For me, the Forgotten Shores expansion to ustwo’s sublime Monument Valley will always be about love. More specifically, the love I have for my wife.
Filled as it is with transportive music and wondrous dreamscapes, it will always bring to mind my wife’s smile. Her beautiful, twinkling laugh. The inspiring sense of awe and wonder with which she approaches the every day. These are the things that will stay with me long after guiding ustwo’s silent princess through splendrous spaces of interlocking geometry.
This is the beauty of what Forgotten Shores offers: an hour of singularly satisfying play. I chose to spend that hour with my wife, lost together among twisted pillars in the sky. Wandering with one another through castles powered by the mobius-like flow of water. Smiling together and sharing a kiss as the swipe of our fingers caused a lonely sprout to burst into full bloom.
As removed from arbitrary goals and expectations as the original game, and perhaps more so, Forgotten Shores is a guided tour of unfettered imagination. There is challenge to be found, certainly, but not in the lifeless, measurable sense. With enough tapping, and spinning, and probing, you will eventually unlock each level’s secrets. The challenge offered here is more impactful: can you think differently? Twist your mind in wholly different directions? Forgotten Shores is replete with moments that offer you a chance to do just that, and then – perhaps most importantly of all – to savor how you feel once you have.
In the wake of the release of Forgotten Shores, Monument Valley has been bombarded by one-star reviews; punishment for ustwo’s audacity to ask players pay an extra two dollars to experience the eight additional levels they’ve lovingly crafted. Some have argued this is the clearest example yet of the way mobile gaming has groomed the frothingly entitled consumer. Others insist that ustwo shoulder some of the blame for tacitly preparing players for a free add-on. I’m not interested in any of that.
I’m interested in my wife’s smile, still present on her face as she drifts off to sleep after putting down the iPad. I look at her lovingly, and think about the hour we had together, dancing around impossible shapes among the stars.