If you've ever been to the Louvre, you've likely seen the artists standing in front of a masterpiece with their own canvas and brush in hand. Artistic reproductions are an art form all to themselves requiring a great deal of talent, ingenuity and skill. Copycat, the latest free flash game from Candystand, recreates this challenge with the accuracy that such reproductions strive for.

Copycat is a puzzle game with a painting twist. You'll be shown a piece of art on the right side of the screen and you'll need to recreate it on the left side. To do this you'll be given an artists palette that offers only primary colors and a small selection of stencils. How you'll need to use these tools and in which order you'll use them is where the challenge in Copycat lies.

Initially things start of fairly simple. A few basic hints are given out that will outline the different ideas you'll need to employ to get through the game. Everything you'll do is built around two simple mechanics; stencils will keep the paint away from certain areas, and you'll need to mix the paints on the canvas to get the necessary colors.

There are no brushes or gentle touches in Copycat. If you're looking for a relaxing affair a la Bob Ross, you're barking up the wrong tree. Paint drenches every inch of the canvas when applied. While this is a terrific thinking person's puzzle game, the lack of delicacy in how you approach the canvas isn't really fitting with the game's setting. In no way is this an impediment to the game, but it's a tad misleading for art fans that might be looking for a subdued painting sim.

Difficulty ramps up fairly quickly in Copycat. Well before the tenth stage you'll be swapping a variety of stencils in and out between paint pouring in an effort to get your picture exactly right. We found some of the puzzles at the beginning of the game to be real noodle scratchers. It took a variety of attempts to figure out exactly what needed to happen, but realizing what needed to be done was always a rewarding experience. Solving puzzles in Copycat delivers that wonderful “a-ha!” feeling that sits so well in a gamers soul.

Despite feeling that great sense of reward, there's no question that Copycat is a tremendously challenging game. If anything, its difficulty is Copycat's one real downfall. Things became difficult so quickly that we barely had the opportunity to find out groove before having to admit defeat. Had they included more levels that were as simple as those found in the first 6 or 7 stages, Copycat would be an easy game to recommend to any puzzle fan. That's simply not the case here.

If you're a puzzle fan who prefers logic and thinking skills of falling blocks and matching gems, Copycat is going to give your brain the workout it deserves.