Monument Valley: Forgotten Shores, Mobile Game Review

Android    iOS    MOBILE   
Apr 21



 

Monument Valley was bound to be a love or hate affair. It’s a beautiful thing to play with, set in an artfully constructed world that you can bend and manipulate in ways only a few other games could. It was quite simply an unforgettable gaming experience that’s devoid of flashing lights and breakneck pace that seems to be the general speed of things in the world of gaming. However, it was also very short, with only ten levels to satiate our desire for a different kind of gaming experience, with about a third of it dedicated to tutorial stages. By the time it turned up the gas, it was soon finished.

It’s hard to argue with the experience and as a mechanical game, Monument Valley was a whole load of potential waiting to be uncovered. It was well-received, but players were left craving for more. Good thing the developer, Ustwo, has responded to this by working on some more Monument Valley goodness, and after several months of development, they’ve released the first-ever expansion for the popular mind-bending puzzle game called Forgotten Shores.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Me4ymG_vnOE

 

Gameplay

Monument Valley: Forgotten Shores has left some hints that it takes place as an appendix to the main storyline. However, it has its own internal narrative that is just as compelling, and level design that pushes the envelope of the unique mechanics we’ve all come to love.

The expansion to the game continues with the adventures of the silent Princess Ida as she explores the mysterious lands designed in the late M. C. Escher style. The world of the Forgotten Shores have the same wonderfully complex, intricate, impossible object design as the original, and relies heavily on optical illusions to join surfaces and create paths where none actually exist.

Forgotten Shores adds eight new levels to the game. These aren’t just new twists on old templates, but while some controls and mechanics are familiar, there are a few new twists, modifications and subtleties that will surprise and delight players.

Gameplay is similar to the original game, where you tap on a surface for Ida to move around and if it’s within her reach, she will just walk there. You also have to manipulate objects by moving them around to create new paths for Ida to move to the end of the level. The puzzles aren’t that difficult and you can figure out the level as you move, with the game rarely making you pause and think for the solution. But the few times you do have to stop is actually quite fun, especially when you have to figure things out before you move forward.

One new gameplay element that was added to the expansion is the ability to twist paths. In Forgotten Shores, you’ll find levers that twist paths so they join some other surface than what they originally connected. It’s an interesting mechanic, one that is used sparingly to prevent overuse.

But just like the original, overall play time for Forgotten Shores isn’t that long. In fact, it’s even shorter compared to the original. You can pretty much finish the game in a little over an hour and a half (including a few distractions). Some might find this disappointing, but given the considerable work that clearly went into its development and the amount of joy and delight it brings to the players, we see it more as part of Monument Valley’s overall appeal – a beautiful, ephemeral moment of bliss that is much more valuable than a drawn-out grind of mindless variety, like the Candy Crush Saga.

 

Sound and Graphics

Just like the original game, there’s no doubt that, graphics wise, this is one of the best looking games you’ll ever see on the mobile platform; with stunning shapes and colors that make vivid, beautiful imagery that will make you want to just look at it rather than play.

Ustwo has gone out of their way and went all-out with Forgotten Shores with more stunning level designs that are bigger and more complex than before. All the levels are stunning, especially on high-resolution retina displays.

The music is just as good. All eight levels have a subtle, soothing theme that plays in the background, perfectly encapsulating the general mysterious vibe of the visuals. What’s more, when you move objects around, they will make an instrumental sound that rings perfectly in tune every time you move them. Moving these objects back and forth will make you feel like you’re running your fingers over the strings of a musical instrument. The sounds are lovely, delightful, and sometimes haunting, making an otherwise simple and mundane task a lot more interesting.

 

Verdict

It isn’t hard to be overly excited about Forgotten Shores. The original game is a masterpiece but Ustwo managed to create a better follow-up to the game, with the expansion improving upon almost everything in the original game while at the same time giving eight stunning and beautiful worlds to play in. For a mobile game to be deeply moving but also minimal enough to satisfy the needs of casual players is quite an impressive feat.

What we liked best about Forgotten Shores was the arrangement of the levels when played through in order. The devs put a lot of work into building the experience in a way that makes it easy for newbies to jump in, as well as ramps things up with a pace of increasing difficulty along with the introduction of new mechanics that will leave players feeling clever and accomplished. Perhaps the only setback to the game is that, just like the original game, you’ll be left wanting more levels.

Ustwo managed to deliver a game that elevates the mobile gaming experience. The expansion costs $1.99 if you own the original game and trust me, it’s well worth the extra. So if you have the original game, there’s no way you should miss the Forgotten Shores.

Monument Valley: Forgotten Shores is available on Android and iOS.

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