Game: Diorama Builder
Genre: Puzzle, Building, Relaxing
System: Steam (Windows & macOS)
Developers | Publishers: Virtual Arts Studio
Controller Support: None
Price: US $2.99 | UK £2.09 | EU € 2,39
Release Date: November 20th, 2020
Review code used, with many thanks to Virtual Arts Studio.
Diorama Builder is a relaxing puzzle-style game that is currently in Early Access on Steam. This point-and-click jigsaw puzzle game has six total dioramas for players to build without the expense of building one in real life.
This game is a fairly simple one. Players get a selection of pieces that fit together like a jigsaw puzzle and they fill in the blanks with all the pieces. Dioramas range from historical Egyptian pyramids to a house at Christmas time, to a Wild West town out in the desert.
There are currently only six total puzzles in the game, but there are slots in the main menu for at least nine more puzzles on the menu.
Diorama Builder‘s levels all start basically the same way; the board is laid out and players have a selection of pieces separated into categories. These will let the player know where the pieces belong, like the second floor, outside, or in the attic. The pieces only have a single place that they can be placed, much like a Lego set or a jigsaw puzzle would be.
Players have to place each piece in the correct order. You have the ability to turn on a ghost mode where the pieces that need to be placed next will be highlighted on the screen in gray. Then you can just match the pieces in your inventory to the shapes on the screen.
The diorama can be spun around, tilted, and spun while building. After the diorama is completed, the game goes into Interactive Mode, allowing the player to see the diorama all lit up and can interact with its pieces.
The Pros of Diorama Builder
This game is incredibly relaxing! Diorama Builder is one of those games that you can just turn on and vibe. The music is calming, and players aren’t under any time constraints or pressure. You just build at your own pace and then enjoy the diorama after it’s complete.
The dioramas are pretty and each is unique. The player gets to watch each scene come together slowly, then bring it to life in Interactive Mode. There’s a ton of little details to explore both while building and afterwards.
The Cons of Diorama Builder
This game has a few issues. I’m assuming several of them are because the game is in Early Access, but the title still needs a little bit of work. For example, when players complete a level, it closes to the item menu, forcing the player to open it back up again. There doesn’t seem to be a reason for this; it’s a minor annoyance, but one that ruined some of my enjoyment of the game.
Diorama Builder also has no hint system. Some of the pieces are very small, and it can be difficult to find that final piece that needs to be laid down before the next level can be built. It would be nice to have some sort of button that you could hit if you were lost on what to do next or if you are having trouble finding the right piece to put in the right place.
Also, there were a few little bugs here and there; for example, one of the levels said it was complete when I still had some of its pieces left over. If a player misses a piece somewhere, there doesn’t seem to be a way to remove the pieces around it. If you can’t reach that piece any longer, then you have to start the puzzle from the beginning. I hope that a Remove Piece button is added or that the developer makes how to remove a piece more obvious.
When I first opened up Diorama Builder, I was incredibly disappointed. I was hoping for more of a sandbox sort of thing rather than a jigsaw puzzle. The first level I completed was the Christmas House, and I wanted to be able to make my own with the pieces that were offered. I try to go into games without too much knowledge ahead of time, so I don’t read the descriptions or any other reviews before I get started. I was so excited to build my own house only to find that I was railroaded into building the house the dev specified.
However, the more I played Diorama Builder, the more I liked it. It is very short and doesn’t have much content after a whole year in Early Access, but what is there is worth the cost of picking up the game. It’s a fun, relaxing puzzle game on rails, and anyone who loves this sort of thing will dig this game.
Final Verdict: I Like it.