As I mentioned back when I reviewed Monument Valley [$3.99], it was bound to be a love it or hate it affair, and I was actually pleasantly surprised to see that most people felt as strongly about the experience as I did. It's a beautiful thing to play with, an artfully-constructed world that you can manipulate and bend around in ways that only a few other games have allowed. It was a gorgeous, pure experience, free of the flashing lights and urging pace that seems to be the general speed of things in this wonderful hobby of ours. It was also very short, with a mere ten levels to its tale, about a third of which were basically tutorial stages. By the time it turned up the gas even a little bit, it was soon finished. As an experience, it's hard to argue with it. As a mechanical game, it was a whole lot of potential with a somewhat wanting level of realizing it. Generally, it was very well-received, with most people left crying for more. So developer Ustwo got working on some more, and after several months of development, they've released an expansion for Monument Valley called Forgotten Shores.

Photo 2014-11-13, 21 38 03As I see it, there were a few boxes to check off with this expansion. First and foremost, simply delivering more content was important for those who were still thirsty for more after the original set of stages. Second, it was important to deliver an experience at the same level of quality as the original game. Finally, seizing some of that gameplay potential ought to have been a priority. In my opinion, Forgotten Shores checks off that entire list. For the price of $1.99, half the cost of the base game, you get eight new stages, and unlike the original, none of these are spent on overtly teaching you how to play. As a result, this expansion ends up being longer than the base game even with a smaller count of stages. If you finished Monument Valley and wanted more, you'll be all set here.

The stages are crafted just as carefully as those found in the original. I found the second-last stage of the new set to be particularly intriguing in how it unravels, and I really appreciated how well the gameplay came off in the final stage. It goes without saying that they're visually beautiful in their construction, but there's also a certain elegance to how they're mechanically put together. There are several new twists to the gameplay this time around, though the game still essentially hinges around manipulating perspective. Generally speaking, each stage has more sections than we saw in the original set, and it's always a pleasure to see just how things are connected. I also really enjoyed the way one of the stages played with audio, layering on bits as you progressed.

I still think there's a ways to go in terms of exploring the mechanics the game uses, but Forgotten Shores definitely progresses things significantly. The return of one of the memorable "characters" from the main game makes for a few reasonably complex stages, while one of the later stages goes neck-deep into Escher-town to the point that I was actually rotating my device to keep my bearings. The game also features puzzles that involve playing with water levels and flows, and situations where you have to make use of the crows in slightly more complicated ways than before. Several of the game's puzzles felt like something you would see early- to mid-game in a modern Legend of Zelda game, which represents a clear step forward from the relatively simple puzzles of the base game. Don't get me wrong, there's still no way to die and I'd say it's pretty near impossible to get stuck anywhere, but in terms of mechanics, these new stages are certainly pushing things forward.

Of course, we're used to getting updates and expansions free on the App Store, so you're probably wondering whether or not it's worth paying an additional fee to extend what was a fairly short game. My answer to that depends on what you took away from the original Monument Valley. If, like me, you felt the experience of the game was well-worth the asking price of $3.99, then Forgotten Shores is a great deal. You get what amounts to an entire new game for half the price. If you thought Monument Valley was too short, too simple, and you weren't satisfied at all with it, then Forgotten Shores isn't likely to change your mind. If, however, you came away from Monument Valley mostly satisfied, but wished there was just a bit more meat on the bone in terms of length and mechanics, you'll find this expansion goes a good way towards scratching any lingering itches. I'm personally very happy with this extra set of levels, though I still see a lot of possibilities waiting to be explored should Ustwo decide to follow up Monument Valley with a stand-alone sequel in the future.

TouchArcade Rating

  • PoloBaquerizoH

    Is just amazing to keep receiving more of the unique art game behind MV, we just should thanks this game to give us more delight.

  • madreviewer

    Pf hey should just make the game have seasons, so people will not get sommad about paid expension

    • JPhilipp

      And yearly sequels, like Monument Valley: Advanced Warfare

      • gamerpro2134

        DAE hate CoD? I mean i'm cool because i h8 CoD rite?

    • curtisn

      If they did do seasons, would you prefer IAP or just released as a second game?

      Also, it got me thinking, if they released 4 chapters 3 months ago at half price and 4 more chapters now at half price, how would the users in this forum respond?

      It seems that many users were just not expecting IAP. Ever.

  • shdwstar2417

    Many new 'twists' indeed .

  • Kyle

    I agree with the words of the review but would have only given it 3.5 to 4 stars.

    It still never feels like the game is building on itself. The mechanics are often used in one level and never seen again, so there's no growing complexity or feeling of learning how the world works.

    I don't feel like the devs have learned anything and ultimately Forgotten Shores is just more of the same,

    • 61050

      i agree, although i would have given it five stars for the original, and so more of the same...

    • Ninja_Blade_Diego

      That's exactly what makes this game unique. Why be like everyone else and follow the same structure as everyone else. The developers were genius in using certain mechanics only for one world and or level, that way each world/level is unique and memorable to the player. This is why this game is a classic and has had so much praise. Maybe this game is too advanced for you to understand it's art form. Try angry birds , it's geared more to your audience.

    • pinnygalore

      I'd have to concur; the gameplay precludes this from being a five star title. The levels offer very little challenge and the sumptuous visuals disguise what is generally straightforward, linear progression. The new mechanics contributed not much more than a "hey, that's cool". It's an outstanding achievement in art and sound design no doubt, but as a game? Not for me.

  • The kernel

    My daughter and I, both in aut spectrum, played through the levels together, we laughed, we cried, it was well worth the IAP. I hope this means future forward that ustwo will IAP for more levels again. Its a stunning game.

  • Corky McButterpants

    This is a 5✪ review I can get behind... (I'm looking at you Candy/Soda whatever the hell that was!)

  • porsupah

    The original release was so good, as soon as I noticed the update brought new levels with an IAP, I immediately updated the app, launched it, and bought the new levels.

    I just wonder where they'll go from here! MV's a tough act to follow - still, Simogo seem to do a superb job of nudging into new territory with every release.

    Now, if we could only get some new levels for Kiwanuka.. ^_^

    • Agkelos

      Simogo? You got the wrong dev, dude. Simogo is awesome (year walk, device 6, etc), but they didn't make this game. ustwo is the dev for this.

      • porsupah

        Indeed. My intent was to use Simogo as an example of a top-notch developer, and hope ustwo can be as consistently interesting.

  • JJE McManus

    I don't like puzzle games generally. MV on the other hand is a tour de force approaching the iconic status of what iOS gaming can be. As such, I have no problem paying for extra content. I'm looking forward to walking those twisty paths once more and I suspect I'll be saddened again when there are no new levels to unlock.

  • uFinKnow

    Well worth the $2.00!

  • Goggles789

    That comments section totally got blown out of proportion on the other MV post. Yes, this is a good game but to feel so passionate about a payment model used for an expansion type update? First world problems, man.

  • rewind

    I never really understood the name "monument valley." Is it a monument, or a valley. They look like monuments to me.

    • jati

      It's a valley of monuments.

Monument Valley Reviewed by Shaun Musgrave on . Rating: 5