Originally published at: Review | Maquette - XboxEra
Maquette is finally coming to Xbox and releasing Day One into Game Pass, two years after its initial launch on PlayStation and PC. Through a series of puzzles, you’ll relive one of the least imaginative relationships of all time. You’re inside a recursive world, where a table in the middle can control the larger versions outside. Are the puzzles and excellent music enough to overcome the stilted dialogue and cliché-ridden story?
Michael & Kenzie
The heart of Maquette is the relationship between Michael and Kenzie. They meet at a coffee shop and over the course of multiple chapters, you’ll relive their relationship. Maquette features a lot of voice acting, and the actors give it their all. They are routinely let down by trope-filled dialogue that tells an unbelievable fairy-tale romance that hits some bumps. It’s rarely interesting and only served to get in the way of what otherwise was a clever, beautiful, and great-sounding few hours. Maquette is not a long title. I had played through it before on PC though that was a couple of years ago.
The main mechanic for puzzles is found in the recursive world you’re inhabiting. In the center is a small-scale model of the level, known in French as a Maquette. You’ll have a select number of interactable items in each stage and through the use of the Maquette you’ll be able to place them in various areas or even change their size. As it is a puzzle game I’ll keep it vague, but this is definitely a game that wants you to think outside of the box so that you can solve the problems within in.
As you complete various puzzles you’ll get cutscenes that are voices on top of animation. While the writing during those segments is weak the music that accompanies them along with various gameplay segments is excellent. It’s not all orchestral as various sections have full songs that will play as you see new areas and solve certain puzzles. Graphically the game goes for a stylized and colorful look that is based on the memories you’re discovering.
The color palette gives everything a dreamlike appearance, and it ran well on my Series X. Resolution and frame rate both appeared high and with the small scope of things (most of the time) it performs how one would hope. Loading times are short and I didn’t run into any bugs while playing the game. It is at most a 4 to 5-hour experience your first time through, as some puzzles require mechanics to be used in ways you may never have thought of. My time with the game on Xbox was a stable experience with zero online elements, so Quick Resume worked like a charm.
Wrapping Things Up
Maquette is a short, impactful experience. Through clever use of its puzzle mechanics, it forces you to think in ways only the best of the genre tend to do. While the story and writing aren’t as good as the other parts of the title it is still an easy recommendation for anyone to check out for a night or two through Game Pass.