Vignettes takes what you see and turns it into something more.
Vignettes is certainly not your standard puzzle game. Starting with the logo of the game itself, you rotate objects to their other faces, often making new shapes or silhouettes, which in turn reveals a new set of puzzles. It’s a cathartic process not unlike the peeling of the plastic protection film from a newly purchased electronic, but instead involves the peeling of layers of stress from your own life.
The objects you are able to turn include crowns, toasters, lamps and much more. Each shape and form of the objects contributes a color palette to define itself. Colors utilized in one puzzle will carry on to the next, and will use a limited set of colors to explore flat faces of objects, typically one for each color. These visual definitions make the discovery of each following object a tantalizing thrill as you uncover the true purpose of a fully-faced object, transforming the mundane into something visually appealing.
There are sometimes many different paths to explore, depending on which direction you spin your object. You may find that you morph it into something unrelated and totally unexpected, but when you think about it, that unrelated object was created from the shape you originally silhouetted by your rotation. This gives a bit of a further, deeper meaning to the recognition of objects and their forms.
Once you do find all the objects in an area, you are given a key. This unlocks the main decorated, ‘treasure style’ chest and uncovers additional objects for you to jump off from. You then can discover their paths and related objects that stem out from there. At this point, it may seem confusing, but thankfully there’s a map to keep a general idea of how you’re tackling the process, with branches breaking off for particular relations of shapes. In the end, it would seem like there are only so many ways that you could rotate something, but the game never seems to wane from creating surprise from discovery.
Secrets abound within the depths of each object, and are again, intertwined in unexpected ways. Finding a pair of binoculars and looking at the Moon through them will reveal an animated sequence, revealing something that you can find when you go back to the Moon shape itself. It’s a clever way to hide something within the game — better than the game already does simply by its inherent nature.
It’s intriguing how Vignettes seems appropriately justified by its literal definition, which is a picture that gradually uses shades of color to fade into its background. The surprising amount of depth to this equation is something I would have never expected, but that’s part of the charm of the game. The whole gameplay process reminds me of an afternoon I spent looking into three-dimensional fractal representations of the Mandelbrot set, called Mandelbulbs. In these fractals, you can infinitely dive into irregular shapes and may perhaps find unique and undiscovered wonders way below the surface. That’s a bit of a tangent, but perhaps that’s fitting given the source material.
Vignettes is an impressive visual tale of something coming from seemingly nothing. I was intrigued, surprised and a bit confused at times, relishing in the complexity of household objects. It seems silly, but finding these interconnected pieces of art brings to mind how we all are connected — each one of us a piece of art, waiting to be discovered and we all can relate to one another in some way, shape or form.