Maquette is a little over 2 years old and finally getting a release on the Xbox One & Series consoles. The game was heralded for its picturesque visuals paired with fantastic music, believable voice acting, and perspective puzzles that made you scratch your head but feel satisfying to solve. With the new Xbox port, everything stays the same but now more players can be part of the experience. Here is my Maquette Review for the Xbox release.
Most of Maquette’s story is told through literal writing on the wall, voice-over moments or simply progressing the game by interacting with an object at the end of the level. We learn about the rise, fall and, the reconciliation of the relationship between Michael and Kenzie, the center of this game’s narrative.
From being head over heels in love to a bitter-sweet conclusion, we look at the various highs and lows of their relationship through multiple timelines, and ultimately the two falling out of love with each other.
Each world in Maquette meets a specific theme or occasion that fits the narrative. From trying to enter a carnival area where the two shared a romantic date or a house to hearing a party for the first time. Every place in the game has meaning to tell the story of the couple. It does a great job to convey where the couple was at a particular point in time.
Voice Acting and Narrative Delivery
The attention to detail in the character’s voices, their feelings for each other, and even the problems faced by the couple feel authentic and relatable. This really helps with the immersion of the story and gets you involved in what happens next.
While we never really get into the deep reasons why their relationship got in trouble, there is enough going on to tell us that love fades if you do not feel you are with the right person.
As you explore their story, you peel back layers like an onion. The more you peel, the sadder you get until you ultimately are finished peeling and can wipe away the tears. It’s a well-told story of the couple and really helps with putting a realistic relationship at the center of the story.
By the end of it, the story wraps up nicely with a satisfying conclusion to tie it all together.
Maquette is a combination of Portal and Subliminal. There is a lot to do with perspective and changing where you are to solve a puzzle. At the center of the stage is a small-scale model of the area you are in. Putting a small object in the model will make it a bigger object on your side of the world, and vice versa. It sounds like a difficult concept to explain but it works.
Each stage has four unique settings that the player must interact with and solve the puzzle for. They will do that and move on to the next. Each set ties into the relationship and ends with either writing on the wall or a cutscene. These tell us why this particular place plays a role in the couple’s relationship, and that feels important.
Every room and situation serves a purpose and meaning and that’s what shows Maquette is a game all about attention. Why should you care about solving the puzzle for this particular area? Why do you need to access areas in a certain order and not in an order you wish? All of these are answered when you play the game in its intended manner.
You navigate the levels by interchangeably working with the model in the center of the stage and then heading to the area you manipulated with an object. For instance, by putting an ordinary-sized key into the model, you can turn it into a giant key that acts as a bridge between a large gap for you to reach the next area you need to reach and progress the story.
Levels and Length
There really is nothing more to tell without giving spoilers. You constantly have the play loop of solving puzzles with new mechanics at each level and that’s about it. Throughout the 3-4 hours you will take on your first playthrough to beat the game, you will achieve the same level of satisfaction that you would from solving a puzzle in the same genre.
However, the message will have a strong meaning for people who can relate to love, so we recommend that you play this game with a romantic partner or even if you have just gone through a bad breakup. The game is truly something you should experience to get an idea of what love can be.
The audio and visual strength of this game is also one of its strongest points. While the game won’t blow you away with Unreal Engine 5 level of visuals, the aesthetic design choice, and the visual storytelling is truly stunning. From cinematic moments to writing building on the wall as you walk toward it, every part of this game feels great to play.
Concerning audio, the combination of music that plays through the game really goes well with telling the story at that particular point in the relationship too. The soundtrack absolutely goes well with the theme and mood of the game and helps bring the whole experience together.
Paired with some of the best voice acting I have heard for a game in this genre, the game is a complete package for people who are looking to explore a well-narrated story through and throughout their playtime with the game.
Maquette is a short and sweet adventure that took its time to come to the Xbox. With being a day one Game Pass title it is well worth your time on the Xbox consoles or PC. If you are an achievement hunter, it has some of the easiest achievements for a game second only to Stray.
The appeasing visuals, great audio design with regard to dialogue, music choice, and more help in creating a memorable and vivid experience of your time in visiting the relationship between Michael and Kenzie. The short playtime and minor story gripes do take players away from having an ideal experience, but this is otherwise a fantastic game that you should play.
What did you think of our Maquette Review? Share what you think about it in the comments below.
This review is based on the Xbox Series S version of Maquette. The key was provided by Annapurna Interactive.