When I was fourteen I was taken on a school trip to an art gallery. The function of the trip was to teach us to appreciate art and come to terms with how it made us feel. Of course, being fourteen, I pretended I cared little for what was on display. However, deep down, I felt touched by what I saw and wished dearly that I could express that. Now that I’m a decade older I feel I am better equipped – in other words, more mature – to express how art affects me without feeling the need to deflect and make snide comments. So, I am happy to admit that not only did I feel an unbridled sense of joy as I played through Please, Touch The Artwork’s many excellent puzzles, but I also felt intrinsically moved by it and its beautifully crafted structure.
“Please, Touch The Art has managed the impossible by seamlessly merging the art of art extraordinaire Piet Mondrian and masterfully crafted puzzle gameplay.”
I feel like, when reviewing a game like Please, Touch The Artwork, I must approach it differently from a typical review. Whereas say a game like RITE, a meticulously crafted platformer that prioritises gameplay above all else, deserves to be reviewed in the more traditional sense, Please, Touch The Artwork requires a more emotion-driven response. While it is gameplay heavy in its own right, it is, as the title would suggest, more akin to a work of art than most other games I have reviewed.
This is largely due to the fact that developer Thomas Waterzooi has managed the impossible by seamlessly merging the art of art extraordinaire Piet Mondrian and masterfully crafted puzzle gameplay. It creates an unparalleled sense of immersion, an unprecedented ability to quite literally touch the artwork, and of course, be simultaneously touched by it. This new method of approaching art and our ability to interact with it allows for a newfound form of appreciation for art.
“Whereas some puzzles bleed into one another like a complex and ever-evolving pattern, others are tied together by a richly evocative narrative or an accessibly detailed history lesson.”
Much like playing with one’s food, Please, Touch The Artwork gave me the opportunity to shape and mould famous pieces of artwork in new and interesting ways. Suffice to say, I’ve never felt so connected, so close and in tune with art before. All of this is only heightened by the game’s presence on the Nintendo Switch, which allows for an even greater level of connection with the art on-screen. It truly is the perfect platform for this experience.
The entire package is tied together quite nicely by a gorgeous sense of presentation. Each set of puzzles is treated like a painting in an art gallery, hosted by a witty and at times hilarious curator. Whereas some puzzles bleed into one another like a complex and ever-evolving pattern, others are tied together by a richly evocative narrative or an accessibly detailed history lesson. This only elevates the experience, offering unique ways of approaching each painting and learning about the person behind it all.
“Regardless of how you approach it, you’re in for a relaxingly serene time with Please, Touch The Artwork.”
While I’m certain that Please, Touch The Artwork’s ingenious blending of both puzzle gameplay and beautiful artwork is genius in and of itself, many will want to know whether or not its puzzles are actually any fun. Of course, they are. Each puzzle is distinct from the other, taking inspiration from the art itself and utilising that to create creative and craftily made puzzles.
Some are marginally easier than others, offering a more emotionally driven experience rather than a gameplay-focused one. However, they all offer up some form of challenge and will take a minute or two to figure out. That being said, you won’t find yourself scratching your head as you mindlessly tap on the screen. Most puzzles have a self-explanatory solution that can be found with an inquisitive mindset.
Even should you get stuck, Please, Touch The Artwork makes it extremely easy to back out of a puzzle and attempt a different one. The game’s laidback atmosphere – which is permeated by smooth ethereal jazz – also makes it impossible to succumb to the stress commonly associated with puzzle games. Regardless of how you approach it, you’re in for a relaxingly serene time with Please, Touch The Artwork.
“Thomas Waterzooi’s outstandingly impressive and successful merging of both art and puzzle gameplay is truly exceptional.”
I love covering indie games for the sole reason that they tend to offer innovations that I never thought possible. Thomas Waterzooi’s outstandingly impressive and successful merging of both art and puzzle gameplay is truly exceptional and makes for a phenomenally evocative experience. I cannot stress enough how spectacular this work of art is, and how urgently each and every one of you need to play it.