An easy touchstone for Monument Valley's awe-inspiring visual style would be M.C. Escher. But to draw such a simple comparison would be to do the game a disservice because, while the topsy-turvy environments certainly owe much to the artist’s work, the ability to interact with the world’s perspective-bending vistas make them far more impressive.
The goal is to lead Princess Ida through Monument Valley's ten dream-like angular stages. Tap anywhere on the path and she will march dutifully towards the desired area (providing she is able to), but the way forward is not always clear. So, it falls to you to pull, drag, twist, and otherwise manipulate the environment to create a route through the world.
This twisting and dragging of the world forms the basis for Monument Valley’s puzzles, having you moving huge sections of the geometric landscapes with a touch or swipe of the screen.
Even with no tutorial, the tactile look of the world quickly has you experimenting. Lumps on the walls invite you to pull at them, wheels (which rotate vast portions of the map) beg to be spun, and giving you the tools you need without explicit explanation. Carefully watching as you manipulate the world allows you to see what disparate sections of the world join in impossible Escher like geometry, helping you slowly find the solution to each puzzle.
A work of art
The trial and error nature of the puzzles mean that you can find yourself finishing large portions accidentally. The lack of challenge is never a disappointment, however, because each unanticipated discovery is so beautiful that you can't help but smile.
This works because of the incredibly tight game design that leaves nothing to chance. Every single one of the game's ten stages is meticulously crafted to be visually stunning and, at the same time, perfectly functional.
For a premium game with no demo Monument Valley is actually quite short. But its value is not in its length, instead the focus here is on art and world design. This makes it hard to attach a value to each minute you play. Certainly, I am certainly hungry for more, but that is more a testament to its ingenuity and imagination than its price.