Monument Valley 2 was one of the few genuine surprise reveals during Apple's WWDC 17 keynote in San Jose. The HomePod Siri speaker, iOS 11, even the new iMacs had been rumoured in the preceding months. But, we'd not heard that Ustwo was ready to unleash one of the most sought after sequels onto the App Store.
It did and in doing so made us giddy like children as the prospect of revisiting some of the most beautiful landscapes and puzzle concepts on tablet and smartphone. Even the £4.99 cover price wasn't enough to deter us.
Initially an Apple exclusive - the game is now available for Android, too - Monument Valley 2 asks you to pay from the off. The first title was half that price on release: £2.49 (now up to £3.99). So is Monument Valley 2 twice as good? Well, almost.
Monument Valley 2: Takes two to tango
There are 10 chapters in the first game, 14 in the sequel. That adds a fraction more longevity to the gameplay. You also get twice the characters to play with, as this time the lead avatar, Ro, is joined by her daughter - which makes for some expanded puzzles as you occasionally have to control both at the same time.
The basic concept of Monument Valley 2 is very similar to the first. Gorgeous, pastel-shaded buildings and vistas must be manipulated to progress Ro and her daughter through each level. Visual perception is important, as sometimes rotating or swiping past of the building changes their perspective to create new walkways and routes.
In many ways, the puzzles are inspired by Escher paintings, often to the same effect where one character is walking upside down on a bridge while another is the right-way up. It is all superbly rendered and very, very clever.
The only issue is it is about as taxing as licking a stamp. Monument Valley 2 is not difficult and therefore takes barely any time to complete.
Monument Valley 2: High fiver
That will irk some, who might not consider it value for money. However, it isn't intended to be a long-winded RPG or brain teaser that will have you scratching your head for weeks. It is a sweet, melodic, beautiful tale of a mother and daughter that you interact with. In many ways, it is theatre. And a fiver for the few hours of pure, innocent entertainment it provides is a darn sight cheaper than buying the Blu-ray of Batman vs Superman, or some other piece of cinematic nonsense.
And in this age of buying games for PC, PS4 and Xbox One that are ticketed many times higher yet have yielded less, we can forgive Ustwo's pricing strategy for this little gem.
Monument Valley 2 is as sweet and instantly playable as the first, with a more cohesive story about love and parenting.
It is one of the few genuine games that understands the medium, providing simple, touch-friendly fun for formats that require simplicity and bite-sized enjoyment.
It's a stunning sequel, well worth its cover price. And there's nary an in-app purchase in sight, so at least you get exactly what you pay for.
Monument Valley is out now for iOS and Android, priced £4.99/$4.99.
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