Art is a funny sort of a thing. One piece can mean so much to someone, and just look like a jumble of incoherent scribbles to someone else. That’s certainly what I’ve discovered during my time playing Passpartout: Starving Artist on mobile. Although, in all fairness, most of the art I’ve created has been a jumble of incoherent scribbles.
The game is, to all intents and purposes, an artist sim. You paint some pictures, put them out on your stall, give them a name, and hope someone likes what you’ve done enough to throw some cash at you. You spend that cash on wine, baguettes, and rent. And if you run out of money, well, it’s not ideal, let’s put it that way.
I very much doubt that the game captures the essence of what it’s really like to be a struggling artist, but for the most part it’s an interesting game of balancing your integrity and the wants and needs of the art buying public. Most of whom hate you.
You start the game off in a dingy shack. You’ve got an easel, some paints, and a brush. Paint a picture, give it a name, and customers will wander past and have a look at it. If they like it they’ll make a bid. If they don’t like it, they’ll give you some criticism.
That’s the basic rhythm of the game throughout. Paint, sell, paint some more. You need to try and make enough money to pay your bills. You’ve got a bit of cash put aside to begin with, but if things aren’t going well then it’s going to get eaten away pretty quickly.
Other events crop up from time to time as well, and you need to pay attention to them all. You get news bursts, comments from consumers and visits from the upper echelons of Parisian art society. Do well enough and you’ll get more tools to create your art with, as well as a better class of studio and customer.
The art creation is pretty arbitrary, and you’re probably best playing this on a device with a larger screen if you want to create something mesmerising. It’s fun in its way though, sort of like a vaguely pretentious game of solo-Pictionary. But with more baguettes and wine to pay for.
There’s certainly an interesting idea here, and you’ll find yourself trying to cater to the whims of the people wandering into your various shops. Whether or not that’s the best course of action, well you’re going to have to let your artistic conscience decide for itself.
There might not be a lot of actual adventuring to do here, but Passpartout: Starving Artist is still an interesting addition to the sim genre on mobile. If you fancy yourself a budding Picasso then you should definitely be considering picking this one up.