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The classic game: Monument Valley

Don’t believe your eyes in a puzzler infused with optical illusions

Our latest classic game gave you the most uncanny of valleys – a finger-friendly and brain-breaking mash-up of Escher visuals and brilliantly designed puzzles.

Monument Valley

What was Monument Valley?

At its most basic, a pathfinding game. In each level, your goal was to get protagonist Ida to a doorway. You urged her to a new location by tapping on the screen. However, the world in which Ida existed was unlike anything else seen in gaming before, with pathways intertwining in impossible ways. By manipulating blocks of landscape, new (and equally impossible) routes would form, like a living Escher artwork.

Why was it a classic?

It looked gorgeous. From the colors to the subtle shapes, the game begged you to pause and breathe everything in. Its relaxed nature neatly contrasted a world of increasingly high-octane mobile titles that were desperate for you to blaze through levels until your pointing fingers hurt.

Level designs were intricate and yet accessible. The game felt tactile. Playful elements were peppered throughout, towers playing notes when twisted into new forms, like a surreal music box. And threaded throughout was an engaging story with an elegant ending. A unique game (at least until its sequel arrived), and one worth revisiting even today.

Monument Valley late-stage game

Where is it now?

The original Monument Valley remains available. It received compatibility updates over the years (most recently in 2022), along with add-on storylines. Ida’s Dream initially fundraised for AIDS charity RED, but is now free to play. Forgotten Shores exists as the game’s sole IAP ($1.99/£1.99) and comprises eight new levels that delve into the themes of loss and recovery.

Visit the Monument Valley website or get Monument Valley ($3.99/£3.99 + optional IAP) from the App Store. The game and its sequel are also on Apple Arcade.