Monument Valley (Video Game) - TV Tropes (2024)

No, your other up.

Ida the princess is on a quest for forgiveness. Despite the fragmented ruins of Monument Valley blocking her way, paths can be made, regardless of impossible geometries.

A game for iOS and Android, Monument Valley is an isometric puzzle game by ustwo games, where perspective is everything. A "Panoramic Edition" port to Microsoft Windows was released via Steam in 2022.

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

A sequel, Monument Valley 2, was released on June 5, 2017.

Tropes featured in Monument Valley include:

  • Alien Geometries: Impossible figures like the Penrose triangle recur throughout the game, and are often the key to progressing.
  • The Atoner: The game begins with a level "In Which Ida Embarks on a Quest for Forgiveness". What she's trying to atone for is gradually revealed as the game progresses. Ida was once the ruler of a tribe of birds, who stole the Sacred Geometry for herself. Not only did Ida doom an entire civilization, she also cursed her own people to wander through the aforementioned "Monument Valley" for eternity until she repented. Her punishment was to wander around as a faceless human until she put back the Sacred Geometry in their rightful places.
  • Bag of Holding: Ida's white conical hat carries several pieces of the Sacred Geometry. They were stolen by Ida; she's just putting them back.
  • Beautiful Void: The Valley is uninhabited apart from Ida, the crows, the Totem, and an occasional ghost whose comments hint at what befell the people who built the Monuments.
  • Bizarrchitecture: Thanks to the weird geometrical logic of the place, anything is possible. Need to go up? Go sideways.
  • Cave Behind the Falls: The "Lost Falls" level in Forgotten Shores has Ida climbing a narrow path up beside a high waterfall. The last part of the path leads into a cavern behind the waterfall before emerging again at the summit.
  • Creepy Crows: To some extent. While the crow people are fairly minor obstacles, they appear to be the only living beings in Monument Valley other than Ida and Totem, which is somewhat unnerving on its own.
  • Determinator: Ida's friend, the Totem. Not even being left behind an ocean can deter it from aiding her on her quest.
  • Due to the Dead: In level IX, Ida places a flower at the graves of the people she stole the Sacred Geometry from as a way to apologize for her actions.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The Totem. It suffers quite a lot on Ida's quest, from being left behind and drowning, to actually breaking into pieces. The last shot of the original game shows it reunited with its friend and sitting on a peaceful hill.
  • The Faceless: Ida and the Storyteller 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. It's later justified with Ida; when she stole the Sacred Geometry, she lost her memories of being a bird princess, with her face becoming a blank slate to represent this. She later regains her identity and true face after she repents her crimes. Also possibly justified with the spirits; as they are long dead, knowledge of who they were was lost over time.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In the temple where Ida meets the Storyteller for the first time, some of the architecture resembles a grayscale version of the Totem which shows up later.
    • The things the Storyteller says to Ida become relevant to the game's plot later on. At one point, they ask if she is like the crows who forgot who they were, and has forgotten her true self as well. Another time, they call her "thieving princess".
    • If you look at Ida from behind, you'll notice that she looks like a white version of the crows, giving an earlier hint of what her true form might be.
    • Ida spends the entire game putting things back in each level. In the past, she stole the Sacred Geometry, killing off an entire civilization and cursing both herself and her own people with Identity Amnesia, forever wandering the Monument Valley until Ida repented for her crimes and gave back the Sacred Geometry.
    • Ida, the Totem, and the crows are the only living things in Monument Valley. That's because the original residents of that area are all dead, presumably thanks to Ida stealing their Sacred Geometry.
    • A white crow with a crown mirrors Ida's movements when she descends into the depths of the valley, a hint at her true form.
    • In the valley where the original residents of the valley are buried, there's a picture on the wall of a white crow wearing a crown who is carrying a Sacred Geometry. This is Ida herself, where the picture is depicting her theft.
  • Forgiveness: What Ida is seeking for, implied by the description of one of the beginning levels in the main storyline. The kicker, as revealed in Level IX, is that no one from the civilization she stole from is left to forgive her for stealing the Sacred Geometry. The least she could do was put a flower at their graves as a form of apology.
  • 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). In Which Ida Discovers New Ways to Walk is one of the level titles, and it's referring to this.
  • Harmless Enemy: Since there's no way to die in this game, the Crows can't hurt Ida; the most they can do is block her path.
  • Haunted House Historian: The recurring Storyteller cryptically explains the nature of the valley.
  • Heroic Mime: Ida never speaks. She's even referred to as the "Silent Princess" by the Storyteller. A fairly understandable use of the trope, since there's not really anybody for her to talk to.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The Totem in Forgotten Shores. In one of the last levels of the expansion, Ida encounters a crushing rock trap blocking the path. The Totem intercepts it and endures repeated slamming and crushing for long enough to allow Ida to cross, at the cost of being smashed apart and falling into the depths of the chasm.
    • Subverted in the last level of the DLC, which involves either building a new Totem or rebuilding the old one.
  • Identity Amnesia: Stealing the Sacred Geometry turns one into an entirely different person, causing them to forget who they originally were. This is what happened to the crow people and Ida.
  • Interquel: Since the end of the game closes off the possibility of any future adventures of the same kind, the "Appendixes" of the add-on Forgotten Shores take place between chapters of the original; the final Appendix ends with Ida arriving at the beginning of the final chapter of the original game. Lampshaded by the spirit in Appendix IV:

