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Video Game / Monument Valley 2

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Your geometry can't save you now

A game for iOS and Android, Monument Valley 2 is the sequel to the 2014 hit Monument Valley by ustwo games. Both are isometric puzzles game where perspective is used for otherwise impossible geometries to exist à la M.C. Escher. A "Panoramic Edition" port to Microsoft Windows was released via Steam in 2022.

Ro and her daughter are on a quest to restore the monuments of their people. Despite the fragmented ruins of Monument Valley blocking their way, paths can be made through the power of impossible geometry.

Compare: Naya's Quest, echochrome, The Bridge (2013), Antichamber, and FEZ.

This game provides examples of:

  • Alien Geometries: Impossible figures like the Penrose triangle recur throughout the game, and are often the key to progressing.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: The main characters of the sequel are a woman named Ro and her daughter.
  • Another Side, Another Story: After level VI, Ro's daughter leaves, and you spend the next four levels just playing as Ro. Then, at the end of level X, the story goes back, this time to Ro's daughter's perspective after her departure.
  • Art Evolution: While the first game is no slouch in the art department, Monument Valley 2 has extremely lush backgrounds and more intricate animations, such as Ro's daughter's Skip of Innocence. The ghosts Ro and her daughter encounter also have unique appearances compared to the ghosts from the first game (assuming they are different people and not one ghost constantly speaking to Ida), who all look the same.
  • Artistic License – Physics: This goes without saying for a game based on the works of M.C. Escher, but in level III, there's one stage where the geometry of the structure is mirrored, up to the point where the body of water on the floor is also on the ceiling.
  • Bag of Holding: Early on in the game, Ro produces a large round hat in which many small lights can be contained. When those lights are released, Ro can sculpt them into pieces of impossible geometry. Later on when Ro and her daughter part ways, Ro's daughter gets her own hat.
  • Beautiful Void: The Valley is uninhabited apart from Ro, her daughter, Doortem, and the ghosts of the matriarchs that came before them.
  • Bizarrchitecture: Thanks to the weird geometrical logic of the place, anything is possible. Need to go up? Go sideways.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: One of the spirits Ro talks to is revealed to be her own mother.
  • Coming of Age Story: There's no arguing that Ro is the protagonist of the game, but the story is also about her daughter, and her journey to fulfill the destiny her ancestors have left her.
  • Cool Gate: At the end of level VIII, Doortem turns sideways, and opens its mouth, revealing a glowing portal that can transport Ro to other places, and even other times.
  • Dramatic Slip: In level III, Ro is separated from her daughter in a landslide. When Ro's daughter runs across a bridge with a part of the monument sliding directly toward her, she trips. Fortunately, she gets up and makes it off the bridge before it is destroyed.
  • Due to the Dead: Ro and her daughter are carrying on the work of those who originally created the impossible geometry, such as Ro's own mother.
  • Elderly Bluehaired Lady: Ro may not be elderly, but she is a grown woman, and in almost all of the scenes of the game, the lighting makes her hair appear blue.
  • Eye Scream: Averted. During some levels, you can walk horizontally on Doortem and, in the process, step on its eye. However, all that happens is that Doortem blinks and a calming sound effect plays.
  • The Faceless: Ro, her daughter, 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:
    • The things the spirits of the matriarchs say to Ro become relevant to the game's plot later on. They tell Ro that she must have courage for the moment where she must send her young daughter away to fulfill some great task.
    • When Doortem reveals the portal in its side, this becomes a game mechanic two levels later.
  • Gender-Restricted Ability: Creating Sacred Geometry is implied to be a magical art that's passed down from mother to daughter, as Ro had done with her daughter, and her mother before her. All of the spirits Ro talks to are women and previous creators of Sacred Geometry.
  • 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).
  • Grey Rain of Depression:
    • No actual rain is involved, but the monotone gray of the opening of level VII has a similar effect. Since level VII takes place right after Ro's daughter leaves, the gray background symbolizes Ro's sadness over having to part with her daughter.
    • In level XI, Ro's daughter goes through a stage all in grey with rain pattering down around her.
  • Hammerspace: Ro, and later on her daughter, can pull her comically large hat out of thin air.
  • Heroic Mime: Ro and her daughter never speak, but do share tender moments, such as hugs each time they reunite after being separated.
  • Hidden Depths: Ro is a flute player, and will play a melody that accompanies the background music if the game is left idle. She learned it as a child, though she wasn't as good back then.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: Ro wears a beautiful orange-yellow dress that resembles an upside-down flower. The color of the dress stays the same throughout the whole game, except for level X, where the color changes at various points to blue and green.
  • In Which a Trope Is Described: Every chapter has a short description that provides some measure of exposition.
  • Interactive Fiction: In every level where a character weaves sacred geometry, the pattern is determined by the swipes the player makes. They can be remade every time you play that level, and appear in the level select screen afterwards.
