The biggest reason why we were looking forward to Maskmaker was developer Innerspace’s previous work in VR. They created the excellent A Fisherman’s Tale, so we were very curious to see how Maskmaker would turn out. It’s out now for the Oculus Rift (though it also works on the Quest when connected to a PC) as well as PlayStation VR – here’s what we thought
What made A Fisherman’s Tale stand out from the crowd was its ability to effectively use a sense of scale like only VR titles can, playing around with the concept of worlds within worlds. In Maskmaker, you’re a mask-making artist in the making, helping out at the mask shop of the renowned craftsman who’s made you his apprentice.
The core gameplay mechanic is making masks, although I realize that doesn’t sound terribly exciting in and of itself. But as is true in the mask business, appearances can be deceiving. Starting off with a blueprint, you carve out masks and then paints and decorate them – which imbues them with magic powers. Colored masks allow you to travel to magical worlds in search of other decorations – where you can navigate and explore using the standard control methods of full locomotion and teleportation.
These mask-only environments outside of the workshop are filled with puzzle challenges and allow you to add more mask blueprints to your collection, gradually unlocking more and more of the world and the narrative surrounding the fabled Maskmaker. Progressing isn’t just a matter of solving puzzles though – there’s also a fair bit of exploration to be done and items can be overlooked if you’re not careful.
The 6 hour journey, combined with fun puzzles and excellent storytelling, make Maskmaker a very pleasant surprise considering its gentle price point. The art style evokes memories of Innerspace’s previous VR work, and with more areas to explore there is more diversity to the locations than there was in A Fisherman’s Tale. Expect to traverse beaches, woods, underground mines and little towns. The Maskmaker’s workshop acts as a sort of hub area that also lets you engage with fun motion-controlled activities when you’re crafting masks, while also acting as a break in between the exploration and puzzling.
The storytelling is also enhanced by some excellent voiceover work, slowly unfolding the mystery behind the masks both in the magical “mask world” and inside the workshop, where you learn about the art of and meaning behind this very particular craft. Perhaps it’s not as groundbreaking as A Fisherman’s Tale was with its impressive sense of scale and maybe this one’s a bit too linear in structure, but Innerspace has delivered another worthwhile journey in VR with Maskmaker that we can definitely recommend.