    Storyteller: How many monuments have you restored? How many lie ahead? Forgetful princess confuses past, present, and future.

  • In Which a Trope Is Described: Every chapter has a short description that provides some measure of exposition.
  • It Amused Me: Presumably why Ida stole the Sacred Geometry in the first place. As a flying bird, she never needed any of it.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Deconstructed. Ida's theft of the Sacred Geometry cursed her people to live as mindless crows and killed off an entire civilization. The entire game has her returning all of the Sacred Geometry she stole. The spirits even call her "Thieving Princess". Ida spends the entire game putting things back.
  • Living Statue: The Totem. The only difference is that it's colored bright yellow and blue compared to the lifeless gray statues.
  • Meaningful Name: Ida is a Germanic name that means "work" or "labor". Which makes sense since she had to return all the Geometry she stole from Monument Valley in order to be restored as a bird princess.
  • Monument Valley (Video Game) - TV Tropes (2)Milestone Celebration: For the game's 5th anniversary, alternate costumes became available in each level for a limited time.
  • Mind Screw: To some extent. The game is based on M.C. Escher's works, after all.
  • Minimalist Cast: The only characters are Ida, the Totem, the Storyteller, and the recurring Crow enemies.
  • The Mirror Shows Your True Self: In the penultimate level, Ida passes by a mirror, and her reflection is a white bird with a crown.
  • Monochrome Apparition: The spirits Ida meets are colored light turquoise blue.
  • No Name Given: The recurring spirit who provides exposition is never named (and it's not made clear if they're even the same individual). In Crossy Road, where they're a guest character, they're known as "The Storyteller".
  • Perspective Magic: Thanks to the isometric nature of the world, a path may appear if the perspective is right.
  • Princesses Rule: Ida, who is consistently referred to as a princess throughout, appears to be the leader of the birds. She's got a shiny crown, at least.
  • Riding into the Sunset: At the end as Ida and the Crows are transformed back into Birds, they fly off together.
  • Shout-Out: Several of the levels in "Forgotten Shores" are directly inspired by M.C. Escher's lithographs. One includes a recreation of "Waterfall"; another mashes up several of his Gravity Screw pictures (and borrows several of his distinctive decorative touches, as well as being in grayscale to increase the resemblance to the lithograph prints).
  • Teamwork Puzzle Game:
    • The chapters featuring the Totem often require co-ordinating the movements of Ida and Totem and making use of their differing capabilities.
    • In "The Thief", Ida loses her hat, which is picked up and worn by one of the Crows. Since Ida needs her hat to exit the level, completion requires getting them both to the exit, with places where the Crow needs Ida's help to advance and places where Ida needs the Crow's help.
  • Title Drop: In their last appearance in the main game, the Storyteller tells Ida, "Sacred Geometry was our pride. Our downfall. But forever will our monuments stand in this valley."
  • Wham Episode: Level IX. It's revealed that a bird princess stole the Sacred Geometry that Ida has been putting back, presumably dooming an entire civilization to die. The bird princess is Ida herself. Ida later puts a flower at the graves of the people she stole from to apologize for her theft, Monument Valley (Video Game) - TV Tropes (3)but there's no one left to forgive her.
  • Wham Shot: In Level IX, Ida traverses a dark cavern located deep underground. The ending reveals the cavern to be a massive mausoleum in which the people Ida stole the Sacred Geometry from are buried.
Monument Valley (Video Game) - TV Tropes (2024)


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