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Review

How about living in 3 dimensions at once? Living in a small world in 3 dimensions, but repeated 3 times, around you, and in a model in front of you. This is what Maquette proposes. Developed by Graceful Decay and published by Annapurna Interactive, Maquette has everything of the small experimental indie game that will turn our senses. We start w...

Maquette

  • Samanta Blumberg
  • Jun 09, 2021

How about living in 3 dimensions at once? Living in a small world in 3 dimensions, but repeated 3 times, around you, and in a model in front of you. This is what Maquette proposes. Developed by Graceful Decay and published by Annapurna Interactive, Maquette has everything of the small experimental indie game that will turn our senses.

We start with our backs to a cloister, in the middle of a garden by a clear night, and messages in white letters are discovered as we walk in this enchanting place on a groovy music background to tell us a story. Memories of a past life, Michael's, and of a particular encounter, that of a young woman named Kenzie.
Then comes a key. A key like the ones we were looking for at one time. A key that opens the next door. The door to our buried memories.

Maquette plays on two levels. It is allegorical. It represents the intimate, the pathos, like a window on the soul of Michael, the one to whom these memories belong. Like a part of him, it will evolve with the memories, happy or unhappy, that will resurface.

We walk in a small world in the shape of a cross, the model being in the central square and the 4 other squares dedicated to constructions evoking as many memories, each one requiring to solve an environmental puzzle to reveal itself completely.
And each time you succeed, an animation will illustrate the conversations of another time, revealing the history of Michael and Kenzie, always a little more.

Still, something is missing. There is never a tutorial, the first step to introduce a new puzzle mechanic, and when you start looking, you soon find yourself going in circles, and circles, and circles. And there's nothing to get you back on track. Sometimes a small indicator will give you a hint: a sound that repeats itself, indicating a mechanism to operate, or a text placed in a specific place to tell you that it's this way, but it's very subtle, and some solutions are still hard to guess, even if they are still quite simple in the end.

As for the sound, the game is very quiet. Maybe to enjoy a little more the songs that punctuate the title in a very nice way, or the dialogues between Michael and Kenzie, always quite rich. 

Maquette is Pandora's box: under its neat packaging, we discover as many wonders as sufferings.
The game is beautiful, offers varied puzzles and a story that smells of life.

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