  • Ironic Name: Level III's proper name is "The Oasis," but the level seems to be full only of crumbling monuments and grey sand.
  • Last Lousy Point: There are 15 achievements available for the game. The first 14 are straightforwardly earned by completing each of the game's 14 levels. The last one is earned by tapping on the silver-tailed lizard basking on the wall in the final level.
  • Living Statue: The Doortem. The only difference is that it's colored bright blue and pink compared to the lifeless blue-grey statues, or the yellow and blue Totem before it.
  • Meaningful Name: Many of the level's names have deeper meanings.
    • The proper name of level IX is Mên-an-Tol. This is based off the standing stones of the same name located in Cornwall, England. The name means the hole stone. It could be that the recursiveness of the level is like gazing infinitely into the hole of the stone.
    • The proper name of level XI is The Lyceum, which is accurate in that a lyceum was a place of learning and this is Ro's daughter's first lesson on her own.
    • The proper name of level XIV is Mirador, which means 'lookout' in Spanish. This name makes a lot of sense, as the final stage of the game takes place on a mountain top, looking out over Monument Valley.
  • Mind Screw: To some extent. The game is based on M.C. Escher's works, after all.
  • Minimalist Cast: Just like the last game. The only characters are Ro, her daughter, Doortem, and the recurring spirits.
  • Monochrome Apparition: Averted, as opposed to the last game. The ghosts Ro talks to are colored teal and purple.
  • Mythology Gag: At the beginning of level II, there are three black birds and one white bird, referencing the Crows and Ida from the first game.
  • No Name Given: Ro's daughter has no name, though "The Lost Forest" expansion level calls her The Explorer.
  • Old Friend: Verbatim. Level VII is subtitled "In which Ro visits an old friend." This old friend is, of course, Doortem, who wakes up upon her greeting, seems surprised to see her, and then follows her deeper into the monument, aiding her as they go.
  • Older and Wiser: The spirits that Ro speaks to give her advice in the face of her daughter's impending departure.
  • Parents in Distress: In Level III, Ro is caught in a landslide. Her helpless daughter could only watch and frantically try to catch up to her, coming close to losing her mother. Fortunately, Ro is set on a different path when she reaches the bottom. They hug when they reunite.
  • Perspective Magic: Thanks to the isometric nature of the world, a path may appear if the perspective is right.
  • Railroading: A minor example, but many of the rotating platforms in the game can not be moved while Ro and her daughter are standing on them. It's all in the name of making the puzzles slightly more challenging.
  • Recursive Reality: Level IX. We see several segments before gameplay starts, and progress consists of getting farther in.
  • Red Is Heroic: Ro's daughter dresses in white with a red robe.
  • Ridiculously Fast Construction: At the end of level III, all Ro has to do to reconstruct an elaborate monument is stand on two different buttons, as helpful groups of cubes zoom out, bringing new pieces of architecture in their wake.
  • Riding into the Sunset: Ro and her daughter take their places on a mountain with their ancestors as they all create their own sacred geometry.
  • Rite of Passage: In level XIII, Ro's daughter creates the first piece of three-dimensional sacred geometry seen in the game, and later on the mountaintop, she takes her place among her mother and their ancestors to create more sacred geometry.
  • Separated from the Adults:
    • In level III, part of the monument collapses, separating Ro from her daughter. The two embrace upon reuniting.
    • In level IV, this becomes a mechanic, in which Ro and her daughter are often separated and have to cooperate in order to progress. Again, at the end of the level, Ro and her daughter are reunited.
    • In level IV, Ro sends her daughter away on a boat, and in level XIV, Ro's daughter returns a grown woman.
  • Shout-Out:
    • To the old game in level IV, where one of the crow people is depicted in statue form.
    • To ICO. In level XIV, one can find a small, silver-tailed lizard. Tapping it earns you an achievement.
  • Small, Secluded World: All of the worlds in which there are conversations with the ancestors are very small pocket realms with no visible entrances or exits.
    • At the end of level IX, Ro emerges from Doortem's portal onto a small platform in a monochrome red world with no obvious way for Doortem to have gotten there.
  • Skip of Innocence:
    • Ro's daughter walks with a spring in her step. She loses it after growing into a young woman, symbolizing her newfound maturity.
    • Ro also walked like this when she was younger, until she had to leave her own mother to learn on her own.
  • Soft Water: Not with water, but leaves. In level IV, there are thick blocks of leaves through which the player can easily drag stone structures up and down.
  • Underground City:
    • At the end of level II, Ro and her daughter descend into the ruins of what might have once been an underground civilization in order to collect the lights that become sacred geometry.
    • In level XI, Ro's daughter descends into another one in order to gather her own lights.
  • Wham Episode: Level IX. As Ro enters Doortem's portal, she travels farther back in her own memories until she revisits the moment she had to leave her own mother.
  • Wham Shot:
    • In Level XII, Ro's young daughter enters a door in the leaves of one of the trees in the orchard. Slots appear in the wall, and when the player drags them, the room opens up, exposing the tree to light. The tree grows, a pod blooms out of the top of it, and from it, Ro's daughter emerges, now fully grown.
    • Ro and her grown daughter stand at the top of the mountain, and their sacred geometry floats in their air among that of their ancestors.