Glass Masquerade 2: Illusions (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Renan Fontes 24.02.2020

Review for Glass Masquerade 2: Illusions on Nintendo Switch

There's nothing quite like sitting down with a jigsaw puzzle. Beyond the general relaxation that comes with focusing so intently on putting those together, jigsaw puzzles offer opportunities for one to refine their eye for detail. Most children's puzzles are simple enough to get through, but jigsaw puzzles designed for adults often provide engaging challenges in the assembly process. Featuring images based on 20th century stained glass art, Glass Masquerade 2: Illusions is a surreal puzzle-solving experience perfect for both newcomers and jigsaw veterans alike.

It's not often a puzzle goes out of way to set a mood, but Glass Masquerade 2 does not cut any corners when it comes to atmosphere. Aesthetically, there's a dreamlike filter rippling through the background that accentuates the already beautifully drawn images. Stylized after stained glass, each jigsaw puzzle assembles into a work of art, drawing inspiration from both the general aesthetic of the early-mid 20th century.

Screenshot for Glass Masquerade 2: Illusions on Nintendo Switch

Not just that, the tone of the art dips into the works of Lewis Carroll - specifically Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There - adding a sinister layer to the already moody atmosphere. Coupled with Nikita Sevalnev's ethereal score, solving a jigsaw puzzle has never been so creepy - which is something worth mentioning. Many assemble jigsaw puzzles to relax, but Onyx Lute sticks to their aesthetic with diligence, often resulting in some disturbing images. Art should spur a reaction, and these more visceral puzzles absolutely have their place, but it's worth pointing out for those looking averse to unpleasant or uncomfortable imagery.

That said, nothing pushes the line too much. With a Wonderland theme in place, it perhaps goes without saying that most of the images can be a bit hard to comprehend during the assembly process. Not in the sense where pieces don't logically fit together (most puzzles feature more than enough visual cues), but what's being depicted in the image isn't always grounded in reality. That in itself adds to the puzzle solving process, but assembling surreal art is something better suited towards veteran puzzle solvers than beginners.

Screenshot for Glass Masquerade 2: Illusions on Nintendo Switch

Thankfully, Glass Masquerade 2 recognizes the gap between the skill floor and ceiling for jigsaw puzzles, and opts to include two distinct difficulty modes: Normal and High. In Normal, all picked up pieces immediately rotate to their correct position. From there, players need only slot them into their appropriate slots. While this does remove quite a bit of challenge from the process, the jagged shapes of the pieces ensure there's still some brainwork involved. High requires players to rotate their pieces manually, recognizing when an image is turned incorrectly. Playing on Normal first is a good way of getting a sense for the image before heading into High, but going straight into High is fun in its own right. The light inclusion of a hint system also helps push players out the door.

Toggle-able on and off at any point in the options menu, the hint system highlights a few red puzzle pieces that latch onto the edge of the frame. Every frame in the game is round, but pieces are shattered fairly different and dramatically, to a point where it can sometimes be difficult to see configurations in plain sight. Red pieces knock out the first few moves and generally provide a fuller starting board. It's good they can be turned off, and aren't an inherent part of the overall design, though. Red pieces are very much like training wheels. While it's entirely possible to have a satisfying play-through with the hint system perpetually on, Glass Masquerade 2 is at its best when it forces the audience to mull over a vibrant mosaic they can barely comprehend.

Screenshot for Glass Masquerade 2: Illusions on Nintendo Switch

Solving puzzles unlocks Keys and Shards, which can be used to traverse the overworld, but this is mainly just a way of keeping progression interesting. Most puzzle games opt for linear play-throughs, so it's refreshing to see one that includes branching paths, optional content, and a decent bit of variety. While the overworld is on the cluttered side, the UI for the actual puzzles is presented very tastefully. Pieces are lined up to the side with the round frame in the middle.

Cycling through pieces is fluid, but the lack of D-pad support is quite jarring. Not just that, placing a piece on the board is just a bit too slow. Not game-ruining, but noticeable and stiff. Traversing the overworld isn't exactly smooth either, and it's quite clear the controls were designed with a mouse in mind. That said, nothing is so problematic where it sours the title as a whole. For its faults, Glass Masquerade 2 is still a welcome addition to the puzzle genre, and anyone itching to solve some jigsaw puzzles scored to a haunting soundtrack owes it to themselves to try this out.

Screenshot for Glass Masquerade 2: Illusions on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

The words 'creepy' and 'moody' don't often come to mind when thinking about jigsaw puzzles, but that's the beauty of Glass Masquerade 2: Illusions. Puzzles often result in surreal imagery, and Nikita Sevalnev's soundtrack adds a chilling layer to the already ethereal atmosphere. With difficulty modes suited for both beginners and veterans of the jigsaw puzzle, Glass Masquerade 2 is a must play for anyone looking for more flavour in their puzzle games.

Developer

Onyx Lute

Publisher

Onyx Lute

Genre

Puzzle

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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