Monument Valley 2 for Android APK enthralls with stunning graphics and shatters game stereotypes in a celebration of motherhood and heroism through nurturing.
You don’t see much of mothers in video games. In Monument Valley 2, a surprise sequel from usTwo Games, that’s about to change. The main characters defy stereotypes as you take them on their journey and explore this artistic and deeply satisfying puzzle game. And finally, it’s available on Android.
As the players and designers of games grow up and become parents themselves, the gaming world’s changing. We’ve seen quite a few fathers, often in heroic roles. But moms? They’re the ones you leave behind as you make your noble journey. They may send letters or cookies or their love. Sometimes they’re portrayed as obstacles to avoid — the nag or the killjoy. Or, they’re often portrayed as objects to rescue. Sometimes they’re even dead, as part of a tragic backstory. If so, they were either killed by the enemy, or died giving birth. Sometimes they come back as memories or helpful ghosts.
Rarely are they playable characters with stories of their own.
Not so with Monument Valley 2. In this delightful, challenging, and peaceful puzzle-and-exploration game, both Ro and her daughter are playable by the end. The goal is to guide them both safely through the Sacred Geometry, a collection of mazes of optical illusions and impossible-seeming objects that evoke the artwork of M.C. Escher. The player must manipulate the environment to help the characters succeed, while the characters’ stories unfold over fourteen chapters.
Part of their story is the classic journey from a child’s dependence upon a parent to growing strength and independence. In the beginning, Ro’s Daughter is eager but timid. As Ro trains her in the art of raising monuments, Ro’s daughter follows her every move. But she gradually gains in confidence, competence, and independence. By the end, she evolves into a fully playable character in her own right.
After usTwo released the game in June, Studio lead Dan Gray told The Verge:
“[The mother is] not only there to protect and bestow knowledge on her child. She’s also very influential and powerful within the world of Monument Valley.”
Monument Valley 2: An Improbable Sequel
The storyline was inspired by the designers’ journeys in parenting. This includes the art director’s struggle to return to work after paternity leave. With its pastel colors and pleasing sounds, it can feel like a cartoon for very young children … Yet it’s a genuinely challenging logic puzzle game. The dreamy soundscapes and gorgeous, candy-coated graphics are sweet without being sickly. Monument Valley 2 is wrapped in a fourteen-chapter story that describes the changing relationship between Ro and her daughter as they move through the marvelous landscapes.
On usTwo’s website, Dan Gray said, “‘We wanted to find the perfect reason to return to Monument Valley, and the story of a mother who’s not only a parent but a creator of this world is a narrative we felt compelled to tell.” For all the parents who agree the unfolding parent-child relationship is a compelling narrative, I thank him.
The original Monument Valley racked up over 30 million downloads and spawned countless tributes. In addition, the game won award after award around the world. And yet there was a time when developer Ken Wong didn’t want anything to do with a sequel. Instead, he said that the company wanted to focus on new ideas. We should all be glad usTwo changed their minds!
When Monument Valley 2 was released back in June, it was only available for iOS. But on November 6, you’ll be able to get it for Android, too. And not a moment too soon. You can pre-register to get a message when the Android APK’s ready for download at Google Play (rumors say it’ll cost $6.49.)
Please, usTwo, May We Have Some More?
The company behind Monument Valley and Monument Valley 2 has a lot of plates spinning at present. usTwo doesn’t just make games. They work with companies to create digital products and solutions as diverse as their clientele. For example, they’ve partnered with Ford to create a smart parking app to beat London’s heavy traffic. Also, they built a customer loyalty and behavior tracking app for Harvey Nichols. Other projects include self-driving cars.
The Monument Valley 1 and 2 games are solo projects, and rare. Despite a most auspicious start, the companies credits don’t include many games.
Another is Land’s End, and with it usTwo has taken the plunge into the rapidly-expanding world of virtual reality (VR). This VR adventure features the same stunning visuals and hypnotic sounds that stand a real chance of becoming the company’s hallmark in the world of games. Set amid a gorgeous natural landscape of rocks, pyramids, oceans, and, strangely, a solar system revolving in the sky overhead, the player must contact an ancient civilization and awaken it with the power of his or her mind. Combining usTwo’s unique art sensibilities and approach to interactive storytelling with Samsung Gear VR, Land’s End is now available in the Oculus store. You can order the Samsung Gear here, to get the best experience while playing.
6 Awesome Video Game Moms.
In case you were wondering, here’s a list of five amazing moms that appear in various games, as noted in a Mother’s Day post by Twinfinite. There are, of course, some that are nurturing and loving, but others take the idea of Mother Love to some powerful extremes.
- Sonya Blade (Mortal Kombat X): Her daughter Cassie Cage later becomes a sergeant and badass in her own right.
- Allie (Ni No Kuni): She dies as the game begins but is the motivation for everything her little son Oliver does.
- Mrs. Chu (Sleeping Dogs): She doesn’t care that her son’s a hardcore criminal, she’ll kill for him. As Twinfinite notes, “She’s a hard woman who loves even harder.”
- Samara (Mass Effect): When she discovers her daughter Morinth is a demon, she spends centuries chasing her down to protect the innocents who may become her victims.
- Jun Kazama (Tekken): This much-loved character practices peace and tranquility, but fiercely fights off the Devil when he tries to possess her son.
- Mother Brain (Metroid): Okay, so she wants what’s best for the Chozo and just happens to decide that means destroying them. But what the hey, Mother knows best.
Here’s the video of the preview for Monument Valley 2.
Featured image: Video screengrab via Monument 2 preview/usTwo Games.