Critical Play: Puzzles

Monument Valley is a puzzle game developed by ustwo games, available on mobile platforms. The game was released in 2014 on iOS, and later on Android in 2015. Monument Valley is an enchanting game which leverages perspective, mesmerizing visuals, and innovative mechanics to create an immersive journey through an ethereal world of optical illusions and architectural wonders.

The most fundamental mechanic in Monument Valley is perspective shifting and optical illusion. Throughout the game, players navigate through stunning architectural landscapes by rotating and shifting platforms to create new pathways. This mechanic expands the dimensions of the puzzles as it challenges players to perceive the world from multiple angles and perspectives. Furthermore, an additional mechanic of optical illusion is used in the construction of the architectural landscapes and adds a mesmerizing element to the game’s experience. Assumptions are constantly challenged as nothing is truly as it seems. The game’s reality bends and shifts at the hands of the optical illusions, creating a unique journey for each player.

Another mechanic which influences the experience of the game is the simplistic controls used to navigate the world of Monument Valley. Players use taps and swipes to interact with the environment, shifting structures and revealing hidden paths. The elegance of Monument Valley lies in its ability to engage players without overwhelming complex mechanics. Rather, the minimalistic design of the control system maintains the focus of the gaming experience on the visual elements.

Lastly, Monument Valley’s puzzle mechanics build upon a gradual difficulty curve. Each level builds upon concepts and experience gained from earlier stages while introducing a manageable novel component to the perspective shifting and optical illusions which shape each level. The gradual difficulty curve ensures that players are not overwhelmed by the intense architectural mechanics at play, yet maintains a satisfying playing experience.

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