If you follow me on Twitter, you might have seen me retweet the fact that the game Monument Valley was available for free at the App Store. Too late now, but it was available for nothing earlier this week.
Still, I would say that it is worth grabbing at $3.99.
Like a lot of people, I became aware of the game when I saw Francis Underwood playing it during season three of House of Cards. It looked both visually interesting and like a decent little puzzle game. I went straight to the app store to find it… and then I didn’t buy it.
I didn’t buy it because there is actually a reason why I don’t buy apps these days, in addition to the ones I have listed in the past.
I’m running on old hardware.
Often I am not buying your stuff because I have an iPad 2, which was a spiffy new piece of hardware back in early 2011, but today it is a few generations behind the curve. It is only still supported by Apple on the latest OS because the iPad 2 was the basis for the original iPad Mini, which Apple sold for a bit longer than they probably should of.
I’ve read that older iPad hardware is a problem for Apple. They don’t break or get stolen at the rate iPhones do, and apparently people don’t clamor to upgrade them the way they do iPhones. My wife has an iPhone 3S when I bought the iPad 2, and has since upgraded to an iPhone 4S, and now has an iPhone 6… and I still have the iPad 2.
It isn’t that I wouldn’t like a nice iPad Air 2, which I think is the latest and greatest, I just have a list a mile long of other things on which I would rather spend that money. And the iPad 2 still does most of the things I need it to do. I can text my wife from it, the web browser is fine, Netflix and Amazon video both stream nicely enough, and when it comes to games, I would rather play them on my PC anyway, so I only have a few on there for the occasional idle moment. Ticket to Ride, DragonVale, Candy Crush Saga, and Neko Atsume (now in English) are on my list for that.
But a lot of new titles won’t run, or won’t run well, on the old iPad 2. Some, like Fallout Shelter, are pretty clear they aren’t for older platforms, while others are a bit more vague. So I tend to err on the side of caution and, on seeing that Monument Vally was a new-ish game back then, I decided not to get it.
However, once it was available for free (additional content is available via in-app purchases, so this was giving away one part of the game to get you to buy others), I decided to give it a try.
And it runs great on my iPad 2. So I could have been writing this post back in February.
The game itself is as charming and good looking as it seemed while Francis Underwood was playing it on TV. It is made up of a series of Escher-esque perspective puzzles through which you must guide Princess Ida. It starts off very easy, impressing you more with its style than any challenge, then ramps up as you progress.
I am currently stuck on the third stage of Act X, in which I am trying to rotate things in order to achieve a false perspective that Ida can then walk over.
I know I could just look up the answer on the web… what answers aren’t out there and just a Google search away… but I want to solve it on my own. The game doesn’t have that many levels, so throwing away the challenge by looking up the answers seems like a sure fire way to make it all less fun. Unless I get totally stuck. I might peek then.
Anyway, that is a lot of words to say “cool game,” but there it is.