Maestria Review: A Well Conducted Performance

The Good

Gameplay, audio, and visuals all work together to enhance the experience.

A slow-paced, refreshing break from most mobile games.

The Bad

Art direction could be a little more original.

During the four days a year that Florida has nice weather, I like to spend as much of that time as I can outside. The night when I got around to starting Maestria was quite chilly, but I was stubbornly forcing myself to enjoy the weather on my back porch. I had a mug of hot tea and a cat napping in my lap, and as it just so happened, this is the ideal way to enjoy Maestria. It’s a pretty game that is ultimately a thoughtful and relaxing experience.

Very rarely do I get a mobile game that I’d describe as relaxing. The last mobile game I can recall describing as such was way back in August of 2014 with Deep Under the Sky by Northway Games (I’ve yet to play Monument Valley, but I’ve read similar sentiments). Maestria is a very different game than Deep Under the Sky, but it gets a lot of the same things right. Primarily that the meditative gameplay is reflected by both the sound and visual presentation.

Maestria review

Maestria is a neat mobile game by Antoine Latour about a little girl who rings bells. Each of the 160 levels in the game are filled with bells that the player must get to ring in the correct order. By tapping on the protagonist, Fugue, a sound wave travels out from her wand and whenever it passes through a bell, that bell will go off. So the objective in each level is to move Fugue, or the bells, into the correct position so that when the sound wave is triggered it passes through the bells in the correct order.

Reinforcing the slow, deliberate gameplay are graphics that maintain the relaxing feel of the game. Maestria is certainly colorful, but the colors are dimmed; the reds, yellows, and whites are not eye-catchingly bright. The same can be said about the music. The melodious background music fades as players trigger Fugue’s sound wave so that the bells ringing doesn’t contrast the ambient music too harshly.

Slowly, other obstacles are introduced into the gameplay that require the player to approach the levels a little differently. For example, one obstacle reflects the sound wave back towards Fugue, so you can use it to hit notes twice in a row, or avoid bells you don’t need to ring.

My only critique of Maestria is that it looks a little too much like Monument Valley for me to be comfortable giving it a perfect score. Even the website for Maestria is eerily similar to Monument Valley’s website. With a little bit more stylistic originality I would have felt very comfortable giving this game a flawless review.

Maestria is a game in the eye of the storm that is the mobile games industry. While most other mobile games feature a flurry of in-app purchases, flashy rewards, and larger-than-life personalities crammed into tiny characters, Maestria is there, a little off to the side, gently ringing its bells, giving you a break from all the bluster roaring by.

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