Many puzzle games twist the mind with abstract problems contrived with intuitive solutions to keep a particular set of goals to keep the game from growing stale. While these formulas often work in many modern puzzle games we see today, occasionally it’s nice to return to the tried and true recipe of jigsaw styled puzzle solving. Glass Masquerade offers a more traditional take on the genre requiring players to piece abnormal shaped pieces together to form an alluring piece of stained glass artwork. Nothing more, nothing less, making for a casually pleasant puzzling experience.
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Upon firing up Glass Masquerade players have the only option of jumping into one of the few available puzzles. There’s no multiplayer option, no campaign or other game modes, just simply solving the glass stained puzzles. Entering the game players are met with a map of the world with specific countries marked for each puzzle. Puzzles are ranked out of five stars depending on the difficulty level. The game starts players off in the European countries with a few two and three star leveled puzzles to help introduce players to the mechanics, but eventually dive in to tougher challenges the further you spread out across the globe.
Each puzzle represents an iconic image presented in stained glass that suits the country of origin it’s tied to. Japan’s artistic puzzle shows an elegant Geisha, India depicts an illustration of Ganesha and the United States is an art-deco scene of New York City. Other exotic countries like Greenland, Tanzania and Mongolia are among the twenty-five available locations that all create unique visual works of art through breathtaking stained glass pictures. Completing each puzzle gives the player a vivid view of the artistic inspiration behind each country which helps keep nearly every puzzle diverse enough from one to the next.
An Art Museum Of The World
The start of every puzzle offers players a handful of edge pieces to help get the puzzle established. With a blank slate and dozens of uniquely shaped jigsaw pieces, it’s important to take advantage of the starting pieces which act as anchors for starting the puzzle. While these beginning pieces won’t give away too much of each puzzle’s design, it does allow numerous “points of attack” for the many trial and error tactics that makes up much of the puzzle solving gameplay. Most of the edge pieces are easy to figure out when cycling through the collection of jigsaw pieces, but the many obscurely cut center pieces create a much more tedious strategy later on in most of the puzzles presented.
After the early pieces have been set in place, players must use keen observation skills in order to clarify which piece is placed next. Matching outlines and distinct shapes is a crucial element in completing each puzzle, but as there’s no time limit in when one puzzle must be finished, trial and error works just as well. Though, every puzzle does utilize a stop watch feature to track how quickly one can complete each puzzle, the laid back approach in taking as long as you’d like to finish each puzzle and still move on to the next is awfully rewarding.
The first few puzzles to start off are great at introducing players to the feel and gameplay of Glass Masquerade. The simple circular or square-shaped art pieces provide a simple outline for each of the early puzzles, yet, the later puzzles come in much more complex designs. Four and five-star rated puzzles come with upwards of fifty puzzle pieces that are broken up into large and small curvy, slanted and jagged shapes sometimes offering distinguished patterns helping them fit into specific pattern-matching areas.
Fun, Relaxing And Incredibly Casual
Players move forward and progress in Glass Masquerade by simply completing each puzzle. Once one puzzle has finished, the next in line opens up. There’s no unnecessary time limit to finish each puzzle in order to progress further, but simply finishing a puzzle once is enough to move the game forward. Puzzles may also be exited mid-play as progress is saved after every fitted piece, allowing for breaks from current challenges. My playtime with Glass Masquerade found average times anywhere from 3 minutes to nearing 20 minutes to complete. Each puzzle hides its identity so the challenge of not knowing what art design you’re piecing together adds to the trivial experience.
Throughout the game players will piece together wonderful stained glass works of art inspired by their coordinating country of origin to the sounds of the soothing musical score. While there’s not a specific song for each and every puzzle to match its country’s roots, a few puzzles stick out from the crowd with region specific songs. The entire soundtrack flawlessly relaxes the player to the sounds of orchestrated beauty. The casual method of piece placement, focused jigsaw puzzle solving and artistic discovery blends extremely well with the lifting sounds of the musical score.
With all of the components executed properly within Glass Masquerade, it would have been nice to see more features added to the game. Maybe challenge puzzle solving veterans with an online leaderboard, add various time-challenge modes or other unique game modes. The one-and-done method of the current build will wear thin after all of the puzzles have been completed, unless you consider personal challenges of beating your previous record, in which you’ll find a bit more play time out of the game.
While there’s not much to the vibrant tellings of Glass Masquerade and its simple tactic of casual puzzle piecing, it does provide a relaxing break from the modern games painting the industry today. Glass Masquerade is perfect for those looking to dive into the artistic worlds from across the globe while taking on moderately challenging puzzles at the pace of their own leisure.
Glass Masquerade is a delightful and laid back approach to traditional puzzle solving. The struggle of piecing together complex stained glass works of art never boils over to the point of frustration as players are free to complete each puzzle within their own time constraints. The ease of progression is merely restrained by the completion of each puzzle, offering a simple method for experiencing everything the game has to offer. With every mood setting song fit sublimely into the theme of whichever puzzle you’re tasked with solving, Glass Masquerade is about as pleasant as a puzzle-based game can get.