Monument Valley 2 arrived with little fanfare just a few weeks ago. Given all of the hype that we see mainstream releases receive, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw a headline about it and I immediately bought it. This game could not have arrived at a better time for me. I’m currently coming off the of the disappointment of Mass Effect Andromeda. I’m wrapping up the incredibly immersive world of Horizon: Zero Dawn. I’m still sorting through the mysteries of Thimbleweed Park. And we are still blasting renegade drug lords off the face of Bolivia in Ghost Recon Wildlands. If ever I could use a gorgeous, relaxing puzzle adventure to balance all of that out with, this is the time. I only wish there was a little more there there.
Given incredible success of Monument Valley, it probably isn’t too big a surprise to see that the sequel stays pretty close to the original. You control Ro as she navigates through these complicated but beautifully designed mazes. Solving mazes may require rotating items to alter your perspective – raising the screen to adjust your perspective on separate platforms until they become one seamless bridge, for example – or manipulating portions of the maze itself. It’s very intuitive and never frustrating. The mazes are all so confidently designed, amazingly attractive, and underlined by such beautiful music that each level becomes a real treasure to enjoy.
The innovation this time is that Ro is traveling with her daughter and they often must solve the mazes together. This isn’t too different than what’s come before either, as you can move either character easily through their mazes. It is fun to watch the two working together and ultimately the pair is more of an artistic innovation than a new gameplay dimension. There is also an element with trees that can become platforms that I don’t remember from the original game, but that mechanic only appears a few times in the whole adventure. Honestly, I was far more excited to see [MILD SPOILERS] a character from the original game arrive late in the game to assist Ro in the final few levels. That guy is one of my favorite NPC’s of all time! [SPOILERS OVER]
Monument Valley 2 is what I am often looking for in an IOS adventure. The levels are beautiful and brief, perfect for a taking a break from a stressful day. Your progress also saves in case you have trouble finishing a level in one sitting. The story is extremely subtle but I enjoyed the message about letting go and allowing your children to grow. I was a little disappointed that the levels never reached the heights of perfection that The Music Box achieved in the first game. I would love to see some additional mechanics introduced in future sequels to the game, but I would never want to see the game move too much from what makes it work: great music, mysterious questing, and the most beautiful puzzles you’ll ever see.
THE BEST PARTS:
Everything you liked about the original is here again. There are also a few new elements you may enjoy.
THE WORST PARTS:
The game feels more like an expansion than a true sequel.
OVERALL: BUY IT
At $5, this is a great game to own, particularly if you enjoyed the first one.