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The Aesthetically-Pleasing Puzzle Game That's Not Candy Crush

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I’m not a gamer. I’m not really even much of a game player, but I am a frenetic organizer. I like games that fight Murphy’s law—where things in chaos become orderly. But I have to admit, I’m never in a better spiritual place after 20 minutes of Candy Crush- ing. Instead, try exhausted from creating and quelling all that organizational anxiety. What's supposed to be a brain break on my commute to work turns into several levels of internal turmoil that don't necessarily go away when I close out of the app. It's not something I can endorse in good conscience.

What I can endorse instead is Monument Valley, and it’s one of the most beautiful things you’ll ever stare at for 20 minutes at a time—the kind of beautiful that’s inspiring, not stupefying. It’s a world inspired by the work of M.C. Escher, prince of incredible structures and metamorphosing shapes, and you will fall in love inside of it. You play a princess (naturally), and your goal is to navigate her through these impossible places. You don’t fight or battle. Your only task is to get her through some of the most wonderfully intricate game spaces you’ll ever see. You make friends with a totem pole and enemies with crows. In short, it’s the game that will save you from your morning commute.

With the dramatic shift in perspective and paradigm, you can almost feel yourself blasting new neural pathways of creative thought. It’s calming, but also (and I never use this world) exhilarating—this vertiginous, dreamlike quality of being inside a world with a logic and language that is not your own.Expect to have better, more original ideas throughout the day. Apparently Frank Underwood already figured this out. Once you play, you'll start to understand my passionate rantings a little better.

On a final note: Don’t forget the headphones—the music is what fully transports you to somewhere magical. Welcome to your new virtual and malleable reality. It’s a beautiful place.

—Trace Barnhill

Photos via Monument Valley.

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