Maquette has come a long way. The game was originally presented at GDC 2011, where it immediately drew comparisons to Portal for being a first-person game with an innovative puzzle-solving mechanic. After 10 years, Maquette is finally available and unfortunately, it’s becoming clear that the game doesn’t have the same legs as other hit first-person puzzle games of the past years. Maquette’s title refers to scale models, which is appropriate since the game is about interacting with a model version of an area to manipulate a regular-sized version of that area. For example, the first area players explore in Maquette looks like a Disney theme park. This is no accident, as developer Graceful Decay is run by Hanford Lemoore, who used to design real-world attractions at Disney theme parks. Regardless, the area is separated into four distinct sections and players need to figure out how to reach each one. In this first area, a large cube blocks the player’s path through the regular-sized world. But if they go to the model in the middle, they can choose a small version of that cube, which moves to the larger version in the regular world size. It’s a little hard to explain in words, but with practice, players should catch on pretty quickly. More or less the entire game is built around these types of puzzles, though the concept doesn’t really change much beyond its initial premise. There’s a “wow” factor for Maquette at first, but when players realize it’s pretty much just one trick, the sense of awe starts to wear off. It still manages to deliver some decently fun puzzles with its concept, but puzzle game fans shouldn’t come here expecting anything spectacular. It’s an easy-to-use, short puzzle game with a few technical quirks that can make it annoying at times. Generally, one’s experience with Maquette will be smooth-sailing, but there are times when the game refuses to cooperate with the player. This is most evident in Maquette’s Gateways level, where the game struggles to let the player character drop the crystals they need to carry around. Apparently this was due to collision issues, where the game thought there was something in the way that would make dropping crystals impossible, but it did so no matter where the player character was positioned. Other times, puzzle objects get stuck in the environment when trying to rotate them into the correct position, which isn’t a big deal but still inconvenient. Rotating objects in the Maquette is just one of the times the game takes advantage of the PlayStation 5’s unique capabilities. The PS5 DualSense controller’s adaptive triggers and haptic feedback are used to give rotation more weight. of the object, and while that may not matter, it still enhances the experience, even if only slightly. Maquette is one of the free PS Plus games for March 2021 on PlayStation 5, so it’s safe to say that most console gamers will be able to experience it on Sony’s next-generation console. Anyone expecting Maquette to truly look or feel like a next-gen game will be disappointed, but the game is still remarkable from a visual standpoint. It’s not so much because of its use of PS5 horsepower, but thanks to its attractive, colorful aesthetic and the unique art style that makes up the game’s world. Maquette continues to treat players to new sights, from the Disney-like area where they start in a dark and creepy cave to the next. One of the most memorable visuals can be seen in Maquette’s The Escape chapter, as players move through a street with buildings that get progressively more sinister looking, matching the mood of the characters in the story playing in the background . The gameplay in Maquette is somewhat divorced from the story, which is essentially about a typical romantic relationship. It’s probably very relatable to anyone who’s been in a long-term relationship, and even if players don’t actually see the characters in the story, they’ll still find themselves invested in their romance. The plot can be a little cheesy and a little predictable, but that’s fine because it’s not trying to be some twisty, mind-bending narrative. Maquette tells a simple, straightforward story with realistic dialogue and real emotion, greatly enhanced by great performances from Bryce Dallas Howard and Seth Gabel (who are actually married in real life). Even if one isn’t particularly into Maquette’s puzzles, it’s arguably worth playing for the performances, art style, and soundtrack, especially since it’s so short. Maquette can easily be completed in two to three hours on an initial playthrough, and even faster for people who already know what they’re doing. This ensures that the story is lean and the core gameplay mechanic doesn’t overstay its welcome, but it’s also something that might turn off people looking for a more meaningful experience in terms of play time. Maquette has a secret or two for players to find, but the game otherwise doesn’t really give players any reason to come back. The lack of chapter selection will likely annoy trophy hunters, as it means they’ll have to play through the entire game again if they forget something and want to unlock the platinum trophy. Maquette’s short length makes this hassle a little less frustrating than it might otherwise be, but it’s a glaring oversight that’s sure to sour completionists’ opinion of the game. Maquette’s short length makes it an ideal candidate for the PS Plus lineup, as this way players can experience the story, art, and soundtrack without having to make any financial commitment beyond their current subscription. But those on PC and PlayStation 4 may find it harder to justify spending even $20 on a short puzzle game. Maquette is out now for PC, PS4, and PS5. Today Technology reviewed the game on PS5.