Review – Please Touch the Artwork (Switch)
Over the past few weeks, I have received two review codes for two titles sharing a few similarities: Switch ports of mobile puzzle games. One of them is called Please Touch the Artwork, the other one is called Understand. Upon playing both of them, I realized how similar they were in structure, but completely different from each other in terms of enjoyment, presentation, and the questioning of whether or not they deserved to be played elsewhere but the mobile space. This review will cover Please Touch the Artwork.
Please Touch the Artwork reeks of pretentiousness. Upon booting it up and talking to a silly virtual museum bouncer, I was introduced to a world that was trying to convey a biblical-like story through the medium of abstract paintings. In the midst of all this nonsense, I was being told to complete puzzles by painting adjacent squares to the one I was putting my greasy little fingers on, creating some Piet Mondrian pieces in the process. In other “chapters”, I was being told to draw lines in specific patterns, in order to satisfy some predetermined rules. All while being told a vague story. Pretentious as hell. Yet somehow, I was still enjoying it.
It wasn’t just because the game itself presented a series of puzzles with an ever-increasing level of difficulty, making my brain work a bit harder in order to find a solution. Sure, that also helped, as Please Touch the Artwork has some intriguing brain teasers, with a ton of new mechanics introduced at a steady pace, but it was the WAY everything was presented to me that captivated me at the end of the day.
Throughout my entire playthrough, I was being bombarded with Please Touch the Artwork‘s slick soundtrack. If you’ve watched Birdman, that artsy yet amazing movie starring Michael Keaton, you know what to expect. It’s all about stylish drum lines and solos that sound amazing. I have no idea why, but they complement the game’s abstract art visuals in a really interesting manner. That makes this game a lot more enjoyable than expected. It wasn’t solely for its gameplay loop, which is pretty good, no doubt about it. Instead it’s the complete audiovisual package that makes it stand out.
This makes Please Touch the Artwork enjoyable even in docked mode. Granted, I would never recommend playing a game like this, made with a touchscreen in mind, on a big screen with a controller over portable mode… but it’s not that bad, either. It’s the best way to experience its slick visuals and music. It makes you want to pay full attention at its bizarre story, dialogue and music, something you rarely do had you decided to play the original version of the game on a phone.
It didn’t feel that replayable, but I eventually started treating Please Touch the Artwork as a borderline story-based experience rather than your average puzzle game, one that requires a never-ending loop of new puzzles and losing conditions. I was playing the game to the end to see what the hell the developers were going to throw at me in terms of new gameplay rulesets, bizarre storytelling, and music.
The final verdict lies ahead: why did Please Touch the Artwork work as a Switch port of a mobile puzzler and a game like Understand didn’t? The answer is simple: you don’t feel like playing it on a portable system, or even a TV, is a waste of time and energy. Thanks to its slick presentation, which is enhanced by either the Switch’s or your TV’s speakers, Please Touch the Artwork is a really enjoyable audiovisual experience that requires your attention and rewards you for it, unlike your average casual mobile outing. This game is clearly not for everyone, and its pretentious atmosphere will put some players off, but I had a good time with it regardless. Way more than I could have ever imagined. And certainly more than my time spent with Understand.
It’s mostly abstract, with puzzles inspired by “Composition with Red Blue and Yellow” by Piet Mondrian. It’s an acquired taste if you are not a fan of that particular art style, and a bit repetitive after a while.
Please Touch the Artwork introduces its puzzle mechanics at a steady pace, resulting in a pretty reasonable difficulty curve. Once things become challenging (and occasionally obtuse), you’ll already be able to tackle them without feeling too intimidated.
A stylish jazz soundtrack, comprised mostly of drum solos, not unlike the Birdman movie. If you’re into the genre, you’ll be greeted to some excellent drum lines.
Fun Factor: 7.0
A bit pretentious and a touch too obtuse at times, but a fun outing for puzzle fans. Above all, it’s a pretty good audiovisual experience, especially with the volume slider on max.
Final Verdict: 7.5
Please Touch the Artwork is available now on mobile devices, PC, and Nintendo Switch.
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch.
A copy of Please Touch the Artwork was provided by the publisher.