When does price affect your review of a game? If you were to judge Monument Valley by the comments in the review section you would think it was just an okay game. Sure it has some of the best visuals and puzzles in a mobile game, but it costs $4. It’s a great experience that shouldn’t be missed, but the experience could last less than an hour. And it costs $4. So what exactly is Monument Valley? It’s a puzzle game that will have you questioning your perception of the value of mobile games.
Compared to mobile games I’ve played in the past, Monument Valley feels like it should belong in the indie section of PSN. Every element of the game has a level of polish that is currently missing from the mobile scene. The visuals are crisps and colorful. The music blends with each level, creating new experiences for each puzzle. Monument Valley is more Zen garden than hardcore puzzle game.
Speaking of puzzles, Monument Valley does a great job of easing the player into the puzzle system. Levels get progressively harder, but they never feel unsolvable. There were a few instances when I was stuck on a puzzle, but it didn’t take long before I had the answer figured out. Levels are designed as interactive pieces of art. Like the puzzle system in Fez, you will spend most of your time manipulating the buildings to see your next move.
Of course it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. The story is entertaining, but forgettable. And the enemies aren’t really enemies in the traditional sense. The black crows that inhabit various levels only serve as minor annoyances that block your path, but don’t put your character in any danger.
And then we reach the point where we talk about value. For some people $4 is a lot of money for only ten levels. But is a short game necessarily a bad thing? By the time you finished the 10th level you will have mastered all the variations of the puzzle mechanics that the game has to offer. The story reaches its conclusion and you leave with a sense of satisfaction. You paid $4 dollars for the holistic experience. And if we are to judge games based on the experience instead of the number of levels this game is worth your $4.