Maestria ($1.99) by Antoine Latour is a gorgeous puzzle game that revolves around music and melodies. While the style closely resembles that of Monument Valley, the gameplay itself couldn’t be more different. If you enjoyed games like Echo and Circuits, then you should check out Maestria for your collection.
Thanks to the nature of what I do, I get a bit of free time each day, which I spend testing out plenty of new games. Even though my job is to write about games, I still love playing them for fun, regardless of whether it’s for work or not. And one of my favorite genres is the puzzle game, especially when they are stylish and more about the experience than anything else. Like everyone else who has an iOS device, I loved Monument Valley when it originally came out, and I even purchased all of the additional content for it. Since Monument Valley, there have been several games that have come out that copy the unique style and even go for similar gameplay mechanics, such as Back to Bed. However, while I originally thought Maestria was going to be another clone, I’m pleasantly surprised with how this one turned out.
The visuals in Maestria are clearly inspired by Monument Valley, as one may mistake Maestria for Monument Valley if they did not fully check the game or see later levels. Maestria has the same isometric graphics that we are all familiar with by now, and there are beautiful dynamic lighting and shadow effects. While the early levels closely resemble Monument Valley, it seems that the later stages have different environments and settings, making it stand out a bit more, such as darkness or snow-covered mountains. The colors in Maestria are bright, vibrant, and lush, with some great reflections and color gradients thrown in to the mix. Textures and patterns add another layer of detail to the game, and it is clear where you can and can’t move. Animations are incredibly smooth and fluid, so I had no lag on my iPhone 6s Plus. The soundtrack is upbeat and whimsical, so it’s delightful to listen to. The sound effects as you solve the puzzles are also a great addition.
Maestria is a puzzle game that is split up into eight different worlds that each have their own set of puzzles to solve (160 levels total). The objective in the game is to ring the colored bells in the correct order on each stage before you can move on. While this sounds easy enough, things get progressively more difficult as you go, as sometimes your character, Fugue, won’t be able to freely move, or some bells can be pushed around while others can’t, and some will just move on their own. There will also be obstacles that block your way in later levels. As you can imagine, ringing them in order when they’re all standing still is one thing, but when various things are happening, it’s a completely different story.
Controls in Maestria are simple and rather intuitive. When Fugue or a bell can be moved around, the square underneath it will flash white. To move them, just long-press and drag it to where you want them to be. As you’re in position, tap on Fugue so she can cast a spell that produces a large wavelength, which will ring the bells as they are touched. The order that they must be rung in will show up at the bottom, and it is also shown once in action before you start each stage. If a bell is rung in the wrong order, you’ll just have to try again. There are no points or stars to earn in the game — it’s just a relaxing and harmonic puzzle experience.
If you need to restart the stage, just tap on the button in the bottom right corner. This brings up a menu with options for restarting, skipping a level, or going back to the main menu. If you need to be shown the order of the bells again, just tap the button on the bottom left corner.
I only downloaded Maestria recently over the weekend, but I’ve had a hard time putting it down since I started. The game itself is just stunning, even if it is strongly inspired by Monument Valley, but the gameplay itself is different and makes it stand out among the puzzle crowd. Controls are simple and the music is charming and catchy, so it’s a win-win here. Maestria is a gem that should not be overlooked as you browse the App Store this week.
I highly recommend Maestria to any puzzle game fans who want something new and different. You can get Maestria on the App Store as a universal app for the iPhone and iPad for just $1.99 with no in-app purchases.