Review: Glass Masquerade

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Review copy provided by developer

Most puzzle games rely on their mechanics to carry their success, often with little consideration for the aesthetics. Indeed, it’s the rare puzzle game that both delights the senses and taxes the brain, but in the end the gameplay is what’s key. Glass Masquerade turns that around a bit, putting a huge amount of emphasis on its impressive visuals and details. That’s not to say the mechanics are lacking, but much of the appeal is tied up in just how beautiful it is. And I don’t think I really need to convince you how beautiful it is.

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You are a visitor to the International Times Exhibition, a showcase of works from around the world. The focus, apparently, is on artisanal clocks that have had all their ornate glass faces busted out. That leaves it to you to reassemble them into the breathtaking pieces they’re meant to be. These puzzle challenges are laid out on a world map, unlocking trickier clocks in other nations as you progress out from your starting point in Paris. With 28 clocks to fix, you’re bound to be working on this one for a few hours.

Mechanically, it’s a jigsaw puzzle. Each level presents you with a hollow clock frame, surrounded by silhouettes of fragments. At the start some are red and marked with rings, indicating starting pieces that can easily be set against identical rings in the frame. From there you’re on your own slotting pieces into the right spots on the frame, a task made considerably more difficult by only showing you silhouettes until you click on the piece. Puzzles can have anywhere from 20 to 50 pieces, and if the pattern doesn’t occur to you immediately it can take up to 10 minutes to complete the puzzle. The interface is simple and clean enough, but the pieces can be hard to sift through and the rotating menus they’re on are sorted in a very non-intuitive way.

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These are minor concerns in the face of how delightful Glass Masquerade is to just move around in. The Art Deco style of the clocks is bright and bold, and every picture is a pleasure to watch form from your stained glass pieces. Rich sound effects for every movement, from selection to placement, further the gratification in ways conventional puzzles simply cannot match. It’s the style and the polish that make this one, elevating the simple mechanics to something enriching and relaxing. If you’re in the mood for some chill puzzling with breathtaking art, this title is absolutely not to be missed.

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