Game Review #1: Maquette
Trying something new on my Medium today, I have a lot more time now that the split is over so I will probably make a normal blog post soon™ but wanted to try this out.
Maquette is a puzzle game and if I continue to do these types of posts you will learn that I love puzzle games. The concept of Maquette is very interesting, imagine an entire street, and on that street imagine a house with a table inside with a scaled down version of that street on the table. Now entertain the idea that objects retain their relative size between the two streets. For example, imagine you place a normal sized key onto the scaled down version of that street, when you look outside you would see the “same” key but scaled up the same amount that the street is scaled down.
That is the basis behind the game Maquette, and is in my opinion a very promising idea with plenty of room for creativity. Unfortunately I think this game does a poor job on executing on an interesting concept. There are two problems I have with this game, the first is about the story. The story is interspersed between the puzzles that you complete and while I could explain the story, there is no need. It has no bearing on the gameplay in any way, and it could be entirely removed and the game would still make sense. Now puzzle games don’t have to have a good story, they can have no story at all and still be great games. The reason this feels different is because there is a lot of emphasis put on the story, with significant gaps in gameplay in observation of the story, with absolutely no interesting anything to show for it. It’s just disappointing and it’s rare for me to care so much about the poor story but I was quite invested and thought I had noticed some foreshadowing for things to come but they never came to pass. Specifically I thought there would be backtracking to the beginning area with a new perspective because of what happened in the story but that didnt happen. It just ended.
The second problem is gameplay focused and it has to do with a concept I have actually talked about in one of my previous vlogs. It’s the concept of chess puzzles having a “key move” that makes the puzzle difficult to solve. My main problem with the gameplay in this game is it really isolated that one idea in every instance. In chess terms, it would be like every puzzle you do is only one move long. There are no other factors that you need to worry about, almost every puzzle is quite straightforward in what you are trying to figure out. There are a few puzzles where there are multiple objects to manipulate but even in those they are generally not compatible in a way that makes the solution actually interesting. I feel that the puzzles themselves were only difficult because I had never seen the concept utilized before, not because they were actually difficult to deduce. Every chapter had a new concept that was introduced but it was always utilized extremely blandly, and I am quite disappointed in the execution of this game.
I think the way to make this game better is quite simple; remove the story from the game and replace it with a story that can actually enhance the puzzle solving experience, and create puzzles with much more depth. I think if every chapter gains an additional 3 puzzles that are focused around rewarding creativity. It felt like every puzzle had exactly 1 solution with no alternates, and I think this game would benefit from creating puzzles that have a more freeform feel to them. You wouldn’t be restricted to finding the “intended” solution every time and could actually flex your creative muscles.
I hope there is a sequel or DLC or something with some new puzzles because I still think there is a lot of potential in this game, but for now I would have to rate it a 3.5/10. I might change this rating if I do more game reviews but I rated it as such because I think while it did have a lot more negatives than positives it wasn’t until after I beat it that I realized that. I will reflect on this score and I might change it, but for now, thanks for reading!