Maskmaker Doesn’t Hide its Great Looking VR Puzzle Gameplay
There’s always something creepy about a mask. It’s probably that you just don’t know what’s going on behind it. A schemer? A liar? Something else? In Maskmaker you’ll be making these masks, and then using them to possess the bodies of various people in order to solve some VR puzzles. I got a chance to see the developers play a bit of the game, and I came away rather excited for the final product.
The game puts you in the role of someone simply known as The Maskmaker’s Apprentice. Your boss is gone, and it’s your job to make masks while he’s away. Of course, these are special masks, and if you make the right ones you can use them to possess the bodies of people, transporting you to different realms where you must solve puzzles. This is the basic gameplay loop of Maskmaker: make masks, become people, use these bodies to solve puzzles. Of course, that’s vastly underselling the game.
What shouldn’t be a surprise is that the biggest element of Maskmaker is, well… making masks. You’ll make masks inside of a workshop that sort of serves as a central hub. In the demo, we got to see the developer chisel a shape onto a wooden block for the basic mask, mix paints to color it, follow blue-prints, mount the mask on a mannequin head to adjust the angle of which they looked at it, and use various materials to adorn the mask. Once they got it into a shape that followed a blueprint, they could put the mask on, and inhabit the body of a character who wears the same mask.
Of course, there are quite a few steps to actually get to that process. You have a few basic starting masks, and each one brings you to a different world. In the demo, I got to see a beach, a swamp, and an icy mountain. Most of the demo took place in the mountain. We could see a gondola, and a character trapped on the gondola who we both needed to get to the other side, and take over to keep advancing. By using a telescope you can see what mask he has on and save a blueprint of that mask.
We happened to have most the ingredients for that mask already, but we were missing feathers. However, there were birds flying around nearby. Follow birds and find feathers seemed like sound logic, and sure enough when we did so we found some feathers. Upon collecting the supply, we had an infinite amount now available in the workshop, something that felt like a blessing which cuts down on pointless grinding. Related, in the workshop there’s a map that shows exactly what supplies you can find in each world, which is something that helps keep the game moving.
Once we got the feathers we could repair the mask and play as the new character. Swapping between the two characters by changing masks, we could get the gondola moving again. This was as simple as swapping the gears around and finding out what could get the machine moving. It’s not overly complicated, but I certainly though the puzzle solving was welcome. This is also where we were introduced to our main goal: each world has a tower and we need to get in there.
How do you get into the tower? Well, each world also had three statues of a king. The statues first need to be fixed. In this case, we had to untie a kite from the statue, which was causing its pose to be off. Once the statue was in the correct pose, we then had to copy the statue’s pose with our own body. In this case, that meant making the ever so majestic T-pose at the king. This unlocked one seal on the tower. The developers quickly skipped ahead to the swamp, where they already undid all the statutes, but cut the demo before showing us what exactly is inside the tower itself.
While it may not be super deep in horror elements, the whole time I was watching Maskmaker there is the uneasy feeling that something is up. The trailer has a voice, be it the king or your master, remind you that you’re always in his realm. The question of what actually happened to the realms is a good one, and seeing worlds with uninhabited bodies just kind of standing there, staring off in the distance and waiting for you to recreate their mask and reinhabit their bodies, is always just slightly unsettling. It’s a world I’d love to see more of, and can’t want to do so.
If Maskmaker seems like your jam, the game will be available on April 20th for PC and PlayStation VR. You can add the game to your wishlist here.