Monument Valley 2
Asecond set of Escher-esque puzzle-box worlds to tinker with, and clicking together the pieces still thrills. Inquisitive taps and swipes of suspect chunks of architecture are rewarded with musical chimes or unexpected solutions. Your goal is simple: to create a path, no matter how mathematically impossible. If the edges line up, then logic be damned – protagonist Ro will happily walk it.
Getting Monument Valley 2’ s diminutive heroine from point A to point B is the point, see. But there are no pesky crow enemies to avoid bumping into this time around. All the challenge now lies in the structures themselves – tiny, varied, self-contained labyrinths that grind into new formations or unfold like lily flowers under your godlike fingertips.
Their mechanical variety and creativity has been noticeably broadened. Valley veterans will recognise the tell-tale studs that signify an interactive platform, or totem-pole buddies that can be moved while you’re riding atop them. But now there are a few extra steps on your journey. One level has you pull its candy-coloured islands into cross-sections, rearrange their insides, then click them back together to engineer a way forward. Another adds an extra layer of perspective trickery onto proceedings, where rotating the scene transforms it into an inscrutable cubist painting.
In true Monument Valley tradition, atmosphere and whimsy tend to trump actual challenge. There’s an endless stream of new mechanical treats to wrap your head around, but some of the best ideas – teleporting doors and magnetic light bridges, for example – feel underdeveloped by a few steps.
But Monument Valley 2 is a story all about growing pains. Ro is mother to a child; the sprog parallels her movements and, naturally, wants to stay close – a sweet, but logistically complicated, quirk useful for coaxing her towards more elusive switches. There are some delightful links between narrative and design: when paths diverge, changes in sound and colour reflect Ro’s turmoil – but your time as a newly independent child is defined by illumination and discovery.
And yet, despite the sheer, breathless volume of new ideas, there’s a sense of wonder missing from the sequel. The well-meaning tale feels a little rote in comparison to the first game’s supernatural arc of redemption, while its more complex but undercooked new ideas frustrate rather than inspire. Still, there’s no doubt that on a structural level, Ustwo has built something bolder and rangier than its predecessor. As a whole, however, it doesn’t present quite as seamlessly – and just a little of that Möbius-loop magic is lost.
The best levels hinge on a grand trick of perspective. The monochromatic fortress in the centre image only becomes 3D when rotated. Another level is a neon Matryoshka of puzzles, zooming into scenes within scenes.