Gosh, it can be nice to kick back, maybe with a mug of tea, or glass of red, and just touch some artwork – almost literally.
In developer Thomas Waterzooi’s jazzy and gentle puzzler Please, Touch the Artwork, players will often be touching canvases and filling them with colour. If you’re playing on an Android or iOS device, the effect is emphasised as the touchscreen makes you feel like an amateur painter.
Waterzooi’s game has three different modes. The first of these is The Style gallery, which has you trying to recreate paintings by tapping the canvas in specific orders and places. There’s also the Boogie Woogie gallery that sees you sending little blue squares along the right paths, tapping them in the right order, to send them to their blue home.
Finally, there’s the New York gallery, which was my favourite since it required the least brain work (yes, I’m simple like that). This mode gets you to trace lines on a maze-like grid collecting letters to spell out a letter of some sort on increasingly complex grids. I found New York meditative, compulsive, and strangely affecting since the letters you’re collecting slowly spell out a tale of migrating to the big city in one’s youth.
The music is lilting and relaxing, with a piano-led score. Music is a major part of Please, Touch the Artwork, with jazz instrumentation being the main soundtrack. It’s used to good effect in the puzzles, as each part of a canvas is tied to a specific instrument – a snare, a clarinet – which plays as you tap the screen, although it could also annoy especially when puzzles get more difficult.
In The Style, players learn more about the emotional aspects of colour, while as you progress more information is revealed about the specific art styles and artists featured in the game. Waterzooi has employed the modernist and highly recognisable styles of artists Piet Mondrian, Kazimir Malevich, and Wassily Kandinsky. Their bold and impactful lines and colour use lend themselves well to the iPad Mini I used to play.
Waterzooi has handily included different difficulty settings although I couldn’t really tell much difference between them. Hardcore puzzlers might find the game too easy, but I’m not one of them. There is also a colourblind mode, which is much appreciated for those who need it.
In total, there are more than 150 levels across the modes, and while I found the puzzles in The Style somewhat frustrating, the game alleviates stress by leaving out timers and includes hints and is easy to reset or redo a tap.
Please, Touch the Artwork is a relaxing puzzler with just enough stimulation to engage players, while the intentionally low-pressure environment of the game and stylish menu screen that looks like an art gallery are a welcome balm in this era of over-stimulation. For those looking for a couch game to unwind with, I can safely recommend it. Please, Touch the Artwork is available now on Android and iOS, and on PC via Steam and itch.io, setting you back $3.99 on mobile and $9.99 on PC.
Score: 3.5/5. An iOS code was provided by the publisher for this review
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