Critical Play: Puzzles

In Monument Valley, the mechanics of the puzzles heavily influence the narrative. With level names such as “In which Ida learns a new way to walk,” the developers allude to this. In that level, Ida begins walking in another orientation for the first time. The introduction of this new puzzle mechanic reflects the spiritual journey Ida is making as she seeks forgiveness and learns a new way to interact with others and the world.
The optical illusions and the way the puzzle mechanics play with space created a new way of thinking for me. I thought of how my brain automatically maps an understanding of the physical world based on sight, and how this mapping is fallible. The puzzles made me reevaluate how I think of the world around me based on my perception, and I thought of how important it is to keep an open mind, since every individual’s ideas of truth and being are based on this fallible perception.
When the crow people are introduced, Ida begins walking faster. As a puzzle mechanic, this allows Ida to walk past the crow people when she has longer stretches to cover, but it also introduces a sensation of urgency in the game, shifting the aesthetic from more purely exploration and fantasy to challenge.

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