Maquette is a superb PlayStation indie game that follows a tale of relationships using intriguing puzzles of scale.
Maquette is a puzzle game wrapped around the story of a relationship between two people, Kenzie and Michael.
As the title hints, the game mainly revolves around puzzles which relates to size, specifically models of the area in which you are trying to solve puzzles.
Now this is easier to understand visually within the game, so please bear with me. Here goes.
As an example, before you stands your house. In the distance, you can make out a house that is at least twice as big. Finally, at your feet sits a small model of your house in perfect detail.
Imagine each of these houses sits within a confined area which will affect the objects passed between them.
As in the rules of Maquette, anything you move in relation to the model of your house will be replicated in the other houses as well.
For example, if there was a giant boulder blocking the entrance to your normal size house which was unmovable, you would go to the smaller model of your house and move the model of the boulder situated there. This action would be copied in all the other sizes thus now allowing you access to your normal sized house.
There is also another puzzle element that can be played upon here, and it involves objects taken between zones to play with the effects of scale.
For example, a two-story ladder is placed against the normal size house. If you pick up this ladder from your smaller model house and take it to the normal house, you now have a smaller ladder that would only be of use to tiny people. This may sound useless in this example but in Maquette this will be a common way of solving puzzles.
Moving this cube in the small scale world will also move the life-size cube in the next scale up thus solving the game’s first problem.
This is because the switching of scales will also involve you as the player. You will have to change the scale of yourself to enter different areas. For example, walking to the largest scale model so that you can enter an area by walking in between the rails of a metal fence that in other scales would prevent you from entering.
I never found the puzzles so frustrating that I quit in anger but some take more thought than others.
After the opening introduction that sets the scene with Kenzie and Michael via the use of glowing text that is written on walls or hangs in the air, you will find yourself in the world of Maquette.
As you progress through the puzzles, you will be greeted with more text and short audio clips of the couple talking. As Maquette progresses, you will see and hear how the relationship changes. I won’t say any more as this would spoil the games narrative.
What I will say though is the voice acting is marvellous and was surprised to discover that Kenzie is played by none other than Bryce Dallas Howard, probably most well known for her role as Claire in the new Jurassic Park trilogy that started back in 2015.
Michael is played by the actor Seth Gabel who is the real-life partner of Bryce. This is probably why the speech sounds so natural between the two characters.
Maquette features a beautiful artful style that helps maintain the puzzle level as not being overly complicated. The game isn’t going for photorealism here and there is nothing that distracts from the puzzles to make them even more confusing.
To make it simpler, you can’t pick up anything in the game unless it relates to solving a puzzle. Also, the cursor changes colour and shape as well just to let you know if an item is interactive.
Using this large key in this small scale world to create a bridge will allow you to cross that gap in the next scale up.
A special mention goes to Maquette’s soundtrack. The game was developed by Graceful Decay who are based in San Francisco. Usually during the next major story reveal, a song is played and each one is performed by a local musician from the San Francisco area.
The music is so enjoyable that I’ve been listening to the soundtrack unofficially. You can find nearly all the music on Spotify / Deezer with a few others residing on Bandcamp. Any music created especially for the game itself is not commercially available though.
I don’t consider myself to a brainy chap, heck I can’t even figure out those sudoku squares but was able to get through this game in about five hours over two sittings.
This was completed on the PlayStation 5 as it was free to PlayStation Plus members this month (March 2021). I wasn’t initially impressed by the video I saw during the free games’ announcement but once I started playing and discovered Maquette’s puzzle aesthetic, I was hooked.
Maquette is available for free this month (March 2021) as part of the PSN Plus collection on PlayStation 5. It’s also available on PlayStation 4 via the PSN Store and for PC via Steam.
Maquette is a game that isn’t frustratingly hard with a great soundtrack, visuals and superbly voice acted story to take you through to the end.