Video Game: Monument Valley

Ida on her quest

Ida the princess is on a quest for forgiveness. Despite the fragmented ruins of Monument Valley blocking her way, paths can be made despite their impossible geometries.

A game for iOS and Android, Monument Valley is a isometric puzzle game where perspective is everything.

Compare: Naya's Quest, echochrome, The Bridge, Antichamber, and FEZ.

Due to the short nature of the story, there may be spoilers below.

This game provides examples of:

  • Alien Geometries: Impossible figures like the Penrose triangle recur throughout the game, and are often the key to progressing.
  • The Atoner: The game begins with a level "In Which Ida Embarks on a Quest for Forgiveness". What she's trying to atone for is gradually revealed as the game progresses. Ida was once the ruler of a tribe of birds, who stole the Sacred Geometry for herself. Not only did Ida doom an entire civilization, she also cursed her own people to wander through the aforementioned "Monument Valley" for eternity until she repented.
  • Baleful Polymorph: The crows and Ida as a result of stealing the Sacred Geometry.
  • Beautiful Void: The Valley is uninhabited apart from Ida, the crows, and an occasional ghost whose comments hint at what befell the people who built the Monuments.
  • Bizarrchitecture: Need to go up? Go sideways.
  • Creepy Crows: To some extent. While the crow people are fairly minor obstacles, they appear to be the only living beings in Monument Valley other than Ida and Totem, which is somewhat unnerving on its own.
  • Determinator: Ida's friend, the Totem. Not even an ocean can deter it from aiding her on her quest.
  • Due to the Dead: In level IX, Ida places a flower at the graves of the people she stole the Sacred Geometry from as a way to apologize for her actions.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses
  • The Faceless: Ida and the spirits are depicted with blank, featureless fronts of their heads, which may or may not be just because the art style is abstract and low on detail.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • A spirit asks Ida if she is like the crows and has forgotten her true self as well.
    • If you look at Ida from behind, she looks like a white version of the crows, giving an earlier hint of what her true form might be.
  • Gravity Screw: All over the game, mostly of the location-specific gravity variety (basically, gravity pulls down onto whatever you're standing on, even if that's at a 90-degree angle from what you were standing on thirty seconds ago). In Which Ida Discovers New Ways to Walk is one of the level titles, and it's referring to this.
  • Haunted House Historian: The spirits that Ida meets cryptically explain the nature of the valley.
  • Heroic Mime: Ida never speaks. She's even referred to as the "Silent Princess" by one of the spirits. A fairly understandable use of the trope, since there's not really anybody for her to talk to.
  • Identity Amnesia: Stealing the Sacred Geometry turns one into an entirely different person, causing them to forget who they originally were.
  • Interquel: Since the end of the game closes off the possibility of any future adventures of the same kind, the "Appendixes" of the add-on Forgotten Shores take place between chapters of the original; the final Appendix ends with Ida arriving at the beginning of the final chapter of the original game. Lampshaded by the spirit in Appendix IV:
    Spirit: How many monuments have you restored? How many lie ahead? Forgetful princess confuses past, present, and future.
  • In Which a Trope Is Described: Every chapter has a short description that provides some measure of exposition.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Deconstructed. Ida's theft of the Sacred Geometry cursed her people to live as crows and killed off an entire civilization. The entire game has her returning all of the Sacred Geometry she stole. The spirits even call her "Thieving Princess". Ida spends the entire game putting things back.
  • Living Statue: The Totem. The only difference is that it's colored bright yellow and blue compared to the lifeless gray statues.
  • Meaningful Name: Ida is a Germanic name that means "work" or "labor". Which makes sense since she had to return all the Geometry she stole from Monument Valley in order to be restored as a bird princess.
  • Mind Screw: To some extent.
  • Perspective Magic: Thanks to the isometric nature of the world, a path may appear if the perspective is right.
  • Princesses Rule: Ida, who is consistently referred to as a princess throughout, appears to be the leader of the birds. She's got a shiny crown, at least.
  • Riding into the Sunset: At the end as the Crows are transformed into Birds
  • Shout-Out: One of the levels in "Forgotten Shores" is a recreation of M. C. Escher's "Waterfall".
  • Title Drop: One of the spirits tells Ida, "Sacred Geometry was our pride. Our downfall. But forever will our monuments stand in this valley."
  • The Mirror Shows Your True Self: In the penultimate level, Ida passes by a mirror, and her reflection is a white bird with a crown.
  • Woman in White: Ida in the main game.