Having loved the original monument valley when I played it a year ago on this very blog and with my new android phone, I had been wanting to buy the DLC for ages, but had never gotten around to actually downloading it due to time constraints. So, with my blog backlogged with content until August (yep, I’m that ahead of time in regards to weekly gaming), I decided to take the plunge and buy the £1.49 Haddon to the game I loved so much this time last year. So what’s been brought back to the fray, and what’s new in this £1.49 expansion?
One of the first things that will be apparent the second you start up the DLC is the increased difficulty of the game, something many won’t be accustomed to considering the relative ease many were able to complete the original with. For starters, one of the first levels has you twisting geometry to make your princess go from one side of the world to another, a confusing feat for any player, both new and old. Once you’ve wrapped your head around this increased difficulty from the offset, the game continues to get harder with each level bringing new and interesting challenges to throw at you.
Your ally from the first game, the totem block, is back, and this time, you’ll need to use him in weird and wonderful ways that had me scratching my head for ages. From twisting him to breaking him to get through certain areas, you can be sure that every level with him involved will push you to you limits in how to proceed, something I loved when playing through the levels. It’s strange how so many people have such a strong emotional attachment to the totem block, despite it having no personality and no speech. This is probably due to the fact it helps you out and expects nothing in return, like a cherished pet.
Add the increased difficulty together with the return of the totem block, and in turn the new ways you’ll use him, and you have a challenging but rewarding game on your hands. One that doesn’t hold your hand, and rewards creativity in the way you look at the levels. Later levels for example start twisting walls and the angle of your princess, making it difficult to determine how she’s positioned and whether she can progress through doors on the same level. It’s through trial and effort that you’ll pass some stages, which always allows you to feel accomplished at the end of each stage.
One of the most creative stages was one where you lost your hat (the source of the princesses power which in turn allows her to fix the world). It happens to fall on a birds head, which leads to a brand new way to look at the world and the puzzles within, as you’re not only moving the princess around, but having to guess and control where the bird is going, or even manipulating it into pressing switches for you just by knowing it’s movements. It’s interesting, and a good twist on the fantastically simple but hard gameplay that comes before it.
I praised Monument Valley for it’s fantastic art direction and simple mechanics, with that not changing in the slightest for it’s DLC. Levels are gorgeous, fitting perfectly on a mobile phones display in portrait orientation, with even bigger levels showing extreme amounts of detail in their surroundings. UsTwo are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to design, something their recent contract with BMW (yes, they’re now designing BMW’s dashboards) shows off.
So, was Monument Valley worth the £1.49 entry fee? HELLS YEAH IT IS! It’s seriously one of the best games for mobile, but easily one of the most creative too. The simplicity of the movement and concept it fantastic, and the developers at UsTwo have gone to great lengths to push the boundaries of what can be done with such a simple premise, whilst still making it challenging and rewarding to overcome. If you’re anyone that has a smartphone (AKA every single person on this earth at this rate), then you owe it to yourself to own Monument Valley, and in turn it’s DLC Forgotten shores.