Capsule Review: Glass Masquerade

A puzzle game in which you reassemble stained glass images from separated pieces, jigsaw-puzzle-style. Each image is themed after a particular country and presented as a clock face as part of the fictional “International Times Exhibition.” The game is beautiful and relaxing, though a few design decisions mar the experience slightly and the overall package is a little thin.

There are twenty-five puzzles in the base game. On PC, there are additional puzzles available as DLC - they do not seem to be available on other platforms. (Definitely not on Switch, where I played the game.) The level selection screen is a world map and for some reason most puzzles start out locked - the player starts in western Europe and each solved puzzle unlocks its neighbors. They aren’t ordered by difficulty - the first puzzles are medium-difficulty, and both easier and harder puzzles are unlocked as the player progresses. While bizarre, this doesn’t end up mattering much since difficulty is just about the number of pieces the image has been separated into and even the hardest puzzles are well under a hundred pieces. None took me more than half an hour.

The actual process of solving puzzles has a couple of quirks as well. Available pieces are displayed on concentric ring fragments around the puzzle frame which can be rotated to reveal more pieces. Turning a fragment on one side causes the fragment on the other side to turn as well, but pieces only cycle on each fragment individually - they aren’t actually connected. The pieces themselves are also slightly obscured - they are shown only as outlines until selected, hiding their color, and they have thick borders which disappear when placed into the puzzle, distorting their shape. On the other hand, there’s a hint system to help get each puzzle started - a handful of pieces are marked with anchor points indicating where they line up with similar points on the puzzle’s perimeter. This can be disabled, but I liked it and left it on.

For me, the quirks weren’t enough to ruin the experience created by the aesthetic and atmosphere. The lack of time limits or other pressure and overall easy difficulty prevented any frustration, and the soothing music and beautiful artwork kept things pleasant and relaxing. The game was over quickly and I don’t see a reason to revisit it, but it was an enjoyable way to unwind while it lasted.

I Stopped Playing When: I finished the game by solving all twenty-five puzzles.

Docprof's Rating:

Three Stars: Good. I liked the game enough to finish it (or just play it a bunch, for games that don't end). I recommend it to most genre fans.

You can get it or learn more here.