Monument Valley’s Creator Picks His Top iOS Games [Exclusive]

Monument Valley

Have you played Monument Valley yet? Our previous choice for ‘Game of the Week,’ this surreal, M.C. Escher-inspired puzzle game has proved an absolute phenomenon since its launch in the App Store.

But what if you’ve already finished ustwo’s masterpiece, and are now on the lookout for more of the same?

Never fear, gentle reader — we can help. Although there are precious few games which be described as similar to Monument Valley (some people aren’t even convinced it’s a game to begin with), Cult of Mac spoke with lead designer Ken Wong for his picks of the top games currently available on iOS.

Here’s what he came up with:

Windosill

windosill

“This is the one game that had the most influence on Monument Valley,” Ken Wong says. “It’s full of wonder and playfulness and beauty. Like Monument Valley, it’s a digital toybox that anyone can play, and everyone can complete.”

A short gaming experience (seriously, a full run-through lasts only 15 minutes, and with no real replayability!), Windosill is incredible all the same. It’s the adventure of a wooden train that makes its way through a series of puzzle rooms. In each room you have to find a cube to open the door, which is done by interacting with the creatures and objects inside.

It sounds surreal and trippy in the extreme — and it really is. But it’s also a whole lot of fun, and an experience no iOS gamer should go without.

Windosill can be downloaded from the App Store for $2.99.

Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP

sword2--article_image

Sworcery is a milestone in video games as an aesthetic experience,” says Wong. “It manages to heavily riff on existing video game tropes, while at the same time reinventing them. It’s a sumptuous feast of cryptic storytelling, sublime artwork and inventive audio. A masterpiece.”

For those who haven’t played it, Sword & Sworcery is a point and click adventure game. The interface works effortlessly on iOS devices, where you just double tap where you’d like your character to move — or tap and hold to manually control them. The pixel art is beautiful, the battles are fun, and the whole experience is overall unforgettable.

Pick it up from the App Store for $4.99. It’s absolutely worth it — particularly as an iPad experience.

Threes!

Threes

“Threes! is one of the most elegantly designed games since Tetris,” Wong says. ” It’s a disarmingly simple game about numbers that hides fascinating strategic depth. It’s also a masterful example of both how to teach players things without them realising, and how the element of character can improve a game immensely.”

For those who haven’t played it yet, Threes! is a game which challengers players to come up with multiples of 3 by sliding and matching pairs of cards — the object being to gain the highest score possible by combining numbers to first make 3s, then 6s, then putting those together to get 12s, and so on.

“Several members of our team were heavily addicted during the production of Monument Valley,” Wong observes.

Threes! can be downloaded from the App Store, priced $1.99.

SpellTower

SpellTower

“This is a word game made by someone who doesn’t like word games,” Wong says. “Easy to learn, but full of strategy. Another superbly elegant design.”

SpellTower is essentially a word finding game. You click your way through letters set up in a grid, creating words from adjacent letters. The combination of the visuals, sound, and simple-but-satisfying pleasure of finding longer and better words make this an absolute joy to play — despite being a couple of years old now.

SpellTower is available from the App Store for $1.99.

Tiny Wings

tinywings

Tiny Wings is a simple game about flying (or falling with style) as far as possible before the sun sets,” says Wong. “Amazingly simple gameplay and beautiful presentation — [this is] an undisputed classic of mobile gaming. Like Monument Valley, this is not just about progression or victory, it’s about feeling.”

Tiny Wings was enormously successful upon its release. It has reportedly sold upwards of 6.5 million copies, and was described by none other than ex-iOS Software lead Scott Forstall as “mind controllingly addictive.”

Oh, and if you’re worried, Tiny Wings is not a Flappy Bird clone. It can be downloaded from the App Store for $0.99.

Blip Blup

blipblup

The game that ustwo released before Monument Valley, Blip Blup is an addictive puzzle game that feels weirdly familiar, but also looks nothing you’ve ever played before.

To play, gamers must touch tiles (a move called a “blip”), at which point a pulse of color spreads out from it. Like a beam of light like travels out from the source, through connected corners, but stopping against walls. Your goal is change the color of every tile before you run out of blips.

“[Like Monument Valley] it’s a zen-like, relaxing, puzzle experience — but it also gets a lot harder,” says Wong.

Blip Blup is available from the App Store for $1.99.

Monument Valley can be downloaded from the App Store for $3.99.

  • http://www.facebook.com/stormvdm Storm

    Did you ask him if there are new MV levels in the works and if so, will it be an update for current owners of the game, or a sequel?

    • http://chuckreynolds.us/ Chuck Reynolds

      wondering the same thing. i’d assume they’d charge for future DLC’s based on the time it takes to conceptualize and dev these levels.
      Beautiful game though; just wish there was more content in the initial drop.

  • Luke Dormehl

    I can’t speak for the MV team obviously, but I think there will be some news in a few months. They’re definitely thinking about their follow-up move.

About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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