First look: Puzzle game Maquette puts a new spin on the classic love story


A whole other world awaits you under the pink dome. 

Graceful Decay

Maquette, a new indie adventure game from publisher Annapurna Interactive and developer Graceful Decay, will launch in 2021 on PS5, PS4 and PC via Steam. Maquette is a first-person puzzle game where the environment works in the same way as nesting dolls. Any building, crack in the ground, rock, plant or object has a miniature and massive counterpart in the world of Maquette. It’s up to you to find out how to manipulate the world to solve puzzles. 

Ahead of launch, Graceful Decay founder Hanford Lemoor gave CNET a first look at Maquette’s intricate gameplay on Discord. 

Alongside these Alice in Wonderland-style puzzles, Maquette recounts a love story between Kenzie and Michael — two artists who met in a coffee shop. The game offers clues to their relationship, furthering the narrative, with phrases that appear on walls as you explore the world. The thoughtful design and the memories in the chosen phrases made me think about my own relationships, immediately investing me in the game. The cutscenes feature only voices, which delivers a more intimate experience compared to other games.

The game takes place over seven chapters, the first one being The Garden. It’s a quiet, tranquil area to walk through as these phrases pop up, setting the story. Once you reach the next chapter, the puzzle work begins, and as the story progresses, more places are unlocked. 

Maquette has gorgeous places to explore as you solve puzzles.

Graceful Decay

Perhaps most interestingly to me, was what was underneath the ornate pink dome, the Maquette, after leaving the Garden: a smaller, exact copy of the outside world. And it doesn’t stop there. Whatever you do in the smaller world reflects in the larger world (and vice versa). 

To solve the puzzles, you’ll need to get creative and change the scale of objects. Keys become bridges and ramps, for example, and cracks in the sidewalk become doorways. The way the environment continues to alter mirrors the relationship between Kenzie and Michael — how two people can grow together, but also how even the smallest problems can still end up being difficult to overcome. 

Maquette has been a long time coming for fans of Graceful Decay. The puzzle game was first announced back in 2011 at the Game Developers Conference’s Experimental Gameplay Workshop, Polygon reported this year. Annapurna Interactive picked up the game in February. 

For more, check out the best games you can play on the iPad, and every game available on Apple Arcade. 

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