Brilliant puzzler captures complex, mature relationships.
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Maquette is a story-driven puzzle game available for download on the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Windows PCs. Players will explore three identical nested versions of the world, with the same scenes existing simultaneously. What's done in one world directly affects the others, forcing players to constantly change their perspective in a totally unique way. These puzzles are a vehicle for the story of Kenzie and Michael, a couple looking back on their relationship through old drawings in a shared sketchbook. What's a beautiful and engaging puzzle game for kids and teens may mean much more to adults, as the themes of long-term growth in romantic relationships require some real-life experience to resonate fully.
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What’s It About?
It's not long after a meet-cute in a San Francisco coffee shop that MAQUETTE's Kenzie and Micheal fall into a blossoming relationship full of art, music, and magic. Both artists in some capacity, their story is recounted through a sketchbook. First dates turn to meeting friends and moving in together throughout the second chapter. Secrets are exposed, fortunes are told, love is confessed, and future pets are dreamed of: one dog and one cat, to be exact. Over time, cracks begin to form as priorities are undefined and needs are gone unmentioned. Small problems grow over time from innocent quirks to gaping holes. At one point, Kenzie wonders if they may be "one productive conversation from solving everything." Will Kenzie and Michael be able to save their relationship from dissolving? Additionally, what can be learned from seeing each world from a different perspective?
Is It Any Good?
This game's approach to mature topics such as self-acceptance, emotional growth, and setting expectations can either be meaningful or useless, depending on the player's background. For adults, Maquette is an intricate, complex narrative full of opportunities to reframe and reprocess one's own experiences. For teens, the simultaneous avoidance and reactive characteristics of Kenzie and Michael's relationship may be too subtle to understand, even at a simplistic level. As a result, this narrative may only be relevant for emotionally aware adults rather than young teens, who should first be educated regarding the basics of boundaries, consent, and respect in romantic relationships.
Whether or not a calm, self-paced, emotional storyline is what you are looking for in a gaming experience, any instance where a storytelling medium successfully presents relatable events in a universal yet completely new way is a triumph. Maquette is a fantastic title for Annapurna Interactive, which is truly redefining what seemingly simple genres like puzzle games and walking simulators can and should be capable of, showcasing games on the cutting edge for players searching for emotional depth and memorable narratives. The only drawback: This isn't what every player wants. If you've been a fan of other dialogue-heavy, emotionally difficult narratives in video games, Maquette is a home run. But if you're the type of player looking solely for escapism and entertainment, Maquette is a pretty, short puzzle game with an entertaining soundtrack. Either way, it's worth your time, because Maquette is a standout game that's an instant classic.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about communication in relationships. How do we maintain relationships with friends and family over time? How might that be different from maintaining a romantic relationship? How could it be the same?
Have you ever felt differently about an event years after it happened versus on the day it happened? What wounds does time heal? In what type of situation might someone need more help than time alone?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online?: Available online
- Publisher: Annapurna Interactive
- Release date: March 2, 2021
- Genre: Puzzle
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy
- ESRB rating: NR for No Descriptions
- Last updated: December 15, 2021
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