I've been playing a couple of neat iOS games.
UsTwo's Monument Valley
is a beautiful puzzle platformer inspired by the works of M. C. Escher. The world is full of impossible 3D objects; you can rotate and slide some bits of them. The clever idea is that if something looks like you can walk across it, then you can walk across it. So if something is impassible at one angle, you turn it until it looks passible. And then it is.
For example, you need to get the princess up to that button there (SPOILER):
Which means you'll have to get her on top of that yellow totem. But how? She can't climb.
But suppose you put the totem there. It's just a trick of perspective that the top of the totem looks like it's level with that pillar on the left there.
So it's snap to get on the totem now...
And then you can get to the button.
It's also beautiful in a minimalist way. Lisa, who never plays games, tried a level, and decided she better not continue, or she'd fall into it.
It is a short experience -- maybe 3 hours? And there's not a lot of replayability. But for $3.99, it's terrific.
Meanwhile, DragonBox has a new game. They did a lovely job with DragonBox Algebra, which teaches your five-year-old to do algebra. Elements is teaching my 10-year-old to solve geometric proofs. How do you prove that square is square?
Both of these games try to do one thing, and do it super well. They are fun and elegant at the same time.
It's funny, but though I'm a narrative designer, I don't necessarily need a story. Elegant gameplay does it for me, too.
Even if you don't have a kid, you might dig these. If you have a kid, I think you'll definitely dig these.