Monument Valley: Forgotten Shores review: More beautiful levels to enjoy


Monument Valley is one of the best games for the iPad we’ve seen this year balancing beautiful graphics with innovative gameplay and a constant sense of wow as the MC Esher themes levels play out before you.

One of the biggest criticisms with the game was the ease in which you can complete it. That, developers ustwo have told Pocket-lint previously, was partly the point. To create an experience that could be completed and therefore enjoyed rather than being frustrating.

Bundles of awards, millions of downloads later, and a healthy bank balance to show for it, ustwo has turned to the game once again, not to create a sequel, but merely more levels to appease fans wanting more.

Monument Valley: Forgotten Shores is eight new levels that you can get via an in-app purchase of £1.49 ($1.99).

The delightful levels for the most part follow along a similar path carrying on the story of Ida and those crows. This time around the levels are more cause and effect with the first level featuring falling pathways and erupting volcanos as you work your way down a chasm.

The game introduces a heavy dose of water too. One of the levels replicates the classic upwards flowing MC Esher water canals for example as the game constantly trys to play with your mind.

The levels themselves are still big, if not bigger than before, and there are still plenty of wow moments to be had as you guide Ida around the twisting turning dioramas before you.

Whether it takes you a hour to complete or you take your time, the levels are beautifully designed.

The luscious graphics, clever use of the isometric drawings and eerie soundtrack all add to the experience, but as with the first one the game isn’t that challenging. The puzzles are all fairly logical rather than puzzling to the point of taking any serious amount of time to whiz through them, and at times it can feel very much like a point and click game

It’s perhaps why then that this time you can tackle the first seven levels in any order you wish, with the penultimate level being no more difficult than the second for example.

We managed to complete the game over a long train journey (1hr30) and suspect that others will be able to too.

Like the original, ustwo will probably say that’s the point, however it does question the longevity of the experience, especially as you are paying for the extra levels.

Given that the there are only slightly less levels than the original 10 you can see why ustwo are keen to charge, but tablet gamers are a fickle bunch and are used to getting free levels rewarded to them for investing in the first place. In the console world you would never expect to get something for nothing, however judging by comments on iTunes already, that’s not the case here.

In the bigger picture £1.49 isn’t that big a deal. It’s the price of a newspaper, a couple of bars of chocolate at the local shop, but the bottom line is that you are paying for creativity. You are paying for app that gives you plenty of magical moments and isn’t doused in adverts or freeium elements that make you pay more to build a new hut, or upgrade your character.

Whether it takes you a hour to complete or you take your time, the levels are beautifully designed. It is clear that plenty of time and effort has gone into rewarding you for your custom.



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