I’m not much for staring at abstract paintings, or even some of the classics, and consistently being “wowed” by them. Art is in the eye of the beholder, after all. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate it, and there are a handful of pieces I saw in my travels to Europe that took my breath away.
But what if those displays of emotion, affection, beauty, and just existence came to life in a video game? The Master’s Pupilreaches that mark on several levels. It’s simplistic in its mechanics but beautifully constructed in its design.
The Master’s Pupil is beautiful
Solo developer Pat Naoum has constructed a game he spent years building. It wasn’t necessarily the gameplay that took so long, but the environment you’re traversing. The world is the life of the legendary artist Claude Monet.
You’ll move through each of the 12 stages with a simple jump, sometimes pushing objects to make your way through some of the puzzles. Nothing is all that complex, but some take a few moments of pause.
As the player, you’re moving through Monet’s life, piece by piece. The Master’s Pupil takes you through the artist’s journey and literally through his paintings; at times, you help complete some of these masterpieces without even knowing it. When that is revealed, and the painting is displayed before you, it is shockingly touching.
In The Eye Of The Beholder
Developer and artist Pat Naoum created every aspect of this game. The art itself and the way the world unravels before you make this experience so unique and special. Naoum has made a beautiful piece of art himself while showing players what legends before him have created.
As I mentioned, the gameplay isn’t anything you haven’t seen before. Thankfully, you’re in excellent hands as Naoum drew every landscape, foreground, and background piece. In various videos online, he speaks about drawing on an art tablet and converting his work into the game world.
A surprising amount of emotion comes through in The Master’s Pupil. With no dialogue, some simple but effective sound design, and a quiet score, I didn’t expect to be so affected by this game. Monet’s life wasn’t all accomplishments and art; it was struggle and sadness at times, and The Master’s Pupil conveys that beautifully.
This is one of those games that needs to be played to appreciate just how beautiful it is. It does a great job taking the “show, don’t tell” idea and allowing you, the player, to experience it.
The Master’s Pupil may not be complex in mechanics and gameplay, but it doesn’t have to be. The developer has created art, just like the pieces you uncover throughout the game.
[The publisher provided a copy of the game for review purposes.]
Reviewed on: Switch
Beautifully created world
Simple mechanics allow you to appreciate the art even more