A door opens. Light falls upon a plant. It responds with a great arboreal blossoming. The heavily bloomed tree sits on a revolving base. I turn it until the flowers become stepping stones for a woman on a journey… Get ready for Monument Valley 2 review!
While playing Ustwo Games’ Monument Valley 2, this is the moment that makes me smile the most. But there are other occasions for pleasure, little vignettes of a surreal world that works its socks off to make me happy, at least for as long as it lasts.
Its structure is much the same as the 2014 original. I regard an isometric world of blocks, stairs, doors and elevators. I touch the screen to move a character called Ro along pathways, until she comes across an obstacle. I manipulate clearly signaled artifacts in order to aid her progression. One puzzle leads to another, in which I operate screws and hoists in order to create pathways, or I turn the screen to create more advance-able perspectives.
This is a fantastical world of Escher-esque nonsense, in which two-dimensional illusions create impossible three-dimensional spaces. As my point of view changes, girders transport themselves from one state of being to another. Lines cross and create baffling new realities.
My brain is being tricked into believing impossibilities. Ro walks upside down, but if I twist the screen, she is magically corrected. The world gives itself over to physical whimsy. It’s a delight, just as it was in the first game.
Puzzles reveal their solutions through trial, error and a real sense of play. Ustwo’s genius is finding the balance between simplicity and complexity. Each level feels like it wants you to succeed in your own good time. There is no frustration, no sense of urgency or hassle.
There are welcome differences and additions from the last outing. Monument Valley featured a single princess. But Ro isn’t the only playable character this time around. She is joined by a small child, her daughter. Some of the puzzles require that mother and daughter work together in order to progress. I move them separately onto trigger buttons where they set-off openings for one another. I like them both for who they are and for what they do for one another.