Monument Valley has our head in a spin

Released earlier this month, Monument Valley is an isometric platform game with a spellbinding atmosphere, helped in no small part by UX Designers Ustwo‘s mesmerising design approach. 

Released earlier this month, Monument Valley is an isometric platform game with a spellbinding atmosphere, helped in no small part by UX Designers Ustwo‘s mesmerising design approach. After playing the game, we were left both bewildered and in awe of its impossible architecture. Think navigating your way out of an artwork by M. C. Escher, while marvelling at the simple, soothing colour pallete around you. Interested? We were.


The player leads a character – Princess Ida – through some ten levels, by rotating the scenery to interact with it. Players of the excellent Fez will understand how this seemingly simple mechanic can manipulate your sense of depth and leave you feeling bewildered at the impossibility of it all.  

Things may appear to be three-dimensional, but you cannot trust your eyes. If a piece of your surroundings is connected to another piece, even if it seems like it should be impossible in 3D terms, the pieces are considered connected. The game is navigated through these puzzles and at times they can seem like a distraction from the exquisite stylising and craftsmanship on offer. But this game is designed to be all about the experience. Monument Valley is a soothing play, an almost hypnotically calming world where soft colour tones and ambient soundscapes submerge the player and gently threaten to take away your entire afternoon.

The design and concept illustrations are, to us, an aesthetic which we hope will begin to proliferate more and more in web design. A few years ago, ‘flat design’ brought usability, readability and white-space (which hadn’t often survived the leap from graphic design to the web) to the fore. Looking forward, we hope that subtle use of JavaScript, a rethinking of gifs and the proposed noise property in a future spec of CSS will allow for clean and minimal designs to retain a little character without sacrificing usability.

Designed originally with the intention that it would IOS exclusive, developers Ustwo stated that with consumer interest, the game could reach other platforms too. In the three or so weeks since the title was released it  has enjoyed an excellent critical reception from both the gaming and design community, garnering a whopping 89/100 score from the popular aggregator website Metacritic. So any of you who use the other device’s operating system think that this game will be out of reach, may be pleased to hear that an Android version is coming soon. Give it a little of your precious time, and it’ll stay with you like a dream you never want to forget.

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