Puzzle games come in many forms these days. We have a bucket-full of logic-based and casual puzzles from Lightwood Games, Puzlogic will rattle your brain on both PC and Mobile (soon), A Fisherman’s Tale will blow your mind in VR, and the Artifex Mundi titles mix narrative stories with enjoyable puzzles. However, we also have some calm and relaxing puzzles out there for the more casual puzzle fans, games such as Glass Masquerade from Onyx Lute and Digerati.
Glass Masquerade is a beautiful and magnificent jigsaw puzzle in which you must put together the broken pieces of a stained glass window whilst being entertained by calm, relaxing music. But, just why did I spend over 6 hours playing this game pre-launch in order to get the platinum when all the puzzles are vaguely similar? Let’s find out…
There is no story within Glass Masquerade although I don’t know why you would expect one to be honest. In my head, I imagined that either a vandal or an earthquake had smashed all of the beautiful stained glass windows from various churches around the world and it’s your job – as a master window-fixer – to get to work on putting them back together. Okay, it’s not the best backstory which I probably could have come up with, but this is a puzzle game which is focused on its puzzles, no story needed here!
As I mentioned above, Glass Masquerade is a jigsaw puzzle, but it doesn’t use your usual jigsaw pieces, every single piece of glass is a different shape. If you’ve ever played an Artifex Mundi title or a game which uses standard puzzles in it at some point, you may have had to construct letters or images within a game before – Glass Masquerade basically works the same way.
The main issue/difficulty aspect here is that it’s rather impossible to judge where a piece goes based on the image – which is how you would solve most jigsaw puzzles. As it’s a stained glass window, the images are rather abstract and full of colour to the point where you never actually know what the next bit of glass will look like in terms of colour or imagery.
So, how do you solve a jigsaw puzzle without focusing on the image? A lot of guesswork, trial and error and logic-based deduction are all your friends as you strive to rebuild these magnificent masterpieces. You see, initially, you’re given a few pieces which are highlighted, these have small blips on them which match up to blips on the silhouette of the glass-less window – these are the equivalent of ‘do the corner pieces first’. They create a solid foundation of where to start as the game figuratively throws you a bone to lend a hand.
Once the seed has been laid (the few initial pieces), then you can build upon them by looking for pieces around the side of the puzzle which have a similar offset within them which looks like the two can spoon next to each other as they slip into place. However, just to make it a little more difficult, the developers have decided that all the pieces around the edge, which you need to fit, are black and don’t show you the image upon the glass until you select it, and they aren’t in their correct orientation.
That’s right, you may see a shape that looks like an ‘m’ yet when you grab it, it may actually be an E, 3, or W shape! Thankfully, you don’t have to manually rotate the pieces – if you did, I would have been on the game a lot longer than six hours! But, the fact the pieces don’t show you their image or correct orientation until selected certainly does increase the base difficulty, especially in the later puzzles.
Take your time
so, is this all you do? Piece together beautiful windows as a lovely tune invades your ears and creates a safe place for you to forget about your worries and simply rebuild that which is broken? Yup. But that’s certainly not a bad thing! One of the first things you may notice is the fact that all of these glass windows actually appear to have a clock face upon them – maybe they aren’t from churches and are actually from foreign equivalents of renaissance Big Bens? Either way, the clock ticks away as you ‘Bob the Builder’ it, with the final time taken presenting itself at the end of a successful glueing session.
The catch here is that Glass Masquerade doesn’t care about the time it takes to skillfully slot the pieces together, it just tells you your time for your own personal information. For example, I spent over eight hours on one puzzle because I fell asleep whilst doing it – I still got the trophy. Speaking of which – Trophy hunters, get your finger over to the ‘buy’ button right now – yeah, it may take about 5-6 hours to complete, as each puzzle will take you 10-20 minutes based on your keen eyes, but the platinum is obtained by simply completing all 25 puzzles.
That’s it – no silly time requirements, no completing without mistakes or whilst sat upside down and reciting ‘Mary had a little Lamb’ as your friend spins you around on your head. A nice, straight forward trophy list which everyone can achieve as they progress throughout the game.
If the images above don’t instantly cause your eyeballs to melt with their gorgeous colours and beautiful ye olde imagery, then you clearly don’t appreciate art. As you travel from country to country, you’ll unlock a wide variety of styles and designs which all look very nice and bright. My one wish would be for the ability to unlock a gallery of sorts, so you can look at the images you’ve unlocked and maybe take a screenshot to use as a wallpaper or something? Upon completion, the clockface appears and the image doesn’t look as ‘clean’ anymore. Plus, if you re-enter one you’ve completed, it starts again, thus not showing you the beauty of the final image.
The music is very calm and relaxing, just like we see/hear in the Lightwood Games games, but it does repeat quite a bit and can get a bit monotonous sounding once you’re near the end of your six-hour single playthrough streak! My advice, maybe don’t play it through in one go – savour it and play one or two regions at a time. I have shown this game to three people and my parents, all of them agree that it’s a perfect relaxation game which requires no logic skills, no thought process, no quick reflexes, nothing. A shaved monkey or a blob could play this game and still have fun and achieve the platinum. However, I don’t condone housing a blob or shaving a monkey to test this theory…
One thing I’m not too keen on is the mouse/controller acceleration. As you move around with the left Stick, the movement seems to have the same acceleration you’d see in PC games where it speeds up to mouse to let you move the cursor from one side of the screen to the other with less movement. This resulted in me having to move in short bursts so I didn’t fly all over the screen (see my video below). It’s not a massive negative impact, but it as very noticeable and mildly annoying.
Two puzzles (15 mins of gameplay):
If you’re looking for a nice looking game to relax and wind down with, Glass Masquerade fits the bill perfectly. It’s a jigsaw puzzle in which the image isn’t the key to solving it, the curves and angles of each of the shapes are. This adds a new level of difficulty to the game as well as gives you a great sense of achievement once you successfully slot several slivers in succession. I love that the timer is there purely as a ‘git gud’ mechanic and doesn’t actually halt gameplay or deal any kind of punishment/restriction on those who take their time. Glass Masquerade is quite simply the perfect game to play when you have a spare moment and want to relax.
Trophy hunters and casual puzzle fans should be rushing over to the PSN store right now – it’s a nice easy platinum hidden within a very enjoyable and soothing game. However, it’s about five-six hours long, so don’t expect to be in and out within a matter of minutes like some other easy platinums. All I ask for now is the bonus levels and the sequel make their way to current consoles and Glass Masquerade to come to the PS Vita with a separate trophy list…Share this article!
- - Very relaxing and great to wind down with
- - The glass images all look spectacular
- - Nice and easy platinum with no annoyingly hard to beat tasks
- - Very colourful and fun for all the family
- - No time limits or punishments for taking your time
- - No way to view the completed artwork (from what I can see)
- - Doesn't include the DLC which is on Steam at the moment
- - Mouse acceleration implemented within the controller movement