Monument Valley: a beautiful new app from ustwo

Digital design studio ustwo has released a teaser video for their latest project – an Escher inspired interactive puzzle app.

Digital design studio ustwo has released a teaser video for their latest project – an Escher inspired interactive puzzle app.

Monument Valley is described as a hand-crafted combination of puzzle, graphic design and architecture. Users have to guide a princess through a series of mysterious monuments by uncovering hidden paths, platforms and doorways while avoiding ominous looking Crow People.

The app is still in testing but from what we’ve seen, it’s addictive and beautifully designed. Visuals are inspired by Escher’s optical illusions, Japanese prints and minimalist 3D design, says ustwo, and designer Ken Wong claims the user experience is “somewhere between exploring a toy shop and reading The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe”. It’s intuitive but challenging, the puzzles are cleverly designed and the attention to detail throughout is impressive.

Based in London, Malmo and New York, ustwo was founded by Matt Miller and John Sinclair in 2004. The pair have designed interfaces for some of the world’s biggest brands – and for every Sony Bravia TV – and they’ve been creating innovative apps since the iPhone’s release in 2007.

In 2010, shortly after the iPad was launched, ustwo released Granimator, a series of apps allowing users to interact with the work of graphic artists and create designs to share via Twitter and Facebook. (You can read our July 2010 feature on the studio here).

The studio has also enjoyed huge success with photo sharing and gaming apps: psychedelic game Whale Trail, in which users have to guide a flying whale named Willow, has been downloaded by millions and photo sharing app Rando, which anonymously sends users’ images to other users elsewhere in the world, was downloaded more than 200,000 times in the two months after its launch. Monument Valley has a lot to live up to – but it could be the studio’s most engrossing app yet.

To sign up for beta access to the app, click here.

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