Monument Valley couldn’t be much more different in tone and approach than developer ustwo’s first game, Whale Trail—a delightful, rainbow-filled float through the clouds as a marine mammal—but both excel at charming you with remarkable ease. In this case, it’s done with a quiet, contemplative trek through illusion-soaked puzzle stages, wherein spinning the perspective or tweaking a dial reveals new pathways to traverse.
To be fair, it’s not a completely new idea. Inspiration is no doubt pulled from the surreal artwork of M.C. Escher, but also from Echochrome, an ultra-minimal puzzler released on PlayStation platforms six years back. As in that game, the paths in Monument Valley change based on your current camera view—previously separate platforms may merge together with a tweak of your perspective, while barriers may become hidden and new stage elements may appear. Frustration is thankfully rare across the 10 multi-stage chapters, though some solutions do require a fair bit of tinkering to discern the right pattern of moves to guide your heroine to an exit.