It's the holidays, and the hustle and bustle of December always take its toll on people. Meeting deadlines, holiday shopping, long lines, family gatherings, the time of joy and cheer is often overshadowed by the stress of reality. In small moments, we often feel comfort with family or friends, but many times they feel fleeting, and we look for other ways to escape the stress surrounding us. Video games a way of solace for many people; it is a form of escapism that helps us survive that onslaught. Sometimes we look for the bombastic, the large-scale game to provide entertainment, but sometimes something simple can really scratch that itch instead. For me, I found such solace in Glass Masquerade, a small puzzle game from indie developer Onyx Lute.
Yes, Glass Masquerade is a simple game, featuring 25 puzzles based on Art Deco designs that feature a worldly aesthetic. There really isn't much else to say about it, the puzzles are somewhat straight-forward in terms of difficulty, and the overall graphical aesthetic is fantastic from a visual standpoint. The puzzles are basically filling in clocks with stained glass shards. Your shards are all hidden until selected, and when picked you need to figure out where to fit them in the puzzle.
Most of the puzzles are relatively simple, taking between five and eight minutes to complete. My longest time was roughly 19 minutes on one puzzle, but overall the game itself is not really a challenge in the sense we would expect. There is also little to do after you complete all the puzzles, other than improving your time in solving them. Ultimately the game is bare bones as a puzzle title in terms of content and longevity.
In terms of presentation, however, Glass Masquerade has that in spades. As mentioned earlier, the game is visually impressive. Each puzzle is a fantastic design, representing 25 different countries by showing a piece of their culture or history. We see Sherlock Holmes on the case for Britain, the Statue of Liberty for the United States, or a herd of elephants for Tanzania. Each puzzle design is also unique, as we get circular clocks, square clocks, angular clocks, and others. Geometric shapes, small shards and styles, the variety of puzzles is quite good, despite the short number of them to solve.
The highlight of the game is easily the music. The score is composed by Nikita Sevalnev. Sevalnev crafted five major tracks for Glass Masquerade, each of them serene pieces of orchestral work. On his website, Sevalnev notes that he hopes his arrangements “fully convey the mood and smooth atmosphere in music.” For me, Sevealnev's wish comes true. The soundtrack of the game was fantastic, offering a relaxing tone with subtly epic piano arrangements and otherworldly music.
The music, combined with the visuals gives Glass Masquerade a “style over substance” vibe, but it is the perfect storm of aesthetics to really push it over the top. Perhaps it is the time of year that puts this all into a different perspective; Glass Masquerade is the perfect type of go-to game to sit and relax with. It’s not a big title, but it’s an in-between title, one to play in-between stressful times or massive game sessions.
It would take maybe three hours to finish the whole game, but Glass Masquerade is not a game to marathon. It is the kind of relaxing, cathartic experience that really hits a sweet spot in terms of its overall value. Some may be turned off by the lack of replay ability, or find the puzzles less than challenging, but the real secret in enjoying Glass Masquerade is to sit down and relax. It becomes therapeutic in the only way small, simple games can be, and in that respect, Glass Masquerade is a good game, proving that a simple pleasure is perhaps the best way to go sometimes.
Glass Masquerade offers what it says it is and doesn’t hold back on content despite its short length. For an indie puzzle game, it works just fine as it is. It has a good value and enough content to be a distraction for a few hours and provides the perfect escape from long game sessions or real life pressures in its own simple way.
Onyx Lute's Glass Masquerade is a good puzzler on Steam, proving that a simple pleasure is perhaps the best way to go sometimes.
- Beautiful Style...
- Excellent Music...
- Good Value
- ...Lacking Tons of Substance.
- ...Relatively Easy Gameplay.