December 9, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

Monument Valley II | Touch and Go

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Monument Valley ll (ustwo Games LTD)

The original Monument Valley app, released in 2014, garnered much attention (Frank Underwood of House of Cards was a fan), and a number of awards. Now, the long-awaited sequel is here.

The world of Monument Valley is one of soaring arches, shifting stairways, lapping waters, and unfathomable spaces. Footsteps echo as viewers guide two tiny characters through mazes that defy physics while obeying strict laws of their own.

Monument Valley ll (ustwo Games LTD, iOS $4.99; Gr 3 Up) takes advantage of every ounce of the audio and visual range available on the iPad and iPhone. The music manages to be evocative and restrained at the same time, and sound effects—doors closing, the grating of stone, and an occasional animal—are crisp and elegant. Precise color gradients, while extremely beautiful, also offer subtle clues, as pathways emerge or disappear at a touch.

Difficulty increases within each level as well as within the game as a whole—and though some levels are particularly vexing, the solution will always occur, as there are not that many options within each level (backtracking is possible).

The original Monument Valley was a marvelous app, and users might well have been content with a game that merely added levels to the original. Monument Valley ll, however, features a new character, a new story line (complete with cryptic pronouncements by another set of tiny authority figures, who may or may not be ghosts this time), and a spectacular mandala maker that closes each of the first set of levels. Drag a point of white light in loops or jagged lines, and the program will translate that into a five-armed design. This feature alone is worth the price of admission. A trailer is available. VERDICT Is it magic? Or is it geometry? Monument Valley ll is a game that will be savored.Paula Willey,

Monument Valley ll (ustwo Games LTD)

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Daryl Grabarek About Daryl Grabarek

Daryl Grabarek is the editor of School Library Journal's monthly enewsletter, Curriculum Connections, and its online column Touch and Go. Before coming to SLJ, she held librarian positions in private, school, public, and college libraries. Her dream is to manage a collection on a remote island in the South Pacific.

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