Monument Valley is an indie puzzle game developed and published by Ustwo Games, where the user manipulates the world of mazes of optical illusions and impossible objects in order to allow the Princess to reach a final platform.

I love this game because not only do the aesthetics and art style of the game really appeal to me (the color scheme is amazing and the UX of the entire game is incredibly satisfying and soothing), the puzzle part of this game is solved by utilizing the concept of impossible squares. I really admire this game because it almost breaks the laws of physics, and the user is required to "think outside of the box" to figure out the solutions for each puzzle. It takes advantage of the isometric art style and forces users to think about how the different structures can be moved around in order to find the solution. In addition, each level seems very different from the last (in that each setting and structure represents something else, from castles to moats, to random climbing structures), but still utilizes the same rules it establishes from the get go. I admire the simplicity of this game play, yet the game creation itself is quite complex.


The game was developed over ten months in 2013; the visual style was inspired by Japanese prints, minimalist sculpture, and other indie games.  The creators drew a lot of inspiration from other artists and art history.  The art was designed such that each frame would be worthy of public display. Ustwo is a digital design firm company that has designed iPhone apps since 2017.


"Changing the meaning and make it our own."

I find it really inspiring to see where these creators drew their own inspiration from. These other artworks gave ideas of more than just level design, but what the setting of a stage would look like, the color scheme of the structures, even the structure/castles themselves.

Although that the game appears 2D, it was built with 3D assets; custom-built extensions to the Unity Editor enabled Ustwo to create architecture that looks connected through the game-view camera, though in reality it isn't actually next to each other in world space.

One thing I found lacking within Monument Valley was it's story line, as it does have one and each stage opens with a quote that serves drama to the table, but I felt as though it made no difference to how I played the game. In fact, at times, it made no sense. I think adding a little story element behind why each structure was the way it is (why water here? why add the impossible square columns here?) can increase the gameplay experience.

The creators really did in effective job in creating a game where each still / snapshot of the gameplay is picturesque, making for a great screenshot. The way it thinks outside the box of physics really amazes me, and I admire it very much.

Game Trailer


5. The Critical Engineer recognizes that each work of engineering engineers its user, proportional to that user's dependency upon it.

As engineering and our feats of technology become more and more miraculous, so does our ability to see these miracles. Technology has become the norm in our lives, and because we rely on it, we take these works of engineering for granted. When we do so, when we rely on others for these technologies, we ourselves do not necessarily understand the hardships of life that would be without these works of engineering and as a result, our dependency for it.

Many people's ability to navigate the roads without the use of a GPS is bare, if even existent. Once, being able to read the stars and maps was as critical as warmth or shelter. However, today, it's a rare skill and I constantly wonder at many's survival skills if our GPS were suddenly taken away from us. For me, being in a foreign area, I'm very conscious of how much battery I have so that I am able to still use Google Maps to get home. This reliance must be recognized; the consequences can be detrimental otherwise.