Video Game / Monument Valley

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/monumentvalleyl2_9957.png
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, regardless of 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.

A sequel, Monument Valley 2, was released on June 5, 2017.

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


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. Her punishment was to wander around as a faceless human until she put back the Sacred Geometry in their rightful places.
  • Bag of Holding: Ida's white conical hat carries several pieces of the Sacred Geometry. They were stolen by Ida; she's just putting them back.
  • 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: Thanks to the weird geometrical logic of the place, anything is possible. 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 being left behind 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: Ida, who is the main protagonist of the game. She's later revealed to be a subversion as more of the story is revealed - namely, she's the reason why the events of the game happened at all.
  • 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. It's later justified with Ida; when she stole the Sacred Geometry, she lost her memories of being a bird princess, with her face becoming a blank slate to represent this. She later regains her identity and true face after she repents for her crimes. Also possibly justified with the spirits; as they are long dead, knowledge of who they were was lost over time.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In the temple where Ida meets the first spirit, some of the architecture resembles a grayscale version of the Totem who shows up later.
    • The things the spirits say to Ida become relevant to the game's plot later on. One spirit asks if she is like the crows who forgot who they were, and has forgotten her true self as well. Another spirit calls her "thieving princess".
    • If you look at Ida from behind, you'll notice that she looks like a white version of the crows, giving an earlier hint of what her true form might be.
    • Ida spends the entire game putting things back in each level. In the past, she stole the Sacred Geometry, killing off an entire civilization and cursing both herself and her own people with Identity Amnesia, forever wandering the Monument Valley until Ida repented for her crimes and gave back the Sacred Geometry.
    • Ida, the Totem, and the crows are the only living things in Monument Valley. That's because the original residents of that area are all dead, presumably thanks to Ida stealing their Sacred Geometry.
  • Forgiveness: What Ida is seeking for, implied by the description of one of the beginning levels in the main storyline. The kicker, as revealed in Level IX, is that no one from the civilization she stole from is left to forgive her for stealing the Sacred Geometry. The least she could do was put a flower at their graves as a form of apology.
  • 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.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The Totem in Forgotten Shores. In one of the last levels of the expansion, Ida encounters a crushing rock trap blocking the path. The Totem intercepts it and endures repeated slamming and crushing for long enough to allow Ida to cross, at the cost of being smashed apart and falling into the depths of the chasm.
    • Subverted in the last level of the DLC, which involves either building a new Totem or rebuilding the old one.
  • 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.
  • It Amused Me: Presumably why Ida stole the Sacred Geometry in the first place. As a flying bird, she never needed any of it.
  • 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. The game is based on M.C. Escher's works, after all.
  • 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.
  • Monochrome Apparition: The spirits Ida meets are colored light turquoise blue.
  • 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 Ida and the Crows are transformed back into Birds.
  • Shout-Out: Several of the levels in "Forgotten Shores" are directly inspired by M. C. Escher's lithographs. One includes a recreation of "Waterfall"; another mashes up several of his Gravity Screw pictures (and borrows several of his distinctive decorative touches, as well as being in grayscale to increase the resemblance to the lithograph prints).
  • Title Drop: One of the spirits tells Ida, "Sacred Geometry was our pride. Our downfall. But forever will our monuments stand in this valley."
  • Wham Episode: Level IX. It's revealed that a bird princess stole the Sacred Geometry that Ida has been putting back, presumably dooming an entire civilization to die. The bird princess is Ida herself. Ida later puts a flower at the graves of the people she stole from to apologize for her theft, but there's no one left to forgive her.
  • Wham Shot: In Level IX, Ida traverses a dark cavern located deep underground. The ending reveals the cavern to be a massive mausoleum in which the people Ida stole the Sacred Geometry from are buried.
  • Woman in White: Ida in the main game and "Forgotten Shores" DLC. She wore red in the "Ida's (RED) Dream" DLC, when it was released to promote AIDS awareness.


Monument Valley 2 provides examples of:

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