping puzzles offered an experience unlike any game I’d played before. Because each puzzle was novel, I found myself every ten minutes or so actually gasping at how clever the functionality was, even before I solved it!

Further, the multitude of puzzle mechanics meant that the game never got stale: each new level offered an entirely new way to manipulate the geometries you were exploring. This made it exciting and motivating to continue through the game; as soon as I finished one level, I was already eager to see what new mechanic awaited me in the next: they gave me a genuine sense of wonderment and awe. I’ll keep this in mind as our team continues to flesh out our escape room, and try to be sure that no two puzzles are too similar.

The creative puzzles also led to many “Ooooooh” moments throughout the game; each puzzle was brow-furrowing and seemed super difficult up until the instant you solved it, at which point it all makes so much sense. This style of gameplay is great for a game that’s only meant to played once, but would diminish the value of playing through a second time. Since Escape Rooms are generally one and done, we’ll try to facilitate more moments like these!

Lastly, the puzzles all required a fair degree of experimentation and simply trying new things. This meant that it was really difficult to become well and truly stumped because everything would begin to come together with enough exploration. There was no punishment to being reckless and trying new things, so it became a really fun way to interact with the game.

About the author

Game night enthusiast!

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