Puzzle game

Maquette is a neat puzzle game that packs an emotional punch

Can a video game make you cry? It’s a cliché as old as the world. I think it was Steven Spielberg who brought it up in the late 90s. The infamous game industry quack, Peter Molyneux, was obsessed with the concept around the same time. It was talked about so much at the time, that the speech itself made me want to cry.

People surely cried when Aeris died in Final Fantasy VII, others might have cried when Mario discovered that the princess was in another castle. All this to say that everyone has different emotional reactions to works of art, and mine is comparable to that of an unfazed cow.

I don’t know if cows can feel emotions, but I’m sure no media has ever made me cry. That’s no bragging, I wish I was the type to roll my eyes at a gorgeous movie or a heartbreaking video game, but that’s just not me. I didn’t wake up well during The last of us and i didn’t cry at the end Titanic. Very cool and masculine, I know.

Playing Modelhowever, made me cry a little.

Its developers describe Model as a “first-person recursive puzzle game”, which is technically correct but there is much more to it.

The game tells the story of a relationship that (spoiler, sorry) ends up stale. He is voiced by Bryce Dallas Howard (The Mandalorian) and her real husband Seth Gabel (Pinch/Tuck), and it takes the player on a journey from the very beginning of the adventure to its depressing end.

The story unfolds as you solve puzzles built around the game’s recursive setup. You are.

At the start of the game, you encounter a mockup that is an exact replica of the larger environment you are walking through. You take a very small cube from the outside of the model and place it inside the figure, where it forms a huge box that you can then use to cross a gap.

The concept starts off simple enough, but as you get deeper into the game, you’ll have to rack your brains over a bunch of intricately designed and beautifully crafted challenges.

The design of the puzzle in Model is top notch and I had a lot of fun messing around trying to find a solution. At times the controls and mechanics were a bit finicky, but with a little patience you’ll likely get through it all without too much frustration.

You don’t often see games tackling real, human stories about ‘mundane’ things like relationships, so it was refreshing to see Model bring up the topic. The writing and voice acting are top-notch, and the subject matter blends better with the gameplay than you’d expect.

Model is available today on PC, PS4 and PS5. PlayStation Plus members get it for free as part of their subscription, others will have to pay $19.99. If you’re looking for a well-designed puzzle game that touches your heart, this is worth it.