Based in Gent/Brussels, Belgium
Januari 26, 2021
What happens when you DO touch the artwork? 'Please, Touch The Artwork' is a cozy puzzler with narrative where you get to break the golden rule of museums. You'll explore the secret world behind iconic abstract paintings through over 160 puzzles. An aesthetic journey to the origins of modern art, set to a soothing jazzy soundtrack.
ProcessThe idea behind this project is to take some of the most iconic abstract paintings, reverse engineer them and then add some gameplay. The project actually has two outputs: a game (available on platforms such as iOS/Android/PC/Mac/Switch) and 2 art-installations. This section only describes the game. For the installations, click here.
The GameThe game bundles 3 unique puzzles each based on a different painting/style.
- De Stijl
- Boogie Woogie
- New York City
Gameplay & StoriesThe first puzzle tells the origin story of pure abstract art. It’s a challenging puzzle where you’ll add colors and lines to a canvas to recreate paintings.
The second puzzle is about Boogie & Woogie, two squares who just want to be together, but a rapidly growing world is making this harder and harder. You’ll help Woogie reach Boogie by figuring out how the obstacles influence Woogie’s path.
In the third puzzle you’ll move to the big city, only to be overwhelmed with mixed emotions. From joy and excitement to feeling homesick and missing your friends and family. You'll be maneuvering through the craziness of the Big Apple while collecting letters to form a poem.
In 2018 Thomas was reading a book called ‘What Are You Looking At’ by Will Gompertz. In Dutch (his mother tongue) the title was changed and it freely translates to ‘My little sister can do this as well. Why modern art is art.’ Thomas has a technical background but very artistic parents. He's always had a complex relation with modern art so this title triggered him. It’s an anecdotal and informative book which sketches the chronology of the origins of modern art, from the impressionists to the present. You go on a journey and read about where these artists lived and worked, who their friends were and what drove them to make their art. It was the period after postimpressionisme - the period of cubism, suprematism, the style - that attracted Thomas the most.
The avant-garde abstract artists are considered one of the pioneers of modern art. They reflected the rapidly industrializing society. All artists portrayed their own inner criticism and opinions on that society thus their art became very personal. It is precisely that aspect - the emergence of the path of the artist - that he found so exciting about this period.
During a night of light insomnia Thomas wanted to try writing a Mondrian-painting generator which randomly generated paintings in Mondrian's famous Composition in Red, Blue, Yellow style. He thought it would be nice if the user could touch the painting, and the painting would react, as if there was a hidden world inside the canvas. A little puzzle mechanic was added and ‘Please, Touch The Artwork’ was born.
- Elegant puzzles
- Based on iconic art
- Each puzzle based on a different painting
- Randomly generated levels for replayability and uniqueness
- +160 puzzles
- Simple controls (single-click/touch)
- Fit for ages 12 - 99
- No skills required
- Color-blind mode
- Big text
- No-stress puzzle-solving, no time-pressure
- Subtle challenges
- Jazzy-soundtrack that complements the time-spirit.
- Get to know the story behind abstract art pioneers
- Fun facts & artist-quotes
- Hints when stuck after a long work day
- Story mode with 3 unique stories
Author Pitch YouTube
Switch Release Date Trailer YouTube
Logo & Icon
Awards & Recognition
- "WINNER 'Google Play Indie Festival 2022'" USA, 3 September, 2022
- "FINALIST 'Apple Design Awards 2022'" USA, 6 June, 2022
- "EUROGAMER RECOMMENDED label from Christian Donlan @ Eurogamer" UK, 7 February, 2022
- "WINNER "Best Art" @ Tokyo Game Show with Please, Touch The Artwork" Tokyo, 1 October, 2021
- "WINNER "BIG Impact: Best Educational" @ Brazilian Independant Game Festival with Please, Touch The Artwork" Sao Paolo, 1 October, 2020
- "Finalist Indie X Festival 2020 with Please, Touch The Artwork" Lisbon, 1 October, 2020
- "Nominee "Innovation In Games" @ Ludicious with Please, Touch The Artwork" Zurich, July 1st, 2020
- "2nd finalist @ The Label Indie Showdown with Please, Touch The Artwork" US, April, 2020
- "Winner "Very Big Indie Pitch" @ Pocket Gamer Connects with Please, Touch The Artwork" Helsinki, 4 October, 2019
- "Official Selection @ INDIECADE Paris 2018 with Please, Touch The Artwork" Paris, 19-20 October, 2018
- "Official Selection @ INDIGO 2018 with Please, Touch The Artwork" Utrecht, 29 June, 2018
- "2022's Best games so far"
- Keza MacDonald, The Guardian
- "Top 20 games in 2022 so far
- Martin Robinson, EuroGamer
- "Please, Touch The Artwork feels like The Witness but with a clearer structure and less frustration
- Rebekah Valentine, Reporter at IGN, IGN
- "A jazzy puzzler with Style"
- Lu-Hai Liang, TheGamer
- "I hesitate to call it "art Wordle" … but it may be the easiest way to get you to try it for yourself."
- Alexis Ong, PC Gamer
- "A must-play for any lover of puzzle games or modern art"
- Charlie Wacholz, Windows Central
- "Paid for the game, received a peace of mind"
- Natcha Chaiwong, Google Play Review
The Guardian - Top 20 games in 2022 so far
EuroGamer - Top 20 games in 2022 so far
Eurogamer Recommended label - A zen puzzler that lingers restless in the mind.
Windows Central - A must-play for any lover of puzzle games or modern art
TheGamer - A Jazzy Puzzler With Style
The Game That Gets Easier The More Tired You Are
Simplistically The Best
Top games to try out in january
"Lo que hace una historia interesante son los protagonistas, la gente" - Alerta Geek
Interview during Indie X 2020
20 Weird and wonderful indiegames - Polygon
“Please, Touch the Artwork” brings more puzzling to abstract art.
About Thomas Waterzooi
Studio Waterzooi is the one man company behind Thomas Waterzooi. Thomas previously worked on Divinity Original Sin (Larian Studios) and Hitman (IO-Interactive ) as gameplay and AI developer before becoming a solo-indie-developer in 2018. He focuses on making accessible interactive stories and playful things inspired by art, culture, society and human interest. His games are not about skills or high-scores. They are about relaxing, reflecting, playful tinkering, and being sucked into the story and aesthetics (nowadays also often referred to as "wholesome"). In the past Thomas did collaborations in the field of serious gaming, AR and VR but "Please, Touch The Artwork" is Thomas's first big solo project. It has received, though still in development, several awards and international nominations.
More information on Thomas Waterzooi, our logo & relevant media are available here.
Please, Touch The Artwork Credits
Design & Development, Studio Waterzooi
Audio Engineer, Composer, Freelance