There was something wrong with Maquette’s picturesque landscape. The leaves swapped their vibrant reds and purples for more muted hues. The trees were massive with their limbs bent and packed with thorns. Even the homes, once beautiful and full of promise had begun to crumble like someone had abandoned them sometime in the past.
This is only one of the many instances in Maquette that demonstrates the interplay between its diorama-like environment and the story. Available now in the PlayStation 5 (the version I reviewed), PlayStation 5 (the version I have reviewed), PlayStation 4, and PC, Maquette is an innovative puzzle game that explores the relationship between Kenzie and Michael an unmarried couple who reside in San Francisco.
There is no way to see the characters on the screen. Instead, you only hear their voices Jurassic World star Bryce Dallas Howard (Kenzie) and her husband from real-life Seth Gabel (Michael) are fantastic in the roles they play through cutscenes stuffed with adorable 2D drawings. The story is fairly straightforward the story is a love story between a girl and a boy. they get married and everything appears to be wonderful … up until it doesn’t.
When their relationship changes as they grow closer, so does the world around them, which brings new destinations to explore as well as challenges to conquer. At its heart, Maquette is a game about the immutability of change, and the indie game producer Graceful Decay plays with that concept through the idea of recursive universes.
You’re now thinking of Recursion
The most intriguing feature of Maquette is the fact that you’re not traversing a linear area. The game begins on a cross-shaped platform, with the largest red dome in the center. Then inside is a miniature version of the world you’re in. This is the best part: they’re really the same thing. If you go beyond the normal size platform, you’ll find more of the same structures and trees.
In the theory of things, these nested worlds extend to the limit of infinity however, Maquette has a limit on the distance you can travel with either. What happens in one place is reflected in the opposite. If you place an object such as a stairwell or a box in one part of the world and then go to the same area in the replica you’ll notice that the object is there (albeit in a less sized size) and you’ll be able to take it home.
The same thing happens similarly. If you take a normal-sized object and put it into the miniature, a huge version of the object comes to a halt in your mind. I don’t know how Graceful Decay did this however it was like magic each time I cut or expanded something in this way. I was never bored of it.
It is necessary to repeat the same procedure over and over again to complete the maquette’s problems. The solutions are simple enough, for example, using a golden key to unlock doors, and afterward, using a huge version of the same key to create bridges to get to the next section. However, the more challenging puzzles involve multiple pieces of equipment and numerous ways to alter the objects.
Maquette frequently caused me to feel as if my brain was splitting in two as I struggled to find an answer, but when I finally did it, it was awe-inspiring. There were moments when I was certain that I had exhausted every solution possible. However, eventually, I realized that I was either viewing the miniature from the wrong direction or wasn’t inventive enough with the objects.
In those instances that I got stuck and needed help, the PS5’s Activity Cards proved useful The game’s developer provided almost all the puzzle solutions within the console’s built-in guide feature. But I was careful not to depend on these cards too much.
Understanding what happened in the past
The reward you receive for solving these games is the next chapter in Michael and Kenzie’s tale, typically in the form of an old conversation. In the beginning, they’re exploring the city and become acquainted with each other. The world of Maquette is vibrant and cheerful at this moment, expressing the excitement of their new relationship, and how they just can’t keep from being together.
In a beautiful moment, you are taken to the most beautiful rooftop garden in which Michael and Kenzie enjoyed an evening out (an allusion to the city’s rooftop public spaces). Although you only hear little bits of their tale it’s clear that they’re an appealing couple. With only their voices the way you are able to experience their stories feels intimate as if you’re listening to their conversation.
When I came across scenes that showed them fighting and shouting at one another I couldn’t resist the urge to be a bit uncomfortable and felt like I shouldn’t be in the scene. The tension spills into the world especially in the closing chapters of the novel. When Michael and Kenzie’s relationship becomes more complicated, the world is empty and hostile. In the end, the world is almost indistinguishable.
Maquette does not have the happiest ending. However, I wouldn’t consider it an unhappy one either. While I was hoping for the couple to remain together, their story is an inspiring reminder that life does not always go as you would like it to. It’s possible to do everything you believe will be “right” in a relationship and still, it will not be a success for a variety of various reasons.
A brand new classic
In the abstract, it might not appear like recursive mechanisms would be a good fit with an uplifting story of love. However, Maquette connects them in a way so that one component can’t be used in isolation from the next. Both the puzzles and items that are used for solving them are linked to what’s happening in the world of Michael or Kenzie. Sometimes, you must consider what they’ve spoken or written to determine the solution.
There isn’t always the perfect combination. Some of the puzzles seem a bit too complex, as you have to position the objects at perfectly pixel-perfect angles in order to trigger the next level. However, that shouldn’t detract from the amazing game it is. Much like Portal prior to it, Maquette is a new definition of the kind of puzzle games can be made of and I’m not sure I’ll be able to forget about these characters anytime soon.
The maquette was released on March 2nd to PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4 as well as PC.
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