Most games fit into specific genres, and can normally be compared to other specific games or styles. Passpartout: Starving Artist is not one of those games, and instead the concept is just as creative as the gameplay itself. You play as an aspiring artist in France who needs to define his own artistic integrity, and at the same time make enough money to continue to paint. Monthly bills come in, so you need to sell some of your paintings, and if you sell enough, you can move on to fancier galleries with potentially richer clientele.
The game begins in the alleyway without any real guide beyond the core interface elements. It’s up to you to draw whatever you would like, and experiment to try to find out what others would like to fund your growth as an artist. It’s such a change of pace game, especially since it’s not always clear why any particular piece sells allowing for true experimentation. You don’t have to be artistically inclined to enjoy Passpartout, and you can make funds in the game if you just take your time. Try out a multi colored spray paint backdrop, test out using different find pen color combinations, and even explore abstract works. There are no bounds, and you never know what will strike the right chord with a particular customer.
Play as a starving artist in this simulation game that lets you paint and sell your own art.
Passpartout can be frustrating at times as potential customers will give you generic negative feedback, like this painting lacks art, or this piece is too minimalistic or too complex. You have to roll with the punches, and try again, or even wait it out as it just takes one customer to make a sale. The most interesting aspect of the game is the unknown backend that goes into judging your art. It’s unclear how the developers are coding the customers to like or dislike your art. Is there image recognition, a value in time that goes into creating a piece, is it the use of different colors and tools? There are no answers for the player, so you just paint what you like and hope for the best with variety seeming to be the best strategy. It’s such a creative game idea that allows your creative juices to run wild, and take as much from the game as you put into it.
Passpartout: Starving Artist is a throughly intriguing and engaging experience that is a welcome addition to iOS. The game is a port from Steam, and it seems fit even better as you can draw with your finger. The one omission is Apple Pencil support.