Video Games are art, there’s no doubt about that. However, as the saying goes, art is subjective. Some people may find something deep and meaningful while others may extract opposite emotions from the same piece of work. Halo and Journey, Crash Bandicoot and Peggle; Each exist in their own right, targeting their ideal demographic that will take a wide multitude of feelings and emotions throughout their time with their latest crutch. Feelings can change the more you look at art, however, and your initial impressions may not be fulfilled in the same way that you had first hoped and that, my friends, is how I unfortunately how I feel about Masquerade: The Baubles of Doom.
The humour is, from the get-go, spot on. Jokes about balls of ultimate power are my thang, as the hip youths say. An unashamedly over-the-top and ridiculous back story is presented to us throughout the course of a 15-or-so minute animation of varying quality, featuring a jester, the main protagonist, and his accomplice, a middle aged female with slightly off eyes. Whilst jokes about balls of “ultimate power” are defficiently my thing, I found myself wanting to just get into the meat of the game, bashing clowns in the face and looking beautiful whilst doing so. Little did I know, my enjoyment would shortly come to an abrupt end.
For anyone that has played a game in the Batman Arkham series, combat is immediately relatable with the only difference being that Circle/B is a power attack, for lack of a better phrase, leaving Square/X to be the main attack and Triangle/Y to be a counter. You have a ranged attack in the form of a hammer throw, but this is rarely used unless you’re knocking enemies off of platforms in platforming sections. In numbers, combat can be enjoyable, juggling between identical clones that come in their drones. When enemies are taken on by themselves, however, the problems become apparent. Enemies that can teleport great distances when attacking, meaning that it is far easier to counter than dodge. With each enemy slain, a clown nose is dropped, and this token powers up your power meter. The noise, one that sounds akin to a clown nose being squeezed, is comedic at first but far quicker than I thought possible becomes increasingly irritating and made possibly the most redeeming quality about the game irksome. Platforming was competent, if nothing else. Problems with collision detection were consistent, and coupled with the lack of inertia these sections were thankfully few and far between.
For every moment I enjoyed throughout my time with Masquerade, there were 5 that tempted me to stop playing and find relaxation and enjoyment in a title that can do each activity infinitely better. The combat of Shadow of Mordor, the platforming finesse of Ratchet & Clank and the slapstick comedy of the Lego titles; inspirations were apparent, but the masterful execution of said ideas were not.