Critical Play: Puzzles | Monument Valley


I played Monument Valley on iOS after hearing so much about it for so long. Monument Valley is a level based puzzle gain where you manipulate characteristics of a map to allow your character to pass through. I would guess that this game is intended for any puzzle enthusiast. On the app store it says it is good for people age 4+.

Formal Elements


In the game, you guide Princess Ida through mazes. The overarching plot of the game as far as I can tell is that Princess Ida seeks to be forgiven for something in the past.


The objective of the game is to pass through each of the levels. Each level has a different mechanic that makes it distinct and interesting.


The biggest resource in the game is the ability to manipulate the map. On each level, there are different buttons or other items you can drag around to change the topography of the level, allowing Ida to pass through successfully.


The puzzles are not immediately apparent, and it can take quite a bit of thinking to solve them. Later in the game, Ida encounters crow people which make passing through the level harder, as you have to properly time your movement.


I need to continue playing the game to get a better sense of the outcome. I assume there is more story progress as you beat more levels.

Type of Fun

Like any good puzzle game, Monument Valley specializes in producing “AHA” moments. I had a few of those when I was playing, which was awesome.

Moments of Failure and Success


  • The first connection of an impossible object (one that makes no sense in real life) was crazy.
    The first time Ida started walking on a non-vertical surface, I was pretty floored.


  • At the start of level two or three, I was stuck for a long time, because I didn’t know how to manipulate the new mechanic (dragging the buttons). I felt really dumb when I finally figured it out.

Potential Improvements

This game was awesome overall, but one thing I found consistently annoying was how long it took to get from the end of a level to the level selecting menu. Every time that happens, the Monument Valley animation plays, which kind of takes me out of the game. Making this transition snappier would have been an improvement.

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