Something that we often seem to forget as gamers is that a game doesn’t need to be an over-complicated opus to be good. We concentrate so hard now on games with huge story-lines, massive, open worlds and hours of gameplay that we forget that simple can be just as effective. Simple is definitely the case with regard to today’s review, Onyx Lute’s Glass Masquerade for the PS4. We just have to remember that simple, when it’s done well, is a beautiful thing.
Glass Masquerade is a jig-saw puzzling game that sees us examining and re-building clock faces from a series of glass shards. We are taken all over the globe and are given a clock in each country we visit. That’s it. There isn’t really any particular story to this title, just you and the clocks. You know what? I’m absolutely fine with this and for the most part I enjoyed this title immensely.
So Glass Masquerade invites you to the Interational Times Exhibition. Considering this is a global affair they really need to get less careless staff members because there are an awful lot of broken clocks. Each level gives you a clock which has it’s face missing. Around the edge of the screen is two wheels which contain a series of fragments which appear as silhouettes. All you need to do it put these piece back together to make up the face as create an image. The concept makes for really good fun and a very addictive game. The addictive nature of Glass Masquerade is actually part of it’s problem. I’ll explain why shortly.
Before I go into any negatives, and there really aren’t that many I want to say something about the look and feel of this title. First off the artwork is absolutely gorgeous. The stained-glass images that you’re piecing together are absolutely stunning and you get a real sense of achievement from completing each clock. Not just because you’ve solved the puzzle, but because you’ve created something really beautiful in doing so.
The musical score playing along as you move through the levels is really relaxing and soothing. It won’t win any medals but it does the job it needs to do. I never really notice videogame music and the fact that it’s stuck out as being something of note is an achievement in itself. Lastly, a little note on the controls. They are about as simple as you can get. You pick pieces from the wheel and drop them where you think they need to be. It’s not rocket science, so there really shouldn’t have been any issues here, and there aren’t. All in all, look and feel-wise this a a really good job very well done.
Each complete level opens up new countries for you to visit
So if the game plays great, looks great and sounds great there can’t really be any negatives right? Well aesthetically there absolutely aren’t. The problem this title has is that it’s way too easy. Each piece rotates to the direction it needs to be placed when you pick it up so it’s just a matter of dropping it where it needs to be. As with every jig-saw the levels get easier the more you progress and this means that you’ll shoot through them relatively quickly.
Each clock is graded by difficulty but I didn’t really noticed that one was massively harder than another. The only real difference of note was that harder clocks had more pieces. This makes sense but there wasn’t enough of a difference to stand out. You might be talking a difference of one level having thirty pieces and another having fifty. That twenty piece difference just made the level last bit longer but didn’t seem to make Glass Masquerade any harder.
Making an already easy game easier is that you are given starting pieces. The game tells you where to begin and lets you go from there. Incidentally these hints can be turned off which will make the game a bit trickier but I’m not sure whether it will make enough of a difference to add any real longevity to this title. I finished Glass Masquerade with a platinum in roughly three hours. As a puzzle fan I would have wanted a fair bit more because I was really enjoying myself. I have no issue spending an hour on one level if the difficulty demands it. That’s part of the fun of puzzling. It also felt like a bit of a cheap way of getting a plat. I’m not complaining though, it’s my first one, thank you very much devs.
You can look at this game in one of two ways. If you look at it as an experience, as a journey in art, I think you’ll get a lot out of it. As I’ve mentioned, on an aesthetic level this game is stunning and each of those clock faces is a work of art. If you’re only playing this game as a puzzler I think you’ll end up feeling a bit cheated. The other point to be made here is that Glass Masquerade isn’t a cheap title. Asking nearly £10.00 for the privilege of owning a copy is a bit steep for what you’re getting for your money. You can find other titles in the PS Store that will cost less and give you a lot more playtime.
If Glass Masquerade was longer, more difficult or less expensive I’d be giving it a ten out of ten. Sadly for the reasons I’ve mentioned it’s going to be losing a few points. This is a shame because in essence this is a brilliant game. If you’re willing to get a copy based on my opinion you’ll love this title, just don’t expect miracles if you’re looking for value for money.
This review is based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher.