Review: Monument Valley 2

IMG_1921.PNGMonument Valley was an amazingly well designed little puzzle game for mobile devices back in 2014. Its use of mind-twisting M.C. Escher-style environments, combined with a really beautiful minimalist art style and impressively effective touchscreen controls, made for one of the most memorable gaming experiences on a phone. For better or worse, Monument Valley 2 is very much the same.

On the plus side, Monument Valley 2 shares all the strengths of the first one, with fun, relaxing little levels that have a kind of virtual toy puzzle box feel to them. It’s great to spin these little rooms around, trying to find all the different little movable pieces and figuring out how they all work together to form a path for you to escape through.

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The hardest part of writing about these games is narrowing down which beautiful screenshot to show.

Yes, the gameplay is still very solid, though also like the first one, the main campaign is a bit too easy. The really mind-bendingly tricky puzzles didn’t come in until the expansion levels, and in my opinion, many of the best levels were to be found there. Hopefully this one will add some new, more challenging levels again someday too. It’s also incredibly short. You can blow through this thing in two hours, and you can’t help but feel a little disappointed that it’s over so quickly.

These are minor issues though, that don’t really take away from the fact that it’s another masterfully crafted game. I suppose my only real regret is that it’s a little too similar to the first one. The game kind of teases you with the new mechanic of controlling two characters at once, which make for a few extra special levels, but then quickly returns to a single character again for the majority of the game. Why would you introduce this exciting new mechanic only to take it away so quickly? Again, maybe we’ll see some of these new mechanics used a little more in a future expansion, but who knows?

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Just twist that thing and go over there. No, the other thing. It’s fine.

Now don’t get me wrong, this is still a great little game that I would recommend to just about anyone. It’s definitely a work of gaming art. I just feel like there was a really big missed opportunity here, for them to have turned this into something that felt as exceptional as the first one did at the time, by just adding a few new twists to the puzzle solving. Instead this is merely another “more of the same” sequel, but…more of the same of an exceptional game is still well above average.

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