Stained Glass Review

Posted January 6, 2017
Written by Taylor
Category News
Being Christian gamers, we were all glad to hear that a Christian game like Lightside’s “Stained Glass” has gained such popularity and success. It’s always nice to have an alternative to the many dark and immoral games that are out there, one that you wouldn’t have to think twice about recommending to friends and fellow gamers, especially those that are Christian. “Stained Glass” has the gameplay of the standard match-3 puzzle game. You collect a required amount of certain colored pieces of glass by – you guessed it! – matching three pieces of the same color. When you collect enough pieces by completing levels, the stained glass portrait acts as a portal into the Bible, where simple animated cutscenes slowly bring the scriptures to life. Overall, a fairly simple concept to grasp.
 
Challenge
This game mainly exercises a player’s ability to problem-solve efficiently, as you have to solve the puzzle in a limited amount of turns. The difficulty of the puzzles ramps up pretty quickly, which could provide a bit of a struggle for some people who aren’t as experienced with puzzle gameplay, but it does provide a good challenge and prevents the game from becoming boring. Because of the ability to play this game in smaller sessions it appeals to casual players, but the skill needed to progress through the increasingly difficult levels will keep more experienced players, especially thinkers, entertained as well. This app really lends itself to a wide variety of players – anyone would be able to enjoy the game.
 
Production Quality
The soothing music makes this app a great way to relax in down-time or wind down at the end of a busy day. The artwork is also beautiful and compelling; there is a pretty satisfying experience in linking the revelation of the story sequences to the building of the stained glass images, and linking the building of stained glass images to the collection of glass shards in the game. But the game is not without its faults. There seems to be some glitches in which the points for matching so many pieces in a row don’t get counted up correctly, and the app may freeze in the middle of a level from time to time. This proves especially frustrating when it costs one of your limited lives to replay the level that you would have beaten, if not for the glitch. Now, we should mention that we downloaded two different versions of the app and these specific glitches were only found in the Android version, so you may have a different experience depending on which device you play on. There’s also an issue in collecting butterflies, which are meant to be used to purchase certain boosts. So far, the game hasn’t given the option to spend anything except gold bars for boosts outside of the tutorial level where the butterflies were first introduced. All of that is to say that while the graphics and sound make for an appealing game, these little bugs might take you out of the experience at times.
 
Taylor’s Thoughts: If I could change anything about the experience I think I would increase the length of the revealed story sequences as well as trigger those story sequences only when a stained glass image is fully complete.
 
Content
You’ll find no questionable content in “Stained Glass” – no bad language or suggestive themes. All of its content, its story and characters, are drawn from the Bible. The game of course has a Christian worldview, but it does so in a way that doesn’t ostracize non-Christian gamers. Players learn more about God not only through the Bible stories they unlock, but also through a link in the pause menu. Both of these are optional, so the game doesn’t come across as too forceful. The Bible stories are told from the characters’ perspectives, which has its benefits and drawbacks. While this allows for a personal and more intimate connection for the players, it means a more artistic interpretation that strays from the biblical text in some ways, which is probably the game’s biggest flaw.
 
Message
If you’ve gotten this far into the review, the message of this game should be pretty clear. “Stained Glass” intends to reveal stories that span the whole Bible. The game is still a work in progress, with 288 levels that currently end with Gideon’s story.
 
Tim’s Thoughts: I love how Lightside has woven the message into the gameplay. Revealing the story of the Bible in parallel to the player’s progression is a wonderful way of keeping the user’s heart and mind focused on God between sessions. One of the greatest challenges facing Christian game makers is deciding how to best present a biblical message, and how much of the message the gameplay can support. Lightside has taken a bold step in sharing the entire story of the Bible alongside a match-3 mechanic, and I think they have pulled it off pretty well.
 
Stained Glass - Overview
So here’s the bottom line of what you can expect from “Stained Glass”:
  • Match-3 puzzle game that increasingly tests the player’s problem solving skills
  • Beautiful graphics and sound
  • Minor bugs in the Android version
  • No vulgar content – all drawn from a biblical standpoint
  • Artistic interpretation of Bible stories
  • Good for a wide spectrum of players of all ages
All in all, Lightside has done an excellent job bringing light to the match-3 genre! We are looking forward to seeing what they create next.

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