Having a little guy running around your eye sounds like nightmare fuel. But The Master’s Pupil is nothing of the sort.
Yes, we still remember that scene from Prometheus. However, in The Master’s Pupil, coming soon to PC, you’re lending artist Claude Monet a much-needed hand. Why much-needed? Because, as skilled as Monet was, he developed cataracts in his 60s. And, to a visual artist, that genuinely is a nightmare.
Despite this grim scenario, The Master’s Pupil is, so far, really rather charming. One of the reasons it’s so appealing is that it makes use of hand-painted backgrounds, which your tiny sketch figure has to traverse. Aside from the stunning moments when you amble past one of Monet’s pictures, the game, or the chunk of it we tried, has a relatively minimalist style.
It both gives the impression that you’re witnessing the birth of a painting and lends proceedings a relaxing air. That’s not to say The Master’s Pupil is a cakewalk though, far from it: you have to tackle all manner of puzzles. Some are physics based, others make use of colour and some are a blend of the two.
You’ll encounter these funnel-style creatures which block your way unless you present them with an object that’s the same hue. Or, in some cases, you have to plunge through a coloured jet to turn your normally chalk-white avatar a different colour. But then, next time around, you have to divert a jet because it’s turning you blue.
It may sound complex but it’s easy to get to grips with the basic mechanics. For the most part, its puzzles are pretty well pitched – though we did end up swearing at a ball of wool. You’ll never question why whacking a crystal changes the path of an air jet. It’s just something your little guy does.
We were, admittedly, a little creeped out by the mumbling, spiky black crawlers. They seemed worryingly out of place – which is probably the point. The Master’s Pupil is still in development but our feeling is the final game isn’t going to offer a lot in the way of explanation. Given its subject matter, we’re absolutely fine with that.
We’re looking forward to seeing where developer Pat Naoum goes with The Master’s Pupil. It’s not the only abstract platformer out there, but it has a character all its own.