After Passpartout reached the top, there was only one place for him to go. Passpartout 2: The Lost Artist is an equally lovely, approachable and fun experience, but this time you exist in a more open, freeform world stacked with improvements, as you begin your climb from the very bottom to the top of the art world.
Firstly, I want to kick off this review by saying something very important. Holy shit, what an overhaul! Passpartout was a game that I really loved, but it felt like it was lacking depth and structure, like a shooting gallery of wacky interactions structured around squiggling out artwork. Passpartout 2 is very clearly built from the ground up as a totally different thing and it’s amazing. You know when you can’t go back and read the first book in a series, or watch the earlier episodes of a TV show because of how it all developed over the years? Passpartout 2 does that to its predecessor a dozen times over.
Right, now that’s over with. On with the review.
Passpartout 2: The Lost Artist puts you back in the shoes of Passportout who, after his massive success in the first game is a very successful artist… albeit an artist with a problem. Creative block. He’s lost it, he can’t hold a paintbrush, he’s pawned his tools and your time begins with him being made homeless as he can’t afford his rent.
You find yourself in the seaside community of Phénix, a town with a lot of problems and also an art shop run by your friend and number one fan, Benjamin. He gets you back on the path, and as you proceed through your journey you’ll turn to him for direction, new tools and new canvases. Passpartout 2‘s world is open to run around, with cool cut-away buildings (the roofs literally lift off like a dollhouse) and plenty of different districts to explore.
There are missions and quests that reward you with cash, as well as open up new areas to explore, new palettes, and new denizens to interact with. However, my favourite missions are the ones where you’re given a custom canvas, and the pattern you submit is then cast out into the world onto cars, shirts and posters.
Somehow, these things — and the wider selection of tools, and the ability to set up and sell or paint wherever you want — aren’t the greatest new thing brought to the game though. It’s the character. I’m not saying that in some abstract, artist form, what I mean is that each character in the game has their own personality that you’ll learn through either how they dress (as in the first) or the conversations you have with them. In the first game we’d learn that punks love bold colours, sharp edges, and less conformative art, but Passpartout 2‘s punks are each different and have their own likes within those. It makes it feel more personal, and almost like you’re building a bio of each character as you play.
That connection to the world simply wasn’t there in the first, and while a lot of the interactions you have are silly or goofy, Passpartout 2 gives you a reason to be slightly more invested and connected to the world… even if you just draw complete rubbish and sell it for loads.
Passpartout 2 is available now for Windows and Mac via Steam.